Senator Craig: I am not gay, and never have been
Ron Brynaert
Published: Tuesday August 28, 2007


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Addressing the media in a brief press conference late Tuesday afternoon, Idaho's Republican Senator Larry Craig denied that he was gay, even though he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in a men's room in June, during a police sex sting at a Minnesota airport.

"I am not gay, and never have been gay," Craig said, adding that "there are still goals I can accomplish" as a senator.

Explaining his decision to plead guilty, Craig said, "In June, I overreacted and made a poor decision. While I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct at the Minneapolis airport or anywhere else, I chose to plead guilty to a lesser charge in the hope of making it go away. I did not seek any counsel, either from an attorney, staff, friends, or family. That was a mistake, and I deeply regret it. Because of that, I have now retained counsel and I am asking my counsel to review this matter and to advise me on how to proceed."

Craig also said that next month he will announce whether or not he will seek reelection.

"As an elected official, I fully realize that my life is open for public criticism and scrutiny, and I take full responsibility for the mistake in judgment I made in attempting to handle this matter myself," Craig added. "It is clear, though, that through my actions I have brought a cloud over Idaho. For that, I ask the people of Idaho for their forgiveness."

Craig might have a tough time removing that "cloud," since many have questioned why the senator didn't choose to fight the arrest instead of plead guilty, if he was truly innocent.

One major Republican presidential candidate was quick to turn the wagons around earlier today.

"In his interview on CNBC's Kudlow & Company (which will air later this afternoon), Mitt Romney had some sharp words for Sen. Larry Craig, who had endorsed the former Massachusetts governor's presidential campaign and was his Idaho chairman," NBC's Mark Murray reported earlier today.

Romney said, "Once again, we've found people in Washington have not lived up to the level of respect and dignity that we would expect for somebody that gets elected to a position of high influence. Very disappointing. He's no longer associated with my campaign, as you can imagine... I'm sorry to see that he has fallen short."

After Craig's press conference, CNN's Jack Cafferty quipped, "If this moron is elected, I will eat the Time Warner Center one brick at a time."

Full transcript of press conference as posted at Craig's senate website:

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"First, please let me apologize to my family, friends, staff, and fellow Idahoans for the cloud placed over Idaho. I did nothing wrong at the Minneapolis airport. I regret my decision to plead guilty and the sadness that decision has brought to my wife, family, friends, staff, and fellow Idahoans. For that I apologize.

"In June, I overreacted and made a poor decision. While I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct at the Minneapolis airport or anywhere else, I chose to plead guilty to a lesser charge in the hope of making it go away. I did not seek any counsel, either from an attorney, staff, friends, or family. That was a mistake, and I deeply regret it. Because of that, I have now retained counsel and I am asking my counsel to review this matter and to advise me on how to proceed.

"For a moment, I want to put my state of mind into context on June 11. For 8 months leading up to June, my family and I had been relentlessly and viciously harassed by the Idaho Statesman. If youíve seen todayís paper, you know why. Let me be clear: I am not gay and never have been.

"Still, without a shred of truth or evidence to the contrary, the Statesman has engaged in this witch hunt. In pleading guilty, I overreacted in Minneapolis, because of the stress of the Idaho Statesmanís investigation and the rumors it has fueled around Idaho. Again, that overreaction was a mistake, and I apologize for my misjudgment. Furthermore, I should not have kept this arrest to myself, and should have told my family and friends about it. I wasnít eager to share this failure, but I should have done so anyway.

"I love my wife, family, friends, staff, and Idaho. I love serving Idaho in Congress. Over the years, I have accomplished a lot for Idaho, and I hope Idahoans will allow me to continue to do that. There are still goals I would like to accomplish, and I believe I can still be an effective leader for Idaho. Next month, I will announce, as planned, whether or not I will seek reelection.

"As an elected official, I fully realize that my life is open for public criticism and scrutiny, and I take full responsibility for the mistake in judgment I made in attempting to handle this matter myself.

"It is clear, though, that through my actions I have brought a cloud over Idaho. For that, I ask the people of Idaho for their forgiveness.

"As I mentioned earlier, I have now retained counsel to examine this matter and I will make no further comment."

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The following video is from MSNBC's News Live, broadcast on August 28.