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17 October 2007

Sen. Larry Craig's interview with Matt Lauer

Note: In the police tape below, the arresting officer is noted as "Dave Karsnia" which we in Blogistan believe to be an unsupportable (but subtle) distortion by NBC News. It should be "Police Officer," or "Officer Karsnia" leaving personalities out of it. Just another sleazy distortion from MSNBC's "softball" interview. (Blogistanian Ministry of Information).

Sen. Larry Craig's interview with Matt Lauer
Idaho senator regrets guilty plea, blasts Romney in exclusive NBC interview
By Matt Lauer, 'Today' anchor
Updated: 3:55 p.m. PT Oct 16, 2007

Larry Craig: I liken it to we're in the middle of hurricane season. And we were. And there were no hurricanes. I became the political hurricane that everybody wanted to talk about. And did it-- did they talk about it? You bet they did.

For Idaho Senator Larry Craig and his wife Suzanne, the hurricane started six weeks ago, when the news broke that Craig had been arrested, accused by a police officer of soliciting sex in an airport men's room. He later pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.

The arrest catapulted Senator Craig from relative obscurity, to front pages and web pages and late night comedy shows.

And it placed both his 30-year political career and his family in jeopardy.

Larry Craig: It's been a very emotional time for us, a very difficult time in some ways for our family and friends.
Matt Lauer: Do you read everything? Do you listen to everything? Or do you try and put your hands over your ears and not take it in?
Larry Craig: Yeah. Well, Matt, for a time I tried to take it in. And then I must tell you, it became so aggressive and so distorted that I almost quit listening.
Suzanne Craig: The Food Channel was a great thing--
Matt Lauer: You watched a lot of cooking shows over the last six weeks?
Suzanne Craig: Yes.
Matt Lauer: I want to give you a chance to talk about what has been distorted. But let me take you back a little bit first, senator, and-- and, you know, this is your home. This was where you were raised, on a ranch. You went to school here, one-room schoolhouse. You were in the National Guard in Idaho. You got into politics here. You've served the people of Idaho in Washington what? Thirty years now. What do you remember most about first going to Washington?
Larry Craig: Well-- it's always been a great privilege, Matt, to represent Idaho in Congress. And that's all I've really ever wanted to do is to go there, to be their defender, to be that wall between government and the citizen. Because government, as you know, can be very daunting to the average person.
Matt Lauer: So it sounds like you're saying some of what goes on in Washington is a bit distasteful to you.
Larry Craig: Well, it always has been.

That might have something to do with the fact that, not long after he was elected to Congress, Craig was caught up in his first, but not his last, Washington scandal.

Matt Lauer: It was the Congressional page scandal in 1982 and to sum it up, a couple of pages in Congress stepped forward and said that they had either had sex with or had been propositioned for sex by several members of Congress. The reports hit the media and you issued a statement.(Statement from June 30, 1982)

Larry Craig: I've got nothing to hide, nothing to be fearful of... But the very fact that allegations have been made and that they're being reported in the news have put a blight over me.

Matt Lauer: At the time it raised eyebrows because you were the only member of Congress, out of 535 people, who issued any kind of a statement. Why did you?
Larry Craig: A reporter walked into my office and immediately accused me. I reacted. I was a freshman. My credibility had been challenged. And I only knew to go on the defense at that moment.
Matt Lauer: But at the time, did you hear the whispers that why did Congressman Larry Craig decide to make these comments unless maybe he had something to hide? You heard that, right?
Larry Craig: Well, Matt, I not only heard it but then every political season afterwards, my opponents would start whispering it again. I've lived with that all of my political life.
Matt Lauer: What toll does that take, Suzanne? I mean, when you're the wife of a public official and you hear these whispers about perhaps there is another side to him, a different lifestyle, how do you handle that as a wife, as a spouse, as a partner?
Suzanne Craig: I don't listen to other people's rumors. I know what's right. I know about Larry Craig. I know about our relationship. I feel very secure in that relationship. And I don't need other people to tell me what they think about it.

But she knows what some people think. Because even after the Craigs got married-- a year after the page scandal-- and he adopted her three children from a previous marriage, the rumors about her husband persisted.

