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. Brian

    Personally I could care less that the guy is gay, bisexual, or whatever. But like former NJ Gov. McGreevy and other sexually ambiguous politicians before him, Craig took the low road by A) not admitting to the truth, and B) dragging his poor wife through the mud along with him, using her as a prop in the pathetic, selfish attempt to convince the public of a lie. It's always the cover-up that's totally inexcusable.

    September 18, 2007 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  2. Axel, RKTA, California

    I won't bash the guy either. Like a typical politician, he is doing just fine making a complete fool of himself.

    September 18, 2007 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  3. William Nashville, TN

    The inequity of the Republican party is my concern in all of this. One Republican admits to seeing hookers and his wife forgives him publically. Is he asked to give up his seat by the Republican party? No. A second Republican is arrested for the suspicion of participating in gay activity and is hounded to resign. The issue here is not just sex, but what kind of sex is viewed as "OK" and not "OK" by Republicans.

    September 18, 2007 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  4. Mustanen, Los Angeles, CA

    The reporter should have followed him into the restroom not the dining room.

    September 18, 2007 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  5. Jeff from New Jersey

    Wayne from Orange Park:Move on?You're STILL stuck on Chappequiddeck and that was 38 years ago!

    "Who's there?Oh it's you Senator!Your tap is just like Dick...oh never mind.Come on in!"
    "Condy you'll have to leave now.This is a job for a real man."
    "I serve at your pleasure sir."!

    September 18, 2007 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  6. Keith, Chicago IL

    TC: This has nothing to do with right or wrong. It's all about perceptions and reputation. The senator probably did nothing illegal or criminal, but the mere fact that he was caught doing it does not sit well with the American people. It does not matter at this point if he is found innocent in court. For he surely will never win his case in the court of public opinion.

    September 18, 2007 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  7. Baltoman, Melbourne, FL.

    Senator Craig, it's power and privlidge that got you into the Senate job, as well as luring you into a plea that you thought could be muzzled! You are now in the unsavory political position of being a convicted criminal (by your own willing admission). Wake up friend, understand that your perceived power is gone, most of your political cronies consider you a leper, and the longer you continue this charade of righteous indignation, the further your tattered rep goes down the toilet – no pun intended! Even my friends in the ACLU, by coming on board, are further eroding your neocon base, their participation in this exercise of futility might even help a Democrat get elected to replace you! Go home, love your family, and make peace with yourself.

    September 18, 2007 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  8. TH, Chicago

    I'd like to know more about the cop in this case. Is he a toe tapping Republican or a back stabbing (you know what I mean) Democrat?

    September 18, 2007 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  9. Alex, Ann Arbor, MI

    How I ironic is it that the ACLU is supporting a rethug?

    September 18, 2007 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  10. Tim McKenna, Idaho Falls, Idaho

    I believe that it is possible that Larry was a victim of police abuse of power. Larry is an excellant Senator and I'll vote for him again. I remember the "Anybody but Church" campain here Idaho that resulted in the loss of its best senator back then. Is the same special interest group behind trying to distroy the good name of Larry Graig? Think about it!

    Having been a victim of police abuse of power myself. I understand the process of pleading quilty to make the false charge go away.

    Last year I held a benefit concert (non-alcohol) here in Idaho Falls to raise money for the food bank and local recovery centers. The police arrived in mass after 11:15 to shut it down and in the course of conversations I was arrested for a false charge of assalt and battery on and officer, distubing the peace with intent to fight, and failure to show ID in an investigation. I was hand cuffed and taken to jail. The judicial system basically forced me, by the circumsatances to plead guilty to a reduced charge of disturbing the peace even though I did nothing illegal other than tell the officer to F.O. which I quickly found out that in Idaho free speech is not permitted.

    Larry's problems just don't all add up. I've never seen solicitaion in Airport restrooms, folks are to stressed out by TSA taking their water, deoderants tooth paste and such.

    It all boils down to one man's word against another. One Senators word against a police officer. Who do you trust? Look at Larry's political power. Are there powers out there that want him removed. You bet, why did this power want Frank Church removed from office? Looks like same same to me. Just a different plan of attack. And this attack is hitting below the belt. Ha! (Now that's funny I don't care who you are!)

    In Larry's case what is the real issue? Energy? Sound like a conspiracy? I work in the nuke industry and I've seen some really bad things happen to folks because they didn't conform. Don't believe what is in front of your eyes.

    September 18, 2007 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  11. James, Phoenix AZ

    Posted By Tom – Dedham, Mass : September 18, 2007 12:21 pm

    Very funny... and considering how many typos in the article about Larry Craig I suspect your comments are more TRUE than humorous.

    September 18, 2007 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  12. S. Nash

    >>On the way he passed a visibly surprised Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, who gave Craig a big welcome back handshake.<<

    Lindsey, do you know where that hand of Craig's has been?

