October 18th, 2007
07:40 AM ET
14 years ago

Ensign to Craig: Leave now

Watch Sen. Ensign's interview with Wolf Blitzer.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. John Ensign, who chairs the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, made clear to CNN's Wolf Blitzer Wednesday he wants embattled Idaho Sen. Larry Craig to leave the Senate - immediately.

"The senator said that by the end of September, if the guilty plea was not overturned, if he was not reestablished on his seniority on committees, that he would resign," said Ensign, a Republican representing Nevada. "Neither one of those things are going to happen. I call on Sen. Craig, if he loved the Senate and his party, he would keep his word. "

Ensign also brushed aside the notion that the Idaho Republican should be given leniency, because he only pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.

"This wouldn't be making the national news if it was an ordinary misdemeanor," Ensign said. "He pled guilty to something that, you know lewd behavior, that's not the behavior a United States senator should be engaged in."

Ensign also dismissed the suggestion that Craig's case is similar to that of Republican Sen. David Vitter, who has admitted to committing a "serious sin" with a Washington prostitute when he served in the House.

"First of all, he never said exactly what he did," Ensign said of Vitter. "Secondly, it happened before he got into the United States Senate, and there were no laws that were broken as far as anybody knows."

Ensign also said that Craig's continued presence in the Senate will hurt Democrats and Republicans alike.

"There's too many people that paint with a broad brush that we're all corrupt, we're all amoral," he said. "And having these kinds of things happen, whether it's a Republican or Democratic senator - we certainly have had plenty of Democratic scandals in the past - we need people who are in office who will hold themselves to a little higher standard."

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Larry Craig • The Situation Room
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. elmerg, Colorado Springs, Colorado

    Tell us how you really feel


    October 18, 2007 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  2. Mike, Cleveland, OH

    Pixie, Murfreesboro, TN

    Great post!

    THOMAS BILLIS las vegas nv

    Absolutely terrific point, I'm a proud Dem, and I support Craig to stay in office. Frankly, his explanation for his behavior in the bathroom is a bit shaky. However, I don't think that his actions alone warrant an arrest. In other words, they arrested him for actions that MIGHT be indicative of soliciting sex, but you can't assume that somebody is intending to solicit sex until something is exchanged (money or whatever).

    October 18, 2007 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  3. Tomas S, Sault Ste Marie, MI

    Craig's actions hurt Republicans and Democrats alike?!? Considering republicans have been dropping like flies in the last couple of years to scandal, with only one democrat Representative tainted, it doesn't take a PhD in rocket science to see that the Republicans are the ones that are hurt by the actions of this law-breaking, hypocritical Republican Senator. Additionally, Ensign is perpetuating a double standard by not criticizing Vitter (who addmitted to using prostitutes), but coming down hard on Craig (who also pled guilty to committing a crime).

    Craig staying in office through the rest of his term is just one more nail in the Republican party's coffin when it comes to trying to regain the majority. In fact, it's as if the Republican's are actively seeking a "permanent minority" (ala Karl Rove) through the proliferation of their hypocritical and corrupt actions.

    October 18, 2007 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  4. Matt, Chicago

    So prostitution is not a crime in DC?
    Apparently the real New Amsterdam of the Atlantic Coast.
    The attempt to differentiate Vitters from Craig is flimsy at best. Come out and say it: Hetero-sex-crimes = ok; homo-wide-stance-sex-crimes = not ok.
    ...just b/c someone wasnt charged, doesnt mean no crime committed.

    Keep laying on the hypocrisy. GOP = Gays Or Perverts.

    October 18, 2007 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  5. Matt, Chicago, Illinois, Midwest, USA

    and Glen – Oh, yes – us ignorant midwesterners can't possibly comprehend the high-minded concepts of political rhetoric and posturing. Thank God there are Washington Insiders like you to help explain to us the world of politics. i'd continue, but i'm meeting my cousin for a 'nooner' after I churn the butter.

    October 18, 2007 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  6. Steve,Lyons, CO

    Nice try.

    Craig will be used as a buffoon by every Democrat running for office.