Matt Lauer: There were people who said-- and it's almost hard for me to say this to you. Which you--
Suzanne Craig: I know what you're going to say.
Matt Lauer: No, what-- what were they saying?
Suzanne Craig: They were saying that it was a marriage of convenience.
Matt Lauer: To cover--
Suzanne Craig: To cover--
Matt Lauer: --a gay lifestyle.
Suzanne Craig: Oh, give me a break. People know me and know that I would never do that. You-- that's almost like selling your soul for something. No.
Matt Lauer: I don't know you well enough.
Suzanne Craig: You will when--
Matt Lauer: However I should say people have sold their souls for politics before.
Suzanne Craig: But--
Larry Craig: Larry and Suzanne Craig do not sell their souls. I love this woman very, very much. And the day I found her, I fell in love, deeply in love. And that's lasted-- we're heading toward our 25th anniversary.
Matt Lauer: You know, and here you are all these years later still married, proving everyone wrong and yet still dealing with these rumors--
Larry Craig: Sure.
Matt Lauer: --and this innuendo.

Rumors that, once again, were about to be made very public.

Elected to the senate in 1990, over the years Larry Craig became a fixture there, and in Republican politics. He was a powerful force on senate committees, a solid family values conservative who in 1999 publicly deplored President Bill Clinton's involvement with Monica Lewinsky:

(Sen. Craig on Meet the Press)
It's a bad boy Bill Clinton, you're a naughty boy. The American people already know that Bill Clinton is a bad boy, a naughty boy, I'm going to speak out for the citizens of my state who in the majority think that Bill Clinton is probably even a nasty, bad, naughty boy.

Earlier this year when Mitt Romney announced his run for president, he named Senator Craig co-chair of his campaign in Idaho.

But in October 2006, eight months before the senator's arrest in Minneapolis, old rumors began swirling again.

A gay activist named Mike Rogers, who makes it his business to "out" conservative politicians, wrote in his blog that he'd interviewed several men who'd had sex with Senator Larry Craig.

Larry Craig: I call it gladiator politics. Put the politician in the arena and beat him until he's dead and let the crowd cheer. And that's really tragic because we've watched this and certainly with the gay community, a fair number of them have become very militant.
Matt Lauer: When you heard this-- that this report had come out on this blog and that some major media outlets were picking it up, what were you thinking?
Larry Craig: Well, I responded to it by saying-- this is a blog. He has no facts. It is simply not true. Many papers ran that. And that was the end of it. The local daily here did not.
Matt Lauer: And you're talking about the Idaho statesman.

Prompted by those allegations on the Web site, reporters from the paper spent months delving into the rumors about Larry Craig's sex life. On May 14, they interviewed the senator and his wife.

Matt Lauer: They had a laundry list of accusations. There was a guy back when you were president of your college fraternity who said you came onto him; that there was a rumor you were discharged from the National Guard because you were gay. And that there was a guy who says you cruised him, whatever that means-- a store in Boise.
Larry Craig: I was president of a fraternity. I had to make tough choices sometimes about leadership roles. There was a young man who was bounced from our fraternity for getting involved in drugs. I believe that was the gentleman. He was not very happy with Larry Craig and the leadership role that I had to play.
Matt Lauer: So-- vendetta? That was a little bit of--
Larry Craig: It-- it's very possible that that was a vendetta.
Matt Lauer: How about the National Guard?
Larry Craig: The National Guard-- I have a medical discharged based on my feet.
Suzanne Craig: And the man in the store, this is a small town. When you go into a store and somebody looks up and recognizes you, we smile at them. If you didn't, then you'd hear, "Senator Craig, he, you know, he ignored me," or something like that.
Larry Craig: My wife and I went to that store that day to buy shoes because we were going to take a rafting trip. We were there together.

And there was another allegation-- this one centering on a men's room at a train station. The newspaper reporters played an explicit audio tape on which an unidentified man claimed he'd had sex with Craig a few years earlier, at Union Station in Washington, D.C.

Suzanne Craig: I was feeling violated, because they came in here and brought this almost pornographic audio tape. And played it in our home. And I knew immediately it was not the truth. Because the description he gave of Larry in some areas that only I might know about were wrong, on three counts.
Larry Craig: It came after 10 months of their reporter traveling the country, calling over 300 of our friends, using this rumor almost as an advocate saying, "Don't you hear this? Don't you believe it's true?" He became an active spreader of a false rumor. He took my picture and traveled the gay bars in Washington saying, "Have you seen this man? Do you know this man?"
Suzanne Craig: This-- the whole thing was so incredibly personal, emotional. And I know what kind of sacrifices the family's made to help him and support him in that. And here's somebody sitting there because there was a blogger that said something. And he's trying to make something of nothing instead of talking about the good things.
Matt Lauer: What was your mood after that interview?
Larry Craig: Well, there was a feeling of relief-- that I certainly hoped I'd made the case that I think both Suzanne and I did, that they were chasing rumor, false rumor and innuendo, and that they had not found anything. There was just nothing out there.

