Craig to cop: "I'm a respectable person"

Craig loses a key senator, and "Inside Edition" gets a tape of his argument with police.

Published August 30, 2007 8:25PM (EDT)

If Larry Craig decides to gut it out and run for reelection in 2008 -- a prospect that seems less likely with each passing hour -- it's going to be a little awkward for the National Republican Senatorial Committee to support him: NRSC chairman and Nevada Sen. John Ensign said today that if he were Craig, he'd resign now.

As Craig's political support continues to slip away, you'd think at some point he'd want to find a way to end the personal humiliation part of this thing. The latest indignity: "Inside Edition" posted a recording of Craig's post-arrest conversation with Minneapolis Police Sgt. Dave Karsnia. (Update: you can listen to the audio at the end of this post.)

On the tape, Craig says he doesn't want to go to court and claims that Karsnia "solicited" him. Then he tells his side of the story.

"I go into the bathroom ... I sit down to go to the bathroom. You said our feet bumped, I believe they did, because I reached down and scooted over. And the next thing I knew, under the bathroom divider comes a card that says 'Police.' Now, uh, that's about as far as I can take it ... Your foot came toward mine, mine came toward yours, was that natural? I don't know. Did we bump? Yes, I think we did."

When Karsnia tells Craig he doesn't want to get into a "pissing match" with Craig about what actually happened, the senator responds: "I am not gay; I don't do these kinds of things."

Craig insists that when Karsnia saw his hand come under the stall divider, he was trying to pick up a piece of toilet paper on the ground. Karsnia tells Craig that he's "not being truthful" and that he's "disappointed" in him. Craig tries his story again: "I tend to spread my legs when I lower my pants so they won't slide," he says.

It gets worse from there. Karsnia tells Craig again that he's "disappointed" in him. Craig says, "I don't seek activity in bathrooms." Craig argues with Karsnia's recollections again, and Karsnia says, "You're sitting here lying to us ... I'm just disappointed in you, sir. I just really am. I expect this from the guy we get out of the 'hood. I mean, people vote for you."

"They do," Craig says. "And I'm a respectable person and I don't do these kinds of things."

To listen to the audio, click on the player below:

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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