September 18th, 2007
02:35 PM ET
15 years ago

Craig makes first visit to Capitol since sex scandal broke

Listen to Craig's exchange with CNN.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho made a surprise appearance Tuesday the U.S. Capitol, his first since the scandal broke last month over allegations he tried to solicit sex from an undercover police officer in a restroom at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

The Republican senator had a brief exchange with CNN's Ted Barrett at a Capitol entrance:

Barrett: "What brings you back to the Capitol today?"
Craig: "Go to work."
Barrett: "Are you intending to vote today, sir?"
Craig: "That's my plan."
Barrett: "Why decide to come back today?"
Craig: "Because I'm a serving United States Senator from Idaho."

Craig then stepped into the senators' dining room on the first floor of the Capitol. On the way he passed a visibly surprised Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, who gave Craig a big welcome back handshake.

Craig was later asked by reporters if his presence in the Capitol today means he will not resign.

The Idaho Republican responded, " no not at all - I'm here to work with my staff and my office and to work with my legal team."

Asked if he is confident about his court case, he said, "I have no opinion. I'd like to be."

Craig pleaded guilty Aug. 8 to one charge of disorderly conduct, then sought legal counsel to change his plea to not guilty. A hearing on the request is set for Sept. 26

When the case became public, Craig announced his intention to resign Sept. 30. But days later, it was announced that Craig would fight to overturn his conviction and may not resign. Craig filed papers Sept. 10 to withdraw his guilty plea.

On Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a brief in court Monday calling Sen. Larry Craig's bathroom bust unconstitutional.

Related: Sen. Craig gets support from ACLU

- CNN's Dana Bash contributed to this report

Filed under: Larry Craig
soundoff (107 Responses)
  1. Bill Charleston SC

    Senator, you made some very bad choices. I don't see how you could possibly continue to serve the people of Idaho any longer. I can't imagine that you expect everyone to believe that you didn't know what you were doing when you pled guilty. And if you didn't understand what you were doing in your own private legal matter, how can you possibly expect anyone to trust your judgement in the Senate? Please sir, for the good of the United States Senate, and the State of Idaho, go home and call it a day.

    As a registered Republican, I find the whole matter very disconcerting. Ok, all you Democrats out there...jump on and start bashing....

    September 18, 2007 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  2. spraynardkruger

    I am a Democrat but I am not going to bash anyone. I am fair and I'm nice to people. I also think people shouldn't hide who they are, and if Mr. Craig is really gay he shouldn't hide it because it is frowned upon as some sort of disease by the old folks in his party. There is nothing to be ashamed of.

    September 18, 2007 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  3. Anonymous, Virginia, USA

    I am a Democrat but I am not going to bash anyone. I am fair and I'm nice to people. I also think people shouldn't hide who they are, and if Mr. Craig is really gay he shouldn't hide it because it is frowned upon as some sort of disease by the old folks in his party. There is nothing to be ashamed of.

    September 18, 2007 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  4. BS

    If Republican Senator Craig is trying to get out of his guilty plea by saying he was in a panic then should we be throwing out any of the votes he made in the senate between his arrest and his guilty plea?

    September 18, 2007 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  5. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Alert in the Capitol complex– take care of any excretory needs before entering any buildings up there. I'm a Democrat, I'm fairly nice to most people, but I like to bash people who need it, and there _is_ something be be ashamed of when you troll for kicks in a public bathroom.

    September 18, 2007 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  6. Jeff Old Bridge,NJ

    I'll bash him for you!He deserves everything he gets!

    Tap Cheney on the foot!Tap Cheney on the foot!Tap Cheney on the foot!His daughter probably got her "gay genes" from HIM!Tap Cheney on the foot!Tap Cheney on the foot!

    September 18, 2007 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  7. pl. at the UN for a while.

    I am not American.

    Obviously, I am neither Dem nor Repub. I do have five degrees including a PhD in Law and one in Jurisprudence from the US. The other three are from Canada.

    There are allegations, and then there are allegations. I can think of only one allegation that has the power of a conviction; and that is one of sexual misconduct with a person of the same sex. It sticks. It will never go away. If the misconduct is with a minor, or in an airport washroom, only complicates suspicions further.

    Sure Senator, fight the plea. Win the legal case. It makes no difference. You know your destiny: bow to your family and try to keep it united. Your children must attend a different school. It even makes sense for them to legally change their names. It is the best way to salvage their sanity.

    September 18, 2007 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  8. A Democrat in Hollister, CA

    So what he is gay. So are others. Oh MY!! And even if he was a "naughty boy" we should let the people of Idaho decide. Whether it was panic, or just the realization that 50 years of cover up and closeting were unraveling, give the guy a break.

    September 18, 2007 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  9. Mike, Cleveland, Ohio

    I too am not going to bash Sen. Craig. His alleged crime, in and of itself, isn't worthy of a resignation. What bothers me most about this whole scandal is that the GOP is applying a double standard to who should be forced out and who should not. If Craig resigns, his seat would still be retained by the GOP. However, Vitter who actually committed several acts of soliciting prostitution as a member of public office would be allowed to retain his seat. This is only because Louisiana has a Democratic Governor and would thus appoint a Democrat for Vitter's seat, thereby costing the GOP a valuable vote in a near equally divided Senate.

    Furthermore, I don’t feel that there is enough evidence to prove the alleged intentions of Craig during his rendezvous in the airport bathroom. In my opinion, tapping a foot, waving a hand under a stall, and picking up toilet paper, etc. doesn’t constitute “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” of Craig’s intent to commit a crime.

    For the record, I’m a proud liberal and registered Democrat.