But that was all about to change.

Minneapolis International Airport, June 11, 2007, about noon. Senator Larry Craig was making his weekly commute from Boise, Idaho to Washington, D.C. He had a change of planes. He was walking through an area of shops and restaurants called "Northstar Crossing." He stopped at a men's room.

Larry Craig:
I had been in that bathroom I don't know how many times over the years. But I'd certainly been in it.
Matt Lauer: Were you aware at all, senator, of the reputation of that specific bathroom?
Larry Craig: Well, I certainly am now.
Matt Lauer: According to the airport police and according to some gay blogs, and here go those blogs again that I know you love so much, this particular bathroom in Northstar Crossing is described as a hot spot for anonymous sexual encounters between gay men. And you had no idea of that?
Larry Craig: No, I did not know that. I had no reason to know that.
Matt Lauer: Has anything strange ever happened to you in that bathroom that you can remember over the years? Has anyone ever gestured to you, solicited you in any way that you would describe, come onto you in that bathroom?
Larry Craig: Well, it--
Suzanne Craig: I asked him that question, too.
Matt Lauer: What was the answer?
Larry Craig: Matt, I use bathrooms for bathroom's sake.
Matt Lauer: But so do I. But if someone-- if I were in a bathroom and someone winked at me or something like that, or slipped me a-- a note, I'd remember it. Had anything like that--
Larry Craig: No.
Matt Lauer: --ever happened--
Larry Craig: No.

Craig didn't know it, but in the bathroom that day, a sting operation was underway and sitting in a stall, an undercover police officer.

Matt Lauer: You walked into that bathroom, senator. Six minutes later, you were under arrest.
Larry Craig: Yes.
Matt Lauer: And your career was and jeopardy, and your family life was in jeopardy. So, how should we handle this? Do you want to tell me what happened?
Larry Craig: Matt, I'd love to tell you the story. And let me tell you why. In this media storm that we've been in, you've heard one side of the story. The facts have just got covered up. And-- I think it's very important that I speak to them … So, I go to the bathroom to use the bathroom for bathroom's sake. I walk by the stalls. I glance at them to see whether they're full. I stand out in front of a couple of them waiting. And I look. And I see some movement. Ah, one of them is opening up. I go in.
Matt Lauer: But let me-- let me stop you. You looked in the stalls. You walked by to glance to see--
Larry Craig: Yeah.
Matt Lauer: --if they were occupied. When I do that and we're-- we're sharing bathroom secrets here, but when I do that, I tend to look under the stall to see if there are feet.
Larry Craig: Yeah.
Matt Lauer: So, I know that it's occupied. According to this officer, you looked into the stall, this is according to the officer, through the crack in the door on several occasions, close enough where he could see the color of your eyes.
Larry Craig: That just didn't happen. I stood back several feet standing there waiting with my luggage. Yes, I was looking at the door. But I was also looking at the feet to see if there was movement.
Matt Lauer: He says that when the stall next to him became available after you being out in front of the stall doors for about two minutes--
Larry Craig: Yeah.
Matt Lauer: --that you walked into that now-unoccupied stall and the first thing you did was you began to tap your foot like this.
Larry Craig: That's what he said.
Matt Lauer: He says then with his left foot, the one closest to you, he slowly raised and lowered his foot.
Larry Craig: Uh-huh (affirm).
Matt Lauer: And the next he says that happened that somehow your foot, your right foot, came under the divider onto-- into his stall and that your right foot made contact with his left foot.
Larry Craig: Yes.
Matt Lauer: The next thing he says that happened is you made a hand gesture to him. And the gesture, according to this police officer, undercover officer, was not made with the hand closest to the stall where he was. It was made with your left hand. And the reason he says it was the left hand is he distinctly remembers seeing your wedding ring.
Larry Craig: Yeah. Seconds later, there was a card under the divider saying, "Police, step out."
Matt Lauer: According to the police report, what the police officer heard you say was, "No."
Larry Craig: Yes.
Matt Lauer: Here's the part I have a problem with, senator. If you had-- if there had been nothing going on in this stall, and you had done nothing intentionally, it seems to me you would've been completely confused as to why some guy next to you is showing you police identification.
Larry Craig: Well, I was. I didn't know there was-- (unintel) not real, I said no.
Matt Lauer: No to what? To what question?
Larry Craig: He had a gesture toward the door like this. He didn't tell that, did he said-- and I said no. And then another gesture, and I-- stepped up, pulled my pants up, and stepped out. I was immediately grabbed by him. And I said, "What's going on here?" and he jerked me out of the bathroom.
Matt Lauer: So, at that point, you didn't-- it didn't register with you, "I am in the middle of a situation where this guy thinks there has been solicitation?"
Larry Craig: Not at all. I-- no.
Matt Lauer: So, you'd think he was taking you out of the bathroom?
Larry Craig: I wasn't sure. And I got outside. And I said, "What's going on?" He says, "You're under arrest for solicitation." I said, "What?" He said, "You come with me." And I said, "I've got an airplane to catch. I've done nothing wrong." About that time, he grabbed my arm … another officer came up and grabbed my arm. And they said, "if you don't behave, you're going to be handcuffed and taken to jail."
Matt Lauer: Because according to this undercover officer you followed, whether on purpose or coincidentally, a very well established sequence--
Larry Craig: Yeah.
Matt Lauer: --of motions, well established by members of the gay community to solicit sex in public places.
Larry Craig: So I've found in the last month.