    September 18, 2007 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  13. fran denver co

    this is what that chair will do to you! when you get in that chair you do not want to give it up. the power of politics and the politics of power!

    September 18, 2007 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  14. Axel, RKTA, California

    Posted By TH, Chicago : September 18, 2007 3:28 pm:
    "I'd like to know more about the cop in this case. Is he a toe tapping Republican or a back stabbing (you know what I mean) Democrat?"

    Yeah, TH, we do know what you mean. That is why I don't see any need to bash politicians, whether they are Democrats, Republicans, or whatever. They are experts at making fools of themselves. And as you so eloquently point out, so are most of their supporters.

    September 18, 2007 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  15. Anton, Columbus, Ohio

    Gee what a surprise, Senator Graham greeted him. I'm sure Senator McConnell was too. Maybe they wall went out to dinner afterwards.

    September 18, 2007 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  16. christy Albuquerque NM

    Larry Craig aka Solicitor En Route should have been terminated as soon as he reached Capitol Hill. DO NOT FORGET, the Solicitor En Route, flying 1st Class, deplanes to use the men's room in Minneapolis & denies his solicitous actions. Then hurries outta there, with the hard copy Complaint, in hand, that he files a month later, Guilty As Charged!! What's the big hurry? To continue onto Capitol Hill so he, as a Senator, can vote NO to censure U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales aka gonzo. Resignation? No. Termination? Yes. Termination w/o compensation. Why should Capitol Hill's white collar criminals be awarded government pensions paid by the Citizens of The USA.

    September 18, 2007 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  17. H. Householder

    Well I doubt being either Republican or Democrat is the issue. No one should plead guilty unless they are guilty. I imagine a frightened uneducated individual who has never had a day in their life go right, would panic and plead, but an educated, white man who is a Senator, give me a break. So the ultimate moral of the story (no pun intended) "Careful who you play footsie with, it could be a cop". I have to laugh, it brought back a day when I was very young and spinning a tale to my Mother to cover something I had done wrong...and she calmly stated, "Thou doth protest to much"..Thank you to the Bard for busting me then and the Senator now!

    September 18, 2007 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  18. Dick Houston, TX

    I'm sure Senator Craig is thankful to O J Simpson for taking the heat off of him. Of course, it's not a question of the Senator's sexual orientation as much as his hypocrisy and mendacity. Is this the bes the American electorate can do?

    September 18, 2007 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  19. John Smart, Los Angeles, California

    This says it all: the American Civil Liberties Union filed a brief in court Monday... When a conservative gets in trouble they always coming running to us liberals for help.

    September 18, 2007 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  20. Bill, Tacoma, WA

    This has, or should have, nothing to do with party. I despise what public rest rooms have become–ours kids use them! They need to be cleaned up–of obscene graffitti and sexual solicitations.

    But, we do force gays into the closet. And to me, the issue of hypocrisy is overshadowed by the fact that the majority of Craig's constituents obviously are opposed to gay rights, and he is THEIR representative, not his own. It could be argued that he was doing their bidding in his votes (no matter how blind it was).

    September 18, 2007 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  21. Peggy, Spokane, WA

    Senator Craig knew exactly what he was doing and is a disgrace to the U.S. and should step down as he said he was going to do. Let our country move away from this type of thing in the future and hold everyone in office accountable! Keep going back to Idaho, Senator Craig...and good riddance!

    September 18, 2007 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  22. Cascade, colorado


    September 18, 2007 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  23. Jim, Santa Rosa, California

    I'm not going to bash Senator Craig, but rather question Republican so called "morality". When you repress people who are different, you take the chance of ensnaring one of your own. If being gay was a non-issue, Senator Craig could find the man to man association he desperately craves and no one would think anything of it.

    September 18, 2007 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  24. Ree-Washington DC

    What a disgrace to the state of Idaho, members of Congress, and the American people, that's republicans for ya, always keep a scandal going on the about jerks!

    September 18, 2007 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  25. S Palmer, Magna, UT

    There are enough tainted politicians from both parties on Capitol Hill and enough alligations to go around for each. I believe resignation from them ALL would greatly be an improvement based upon this being the action they ALL offer to resolve accusations and other trivial inuendo, but unfortunately we still have a government that needs to be run and it is time that they rally together to resolve far less petty issues. As to whether or not he (Sen Craig) is guilty of any crime, he like us all should have our day in court. "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone" ... I am glad see that the ACLU filed a statement as friend of the court in his behalf and agree with them for doing it. It is time for his accusers to step down an introspectively evaluate themselves before they cast stones. Besides, there is getting to be enough mud out there to get mired in ... and none of this really helps address the needs of our country at this time.

    September 18, 2007 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
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