    Only the Republicans make such a big show about hating homosexuals, than try to lie and obfuscate when several of their own engage in that exact behavior. People also notice that Vitter is being given special treatment, 'cause Lousianans would vote in a Dem about 10 seconds after Vitter resigned.

    No, this is hurting the Republicans. And I love it. Bunch of dictator-supporting losers.

    October 18, 2007 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  7. Rodney Dallas TX

    Henry Tucker, GA:

    I am an avid reader and commentor on CNN Political Ticker. Every time I see your name, you are complaining about the stories that CNN is reporting. IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT, STOP READING IT. It's really simple.

    October 18, 2007 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  8. Flagship, Hartford, Connecticut

    Larry Craig and all the other Republican sex wierdos, will be useful if the Republicans use dirty swift-boat like attacks on the Democrats.
    Fight fire with fire if it comes to that. Democrats... Start making the commericals now. (Choose Craig's good side)

    October 18, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  9. john williams san diego, ca.

    the republican party is indeed in trouble...craig acting like barney and vitter acting like clinton (bubba) and both of them acting like McGreevy or villarigosa or newsome or kennedy or...

    October 18, 2007 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  10. Dave, Warner Robins, GA

    Ensign must have forgotten about what misbehaving is about. I seem to remember a particular president that actually had a bit of a lewd encounter and he got off pretty easily...ask his wife. Craig only was implied to be doing the wrong thing. Give the guy a break.

    October 18, 2007 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  11. outeasy

    Why is it so easy for Larry to say "I'm not Gay," yet so hard for him to say "I'm not a Senator?" Should he decide to once again change his mind, well, he can always be Gay, but a Senator? Doubtful. One is better than none, heY!

    October 18, 2007 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  12. kenneth, nc

    why doesn't he just admit he is gay? it'de be a lot easier than convincing anyone that he was framed somehow

    October 18, 2007 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  13. John from America

    Way to go Austin Rozzell – tell it like it is! The GOP is the evil "Greedy Old Party" and Henry Tucker, from GA – why don't you just go back to Fox News and hear more propaganda that sooths you little mind!

    The GOP gay bashers brought this on themselves – THATS THE STORY! The Moral Majority is NOT!

    October 18, 2007 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  14. Willis, Saint Simons Island, GA

    The people of Idaho sent Larry Craig to the Senate, and it should be the people of Idaho who decide his fate, not the Republicans in the U.S. Senate. If Craig stays, good for him, even though his "I'm not guilty (now)" argument disgusts me.

    But as much as he disgusts me, I do not believe it is my place, nor is it the place of the Senate Republicans who are more worried about their own collective skins, to make Craig leave before the end of his term.

    October 19, 2007 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  15. Lee nyc

    Both parties have their black sheep, lying, adultery and stealing. These people are held to higher standard, why, they are just ordinary people who have decided they'd like a position of power, instead of a regular job or career, most are not interested in what the people that put them office want,you can tell by how they vote in the senate, like end the war in Iraq and bring the troops home, stop funding the war, they just ignore their crys and do what they want. Enforce immigration laws. Why was he putting his foot in the stall next to him and putting his hand under the stall, wierd behavior I must admit. Frankly I didn't know that men that wanted to have sex with same sex hinted without speaking with their hands and feet signals. Why not just ask, the other guy if he interested, further to be arrested shouldn't there have been an exchange of money or money offer. This the way the prostitutes, get arrested by the police, without money offered it is rarely an arrest. Vitter had the same
    problem as Bill Clinton, only he didn't lie under oath, I guess he paid money at the time, but wasn't this a past indecretion and he wasn't arrested that's the difference between
    him and Larry. Larry Craig should retire he is old and tired, he got caught and now every one knows that he is really not a family values man. His wife should divorce him and take everything he's got, how does she put up with him. Hillary should have divorced Bill, and guess what it's not too late. However, no one will vote for her without Bill as her companion. Larry is a hypocrite like most of the republicans, nothing about this is surprising.

    October 21, 2007 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
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