Senator Larry Craig was under arrest at the Minneapolis International Airport, accused of lewd conduct-- soliciting sex in a public bathroom from a man who turned out to be an undercover police officer. For 25 years, there have been rumors that Craig, a conservative Republican, was a closeted homosexual. Tonight, for the first time, he's telling the story of his arrest -- and laying out his defense.

Matt Lauer:
When you-- when you got to the police office in the airport, you were asked to show identification.
Larry Craig: Yeah.
Matt Lauer: And instead of showing a driver's license according to the report, you showed this card first that said you were a U.S. Senator. And you said, quote, "What do you think about that?"
Larry Craig: Well, I pulled the card out, laid it down. And while I was reaching for my driver's license, he said, "Oh, you're a U.S. Senator." And I said, "Yeah. What you think about that?" I did say that.
Matt Lauer: What'd you mean by it? Just, in other words, boy we're in some pickle here? Or this is more than you bargained for or--
Larry Craig: No. I didn't mean it in that way at all. I was at a very frustrated, angry, embarrassed situation at that moment. And the tape I think is very clear about what I said and how I reacted.

The tape he's referring to was recorded in the police interrogation room at the Minneapolis Airport. Sergeant Dave Karsnia, who'd arrested Craig just minutes earlier, took him there for questioning.

(Police audio tape)
Larry Craig: Am I going to have to fight you in court?
Dave karsnia: No. No. I'm not going to go to court unless you want me there.
Larry Craig: Because I don't want to be in court either.
Dave Karsnia: All right. I, I know I can bring you to jail, but that's not my goal here, okay?
Larry Craig: Don't do that. You you--
Dave Karsnia: I'm not going to bring you to jail
Larry Craig: You solicited me.
Dave Karsnia: OK. We're going to get, we're going to get into that.

Larry Craig: Let's go back to the interrogation tape. To me, that's so important. Because that was my frame of mind. That was the truth. He kept trying to drag me into other things that just didn't happen. This was an officer that was more interested in the arrest than he was the facts. And I found out I was caught in a situation that I had never been in my life, Matt.

(Police audio tape)
Dave Karsnia: Do you wish to talk to us at this time?
Larry Craig: I do
Dave Karsnia: OK, I just want to start off with a your side of the story, OK.
Larry Craig: So I go into the bathroom here as I normally do, I'm a commuter too here.
Dave Karsnia: OK.
Larry Craig: I sit down, uh, to go to the bathroom and ah, you said our feet bumped. I believe they did, ah, because I reached down and scooted over and, the next thing I knew, under the bathroom divider comes a card that says police. Now, that's about as far as I can take it, I don't know of anything else. Ah, your foot came toward mine, mine came towards yours, was that natural? I don't know. Did we bump? Yes. I think we did. You said so. I don't disagree with that.

Matt Lauer:
So, you don't remember at any time tapping your foot?
Larry Craig: I do not.
Matt Lauer: In this way?
Larry Craig: I do not.
Matt Lauer: But in the interrogation tape, you do talk about is it possible your feet brushed?
Larry Craig: Yes.
Matt Lauer: And--
Larry Craig: And I don't know-- it was possible. But I don't recall that. And he kept leading me into this. And I kept saying no. It's clearly on the tape, Matt.

