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. Paul, Connecticut

    This 'naught boy' hypocrite should resign if only for admitting that he picked up toilet paper from the FLOOR of a public john. Who does that???

    Disgusting!! Naught, naughty, Larry!!!

    September 18, 2007 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  2. TParker, NY, NY

    Isn't he from IDAHO?

    September 18, 2007 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    work is spelled incorrectly

    September 18, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  4. Erik, Austin, TX

    Terrible editing. He isn't a sentor from Indiana but rather Idaho and work isn't spelled wrok

    September 18, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  5. Anon

    wrok??? Seriously????

    September 18, 2007 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  6. J H Zolitor, Media, PA

    Senator Craig should resign, but not for many of the reasons I see posted here. He should resign for the sake of his political party. His continued presence would only serve as fodder for the big guns of electoral politics. Even if he resigns, he may still be held up as a symbol of the 'climate of corruption', a phase that spreads as smoothly as butter at room temperature, but at least he would have come to terms with his folly, and split the scene. The best the Democrats would then be able to say is, “The Republicans do bad things, but damn, if they don’t resign after doing them”. By the way, Representative William Jefferson (D-LA) should resign, Senator Vitter (R-LA) should resign, and Senator Stevens (R-AK) should resign for the very same reasons. How can we hope to teach our children that politics and political service is an honorable thing, if our elected officials continue to act like spoiled, entitled children.

    September 18, 2007 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  7. Kelly Anderson, Boise, Idaho

    Hey CNN, Please don't blame Indiana for this embarrassment. I'm sure they have their own troubles. Idaho owns this one.

    September 18, 2007 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  8. Mark R. Fort Lauderdale FL

    In a perfect world, Larry Craig would overcome years of lying and oppression, admit he's a big 'ole girl, divorce his wife and go find a loving man with whom he can share a real life. He would then have an article in the Advocate stating his newfound freedom and sense of self-worth and live happy ever after.

    However, if he's going to remain a closeted nutcase he needs to resign and go crawl under a rock.

    September 18, 2007 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  9. M, Washington DC

    No, you people don't get it. Because of his wide stance, Craig straddles the country from IDAHO to INDIANA; and he doesn't want to "wrok" with his legal team, he wants to "rock" with them–that's what the kids are calling it these days.

    September 18, 2007 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  10. Chester, Chattown TN

    My question is how this guy isn't skewered for not going to work when the paychecks are still flowing. What was he on? "Indiscretion Leave"

    September 18, 2007 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  11. Andrew, SC

    I'm not at all suprised that Sen. Graham (R-SC) was happy to see him back.

    September 18, 2007 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    It's Idaho not Indiana. Fact check.

    September 18, 2007 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  13. R.D. Dye • Idaho Falls, ID

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

    There is a typo in your story. Indiana shouldn't be ashamed of their Senator... that's our problem. People always confuse our state with Indiana and Iowa. We are the lesser known of the "I" states. Isn't it wonderful that we are getting all the national attention now? The Fiesta Bowl and "Pottygate" have put us back on the map! We are The Famous Potato State, a little embarrassed right now because of Larry "Wide Stance" Craig, but we're still growin' spuds for the masses. You owe Indiana an apology.

    September 18, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  14. James, W. Lafayette, IN

    And by "Indiana Repulican" CNN means "Idaho Republican"

    September 18, 2007 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  15. Attatur, Des Moines, Iowa

    He's from IDAHO not INDIANA, and no they don't have outdoor markets just like those in Baghdad either.

    September 18, 2007 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  16. Brian Blank, Chicago, IL

    Okay Bill from Charleston, SC here comes some bashing. I am a lifelong Democrat. When your party that shouts out loud how YOUR values are the ONLY values; when you hold your party up as a paragon of virtue; when you berate others for their lifestyle choices and judge them, then you get what you deserve! It's pathetic. From Jim Baker to Jimmy Swaggart; from Newt Gingrich, to Henry Hyde; from Mark Foley, to David Vitter, to Larry Craig. You Republicans might want to clean up your own house before you go throwing stones at others for their values!

    September 18, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  17. SR Rockwall Texas

    Too bad Craig did not have Arkansas Troopers to bury his indiscretions or an ambitious wife who willing destroy any victims that get in the way

    September 18, 2007 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  18. Bill Charleston SC

    Hi John, KC

    I'm a firm believer in our constitution and the guarantee of rights it gives us. I understand the theory behind the ACLU, however, I believe they are misguided in some of their more high profile cases they have brought before our courts. In many ways I feel that they make a mockery of our judicial system, bringing cases before liberal courts that they know will judge in their favor, only to be overturned on appeal. I realize their goal is to get as much to the US Supreme Court as possible. There is a definite social change agenda working within the ACLU, and what disturbs me is that they use the guise of protecting our rights to forward that social change agenda.

    If they were truly concerned about our civil rights, why don't they bring cases about poverty, battered women, christians who believe their rights are being trampled, etc? They would defend the right of a gay teen to speak about gay rights in a high school, but not defend the right of a christian to pray out loud? It's easy to see what their true motive is.

    September 18, 2007 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  19. John, Wpg, Canada

    I listened to the tapes and read Craig’s explanations. With regards to the wide stance, I don’t know about most of you, but I don’t want my pants touching public restroom floors that are covered with urine. As for the hand sign thing I have never heard of that, but as for the way the cops questioned him, that is manipulation of the highest degree and he must be a moron if he did not know his rights. He should have said nothing and if they charged him fight it. As for the gay thing, is his reaction one of guilt?

    September 18, 2007 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  20. TC Minneapolis MN

    Other than being a guy who was set up in a Minneapolis airport bathroom stall, what has he done wrong? Innocent until proven guilty! And the only reason this guy plead guilty is because they threatened him. Entrapment!

    September 18, 2007 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  21. AM, Washington, DC

    I don't believe that this has anything to do with Senator Craig's sexual orientation, his Senate voting record or political affiliation. What is sticking in my mind is the fact that he PLEAD GUILTY to the charge of disorderly conduct. So did he lie then, or is he lying now?

    September 18, 2007 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  22. Gary Falcon, Birmingham, AL

    Some ignorants bring Hillary and Kennedy in this story of Larry Craig. We are talking about the hypocracy by the Senator from Idaho who was elected on "family values". Now that the republican party has no moral background on that issue to run against democrats, they try to divert attention on bringing some irrelevant issues on Ted or Hillary. No democratic candidate runs his/her election on 'family values' or 'moral issues'. It is better for for Sen Craig to admit that he is gay or resign.

    September 18, 2007 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  23. Tom Gerylo, Toronto, Ontario

    Senator Craig should stand up by himself (not beside his wife), admit he is a proud gay American, drop his legal fight to overturn his conviction, and become a stalwart advocate for true equality in his country. That's the only way he can save face and that's the only way he will go down in history as a hero and not a hypocrite.

    September 18, 2007 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  24. Steve

    All right! Thanks for coming back and rubbing Americans' noses in your hypocritical homosexuality. Maybe you could pass a few anti-homosexual hate bills while you're there.

    I hope you're around until the election.

    September 18, 2007 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  25. Steve

    ==> So what he is gay.

    So what? This man spewed his hatred against homosexuals every chance he got (it'll be interesting what he says about it now.) He used the bible and his religion in hatred as well.
    This man deserves to be embarassed into hiding out and leaving us alone the rest of his life.

    September 18, 2007 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
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