    September 18, 2007 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  10. Bill W, Coatesville, PA

    What a disgrace – he admitted his guilt and announced he would resign. He should resign, and stay resigned.

    I read the police officer's report and timeline. It is very well put together, and most of Craig's excuses don't hold water. I think he's going to have a very tough time defending himself in court.

    September 18, 2007 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  11. Paul NJ

    I am a Republican, but that really doesn't matter. Larry Craig needs to stop being in denial about his situtation & gracefully bow out of politics.

    Looking for infidelity sex in a public place is disgusting. (imo)

    September 18, 2007 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  12. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    Hillary got more illegal contributions this week (see ticker) , came up with a 110 billion dollar plan but did not factor in ILLEGALS, hey wait is that Larry Craig..................

    September 18, 2007 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  13. FunTravelAdventure, Riverton, Wyoming

    I'm an independent, former repub, and I'll bash away.

    It's the hypocrisy of the republican party in general and in this case, Larry Craig in particular, that I find most revolting.

    As a native New Yorker, I grew up with everybody and always felt that as long as someone isn't hurting anyone else, whatever it is that they do is not my business, and certainly not the government's.

    It's the Larry Craigs of the world who squawk the loudest about something that is not their business but in the shadows, or men's rooms, practice exactly what they preach against.

    He should resign or get thrown out. Not for being gay but for his hypocrisy.

    September 18, 2007 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  14. Mike, Cleveland, Ohio


    Craig never "announced he would resign"

    He announced that it was his "INTENT" to resign. There is a difference albeit a small and lawyerly way of backing out of resignation

    Though I agree with you that his excuss are suspect and flimsy to say the least

    September 18, 2007 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  15. Fredstrong

    No, you don't just give the guy a break when he's a crusader for "the Moral Majority." When your a hypocrite who has made your name countering gay rights, and supporting legislation that unfairly oppresses gay people, and then you get caught soliciting gay sex in an airport men's room, you get no break! He should be judged by the standards he has been proclaiming.

    September 18, 2007 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  16. j.crobuzon

    Charleston Bill, right with ya man. Let the Craig-bashing begin: Senator, the Republican Party has survived worse men than you, and they will survive this as well. America operates by arguing both sides of issues, and anything that gives one party too much power is bad for Democracy. Rove's 'permanent GOP majority' would be as bad as Hillary in the hot seat and no opposition at all. Both parties have lots of nutjobs and our mission is to pass fair laws in spite of these people while letting them have their say. You risk harming your party at a time when they stand bloody-handed over a devastated Iraq, when the president has become a mule instead of an elephant, when they seriously need every shred of dignity they can muster, when the GOP party is looking really old and senile, HERE YOU COME AGAIN WITH YOUR TAPPY FEET! Go away before men in white come with butterfly nets.

    September 18, 2007 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  17. Thor Rockingham Haltom City Texas

    I wonder how Rush feels now. This will be the 4th time in recent memory that the hated ACLU has come to the defense of a republican. That must just chap them to think that a supposedly left wing organization would come to their defense. As far as Craig goes, he should not be ashamed to be gay if he is, but by the same token whether you're guilty or not you always plead innocent and get a lawyer....jeez what was he thinking!

    September 18, 2007 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  18. Wayne, Orange Park FL

    The Whole thing is a waste of time. Ted Kennedy murdered someone and he still serves.

    We all know he knew what he was doing he even in around about way admitted it by saying he frequented the place.

    Grow-up America. I do not condone what he did but I do not care either because it would have been consentual.

    However, Get a freaking room.

    Move on. Help the needy, feed the poor, provide Health Care Oh wait that is what we should be focusing on not Jerry Springer crap!!!!!!

    September 18, 2007 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  19. Skip O'Brien

    Senator Larry Craig admitted to soliciting sex in a bathroom stall with another man, a homosexual act. He is not a memeber of my Gay family as my friends and I do not have sex in stalls. Like most staright people we think this is perverted as well.

    September 18, 2007 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  20. Neal, Dallas, TX

    I find it deliciously ironic that the group conservatives commonly deride as the "those ACLU kooks" are on Senator Craig's side. What they tend to forget is that the ACLU also helped get one of their supposed "great Americans," Oliver North, off the hook, too.

    September 18, 2007 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  21. Richard Wilkes, Ferndale MI

    What I think is an absolute hoot is that Senator Craig, who has opposed all the principles of the ACLU, is using their legal aid to overturn his plea and retain his Senate seat.

    Proving once again the moral impoverishment of Republicans: principles do not matter, power does.

    September 18, 2007 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  22. Frankie

    being gay is not a 'bad' choice.

    you GO girl

    September 18, 2007 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  23. Monica, Lexington, KY

    I am a republican and I think Craig should resign. I think he is guilty as all get go and I agree with the person who said he is a hypocrite. This is exactly the type of behavior he would vote to have people put away for. Shame on you, first, for hiding who you really are, and secondly, for lying to yourself and the public.

    September 18, 2007 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  24. meowomon,Quincy, Florida

    Hey Idaho, you don't like it? Too bad. You voted him in. Kind of like how some jerks voted Bush in and there's not a whole hell of a lot we can do about it unless congress impeaches him. You're just gonna have to wait until '08.

    September 18, 2007 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  25. Kyle- Chillicothe Mo

    Ted Kennedy never murdered anyone. By your logical conclusion anybody involved in an auto accident where death occured is guily of murder. You really stretched on that one but whats new when it comes to trying to deflect what Craig did. Why not just come out and be bold for once and say he's either gay or guilty! While I am on the subject of hypocrisy, why is the republican party trying to split the electorial votes in California in the name of fairness and yet it isnt being applied nationwide......oh yea...HYPOCRISY!

    September 18, 2007 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
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