(Police audio tape)
Dave Karsnia: And when you went in the stalls, then what?
Larry Craig: Sat down.
Dave Karsnia: OK. Did you do anything with your feet?
Larry Craig: Positioned them, I don't know. I don't know at the time. I'm a fairly wide guy.
Dave Karsnia: I understand.
Larry Craig: I had to spread my legs.
Dave Karsnia: OK.
Larry Craig: When I lower my pants so they won't slide.
Dave Karsnia: OK.
Larry Craig: Did I slide them too close to yours? Did I, I looked down once, your foot was close to mine.
Dave Karsnia: Yes.
Larry Craig: Did we bump? Ah, you said so, I don't recall that, but apparently we were close.
Dave Karsnia: Yeah, well your foot did touch mine, on my side of the stall.
Larry Craig: All right.

Matt Lauer:
You know that there has to be thousands of people who have heard this story now, senator.
Larry Craig: Sure.
Matt Lauer: They're trying to picture how this-- you know, they're flashing back to every time they've ever sat in a bathroom--
Larry Craig: Oh, I know.
Matt Lauer: --stall. And they're trying to think, "Can that happen? How close are you actually to the guy next to you?" And this is that infamous wide stance, which I think what you actually said is, "I'm a wide guy," is the actual quote you said. But-- and they're thinking, "It's not that easy to touch the guy's foot next to you." And so, how could it have happened?
Larry Craig: Well, as I-- it didn't happen.

And what about his hand? The details are critical. The palm-up gesture, regarded as a coded message for men seeking sex.

(Police audio)
Dave Karsnia: OK. And then with the hand. How many times did you put your hand under the stall?
Larry Craig: I don't recall. I remember reaching down once. There was a piece of toilet paper back behind me and picking it up.

Larry Craig:
Something attracted my attention, and I looked down. And as I looked down, I saw a piece of toilet paper on the floor. And it happened to be under my heel … and I don't know if you've seen it before, but I've seen it, somebody walk out of a booth with a piece of toilet paper stuck to their foot. I'd reached down to take it off my shoe, or out from under my shoe. And my hand did go below the divider at that moment in time.

(Police audio tape)
Dave Karsnia: Was your palm down or up when you were doing that?
Larry Craig: I don't recall.
Dave Karsnia: OK. I recall your palm being up. OK.
Larry Craig: All right.
Dave Karsnia: when you pick up a piece of paper off the ground, your palm would be down, when you pick something up.
Larry Craig: Yeah, probably would be. I recall picking the paper up.
Dave Karsnia: And I know it's hard to describe here on tape but actually what I saw was your fingers come underneath the stalls, you're actually touching the bottom of the stall divider.
Larry Craig: I don't recall that.
Dave Karsnia: You don't recall
Larry Craig: I don't believe I did that. I don't.
Dave Karsnia: I saw, I saw.
Larry Craig: I don't do those things.
Dave Karsnia: I saw your left hand and I could see the gold wedding ring when it when it went across. I could see that. On your left hand, I could see that.
Larry Craig: Well, we can dispute that. I'm not going to fight you in court and I, I reached down with my right hand to pick up the paper.

Dave Karsnia: I know you're not going to fight me. But that's not the point … You're sitting here lying to a police officer.

Matt Lauer:
To this day, you would say to me at no time did you ever use your left hand and go anywhere near your foot or the stall divider.
Larry Craig: Matt, I would have had to turn almost sideways to reach clear across and around. And I absolutely did not do that.
Matt Lauer: So, again, the fact these motions seem to replicate a well-established sequence of signals for soliciting anonymous sex, it's a coincidence?
Larry Craig: I now know that this cop is-- this officer is a profiler. He said looking into a stall was one of it. And then a hand gesture or a foot tap is another one … Now I know all about profiling. I know what people feel like when they're profiled. When innocent people get caught up in what I was caught in as an innocent person, it's very angering at times.
Matt Lauer: You-- you said on a couple of occasions, senator, that-- that this officer, this undercover officer, was a profiler. You said that he tried to put words in your mouth. Are you saying he's a liar?
Larry Craig: I'm say--
Matt Lauer: That these two stories are different?
Larry Craig: They are very different stories. What I'm saying is if what I said on that tape is the truth, you heard my voice. You heard his voice. You saw how hard he worked to get me to say things that I didn't say because I didn't do it.

A spokesman for the airport police says it is true that behavioral profiling caused the officer to focus on Senator Craig but that he arrested Craig for specific actions that violated the law.

And Senator Craig says that once the interrogation was finished, after he was photographed and fingerprinted, he hurried off to catch his flight to Washington-- and waited for the prosecutor to contact him.

Matt Lauer:
Could you have said, "Flight be damned, I will stay and I will fight this right now?"
Larry Craig: And I should've. And I should've, Matt. There's no question. At that moment in time, I should've picked up the phone, called my attorney, called my staff and called my wife and said, "I'm not going to make this flight. I've just been arrested."
Matt Lauer: And the reason they you didn't do all those things was what?
Larry Craig: For a moment in time, I was in a panic. And I'm going, "Oh, crimey. What do I do now?"

Senator Larry Craig , long subject to rumors about his sexual proclivities, was arrested for disorderly conduct and interference with privacy and suspected of soliciting sex in a men's room at the Minneapolis Airport. He says he is innocent and yet for two months after his arrest, he didn't tell anyone about it. Not his staff, not his lawyer, not his wife of 24 years.

Matt Lauer:
Why didn't you--
Suzanne Craig: --about--
Matt Lauer: --tell her?
Larry Craig: It was a tough call, Matt, a very tough call … I was very, very embarrassed about it. I wrestled with it. I didn't want to embarrass my wife, my kids, Idaho and my friends. And I wrestled with it a long while. I sought no counsel. I made a very big mistake.
Matt Lauer: How would you describe emotionally your state of mind
Larry Craig: I went through I'm sure several stages of emotions. But finally I began to focus on how do I tamp this down? What do I do so that this goes away?

Senator Craig spoke to the prosecutor in Minnesota, and the prosecutor offered a deal: plead guilty just to the lesser charge of disorderly conduct.

Larry Craig:
And he said, "Well, if you just plead to a misdemeanor and pay a fine, it's just a filing in the court." And it sounded like an easy way out of this, Matt.
Matt Lauer: So you didn't call a lawyer. You didn't tell a friend. You didn't tell a minister or a priest. You told nobody.
Larry Craig: That is correct. And it was a very, very big mistake.
Matt Lauer: That guilty plea, you know? August 1 you sent it in.
Larry Craig: Yeah.
Matt Lauer: Was there any sense of relief? Or was there a sense of dread?
Larry Craig: There was a sense of relief. I hoped it would go away. I wanted to avoid a media storm. I didn't. A media storm came.

But it took a few weeks. Senator Craig mailed in his paperwork. No one knew of his arrest and guilty plea until they were uncovered by Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper. Senator Craig realized the story was about to go very public. Only then did he tell his wife Suzanne.

Suzanne Craig:
When Larry told me that the story was going to break and he hadn't told me about it before that, I felt like the floor was falling out from under me. It happened right here in this room. And I felt like-- almost like I was going down a drain for a few moments. At that point--
Matt Lauer: Why? Why, because you thought maybe you had been lied to or you were about to be put in a very white-hot public spotlight? Why did you feel you were going down a drain at that moment?
Suzanne Craig: Because Larry hadn't told me and because he always has told me. We've shared a lot of things through the years. And I didn't-- this was such an unusual thing for him not to tell me.
Matt Lauer: Did the fact that he didn't tell you, Suzanne, make you less likely to believe the story? In other words, if he had nothing to hide, why wouldn't he tell you the day that it happened?
Suzanne Craig: When I watched him tell his mother, listened to his conversation on the phone with her and our children, and I saw his agony at having to tell them that he had been arrested, I realized why he didn't tell us. He was terribly embarrassed. He's kind of always been the hero of our family, you know? And the head of the family. And-- it was just so difficult for him.
Matt Lauer: I'm curious, the night of that conversation, when he broke the news to you, albeit six weeks too late, were you pretty angry? Did-- did he sleep on the couch that night?
Suzanne Craig: Well, you see the length of our couch? No.
Matt Lauer: Did he curl up on the couch?
Suzanne Craig: There's not a-- there's not an issue of forgiveness. And no, there wasn't anger. There was great disappointment that he hadn't felt comfortable that I would know something about him that was so embarrassing … and we worked through it. When we had a quiet moment together at the family meeting with the children, then we talk-- we talked very openly about it. Some people would probably be very embarrassed to listen in on that conversation.
Matt Lauer:
Suzanne-- did you ask him the tough questions?
Suzanne Craig:
Matt Lauer: Well, let-- let me just come right out and say, did anybody sit you down, senator, Suzanne or your children, and say, "Dad, honey, are you gay?"
Suzanne Craig: Yes.
Larry Craig: My kids ask tough questions. We've always had family meetings when there was a family crisis. And we've had a few … and-- and yeah, we're pretty frank and honest with each other. The kids have known me an awfully long while. And they looked at-- they looked their dad in the eye and asked the tough question.
Matt Lauer:
And you asked that specific question? And you're comfortable with the answer?
Suzanne Craig:
I did a lot of soul-searching along that when I had this information and asked myself if I'd missed something somewhere. And I have to tell you that-- I mean, we all can be naïve … and we all can live in our own world. And I thought, am I just out there somewhere being naive? And I honestly believe my husband has always been faithful to me in every way.

On August 27, the news broke, and broke big. The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call reported that Republican Senator Larry Craig, a family values conservative, had been arrested in a sex sting at an airport men's room and had pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.

A day later, the Idaho Statesman published the story it had been holding detailing every rumor about Craig's past.

The story was, instantly, everywhere.

Craig -- with Suzanne at his side -- declared that pleading guilty had been a mistake.

He said he intended to resign, but almost immediately changed his mind and said he'd try to reverse his guilty plea.

The response was swift and brutal, both from late night comics and from longtime Republican colleagues.

Matt Lauer:
Mitt Romney, John McCain, Peter Hoekstra, Mitch McConnell, and we have an expression in New York, they threw you under the bus.
Larry Craig: Uh-huh (affirm).
Matt Lauer: What was it like as a wife to see that happen, Suzanne?
Suzanne Craig: It was, for me and for our children, I was very disappointed and very hurt to see some of the people that Larry's worked with and for and supported for years--
Matt Lauer: Forget working. These are friends, weren't they?
Suzanne Craig: Some of them were friends.
Larry Craig: Weren't they? Interesting question, Matt.
Matt Lauer: Well, doesn't seem as if they are today.
Larry Craig: Matt, the--
Larry Craig: --said it well.
Suzanne Craig: Go ahead.
Larry Craig: We were very disappointed. And I was hurt, you know? I've worked with several of these people a long while. They didn't even pick up the phone and call me. They simply took the media report verbatim and reacted.
Suzanne Craig: --the doubt. No benefit of the doubt.
Larry Craig: I was very proud of my association with Mitt Romney. I'd worked hard for I'm here in the state. I was a co-chair of his-- campaign on Capitol Hill. And he not only threw me under his campaign bus, he backed up and ran over me again.
Matt Lauer: What's it like to be Larry Craig in the senate right now? Do you-- when you're walking down the halls of the senate building, do you notice people walk to the other side of the hall?
Larry Craig: No. Not at all.
Matt Lauer: Do you--
Larry Craig: There are a few--
Matt Lauer: --cafeteria, you don't sit alone?
Larry Craig: No.
Matt Lauer: They're not parking in your parking spot?
Larry Craig: They better not.
Matt Lauer: So you don't feel you're being shunned to your face?
Larry Craig: Well, let me put it this way. There are some, and you've mentioned their names, who really can't make eye contact.
Larry Craig:
I didn't give anybody a place to hide by pleading guilty … I gave no quarter for my colleagues to stand in. That was a very big mistake.
Matt Lauer:
Do you think if there was an allegation against you that you had been involved in an extramarital affair, that a heterosexual extramarital affair, would this be a big deal? Because there are other names in the senate that find themselves in that situation. And I don't remember a lot of people asking them to resign.
Suzanne Craig: It would've been a big deal to me.
Suzanne Craig: --wouldn't be sitting here.
Larry Craig: Matt-- Matt, that's exactly what I was going to say. It would've been a very big deal to this wonderful lady beside me. But it would probably not have been-- as big a deal as this one has been portrayed in the media.
Matt Lauer: You have taken, senator, several opportunities to say, come out point blank and say, "I am not a homosexual."
Larry Craig: Uh-huh (affirm).
Matt Lauer: Which raises two questions in my mind. One of them, and you're going to have to forgive me for this, are you technically not a homosexual? Is it possible you're bisexual?
Larry Craig: It's no to both.
Matt Lauer: The other question is do you think it would be something that would be awful? In other words, do you view it as something that would be awful to have to admit that you were gay?
Larry Craig: I don't agree with the lifestyle. And I've said so by my votes over the years and by my expressions. Have I viewed it as awful? I viewed it as a lifestyle I don't agree with.
Matt Lauer: You wouldn't view it as one-- something that would be a source of great shame if you had to admit it?
Larry Craig: I'm not sure that I've ever looked at anyone else's sex life as great shame.
Suzanne Craig: And-- and some people think that he pleaded guilty to homosexual activity, when in fact he did not.
Matt Lauer: Is it semantics?
Suzanne Craig: On whose part?
Matt Lauer: Meaning if you plead guilty to the charge of disorderly conduct based on what happened in that men's room, in some way are you pleading guilty to soliciting gay sex?
Larry Craig: Well--
Suzanne Craig: No.
Larry Craig: Matt, I don't believe so, because I didn't do it. And I know here, I'm innocent.
Matt Lauer: You filed your guilty plea, as we said. And you then tried to have it withdrawn.
Larry Craig: Yes.
Matt Lauer: And the judge was pretty strong, senator--
Larry Craig: Sure.
Matt Lauer: --in his rebuke. And he said, "No, you knew what you were doing. And you waited a month and a half before you did it." Do you plan to appeal that?
Larry Craig: Yes, I do. In fact, we are filing that appeal.
Matt Lauer: On what grounds?
Larry Craig: On the grounds that we don't get a fair shot. That I want a right to defend myself in a court of law. I made a mistake. I made a very big mistake, Matt. And that was to plead guilty. And I shouldn't have done that. We should have gone to court, faced up to the political firestorm and the media storm at that time.
Matt Lauer: Told your wife.
Larry Craig: Told my wife. Done--
Matt Lauer: Told the people of Idaho.
Larry Craig: Told the people of Idaho. Done all of those things. I want a chance to do that, you know? It's important to me. It's important to my family that I clear my name. And I'm going to use all the rights I have as a citizen to try to do that.
Matt Lauer: Your favorite newspaper, the Idaho statesman, in an editorial as to why you should resign said, "we cannot afford … to have a senator who merely provides fodder for bloggers and late-night talk show hosts." So can you be effective, senator?
Larry Craig: I've really asked myself that question. I've got nearly 30 years of seniority that's Idaho's. Idaho gained that seniority and power because I was there and I had that longevity. This isn't my seat. It belongs to Idaho.
Matt Lauer: But some of the people in Idaho, senator, according to polls, think that you should resign.Larry Craig: Oh, yes, they do.
Matt Lauer: And so will you resign?
Larry Craig: No. I won't resign. I will finish out my term. Let me tell you--
Suzanne Craig: Because there's so many more who don't want him to resign.
Larry Craig: My dad taught me when I started a job, to work hard and finish it, no matter how tough it got.
Matt Lauer: But with all due respect, your father never envisioned gay sex stings in airports and senate ethics committee investigations, senator.
Larry Craig: I think the principle applies to anything you do in life.
Matt Lauer: You know, you said something earlier. You said by pleading guilty you wanted it to go away. That's what you wanted … you can resign, senator. And you know what? It would probably go away.
Larry Craig: Uh-huh (affirm).
Suzanne Craig: It wouldn't be the same.
Larry Craig: And, matt, that's the easy way out. You've talked about my history and my record. You know I'm a fighter-- that I don't just walk away from a fight. This is the toughest fight of my political life.

Larry Craig, who hasn't told the truth ONCE in this entire sordid mess keeps his perfect streak alive. Here is the transcript of the phone message he left on the wrong voicemail by mistake before making his "I will resign" speech on September 4. (Blogistanian Ministry of Information).


"Yes, Billy, this is Larry Craig calling. You can reach me on my cell. Arlen Specter is now willing to come out in my defense, arguing that it appears by all that he knows that I have been railroaded and all that.

"Having all of that, we have reshaped my statement a little bit to say it is my intent to resign on Sept. 30. I think it is important for you to make as bold a statement as you are comfortable with this afternoon, and I would hope you could make it in front of the cameras.

"I think it would help drive the story that I’m willing to fight, that I’ve got quality people out there fighting in my defense, and that this thing could take a new turn or a new shape, it has that potential. Anyway, give me a buzz or give Mike a buzz on that. We’re headed to my press conference now. "Thank you. Bye."

[End Transmission. Blogistanian Ministry of Information.]


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