Larry Craig and the GOP contenders

McCain calls for resignation, Brownback says it's premature, Giuliani says ... nothing.

Published August 30, 2007 1:39PM (EDT)

Mitt Romney was the first of the GOP presidential candidates to run away from Larry Craig. He had to; struggling to punch up his conservative bona fides -- and having picked Craig as the co-chairman of his Idaho campaign -- Romney had the most to lose from Craig's taint.

John McCain tiptoed into the fray Tuesday night when he called the Craig case "disgraceful." On Wednesday, McCain jumped in with both feet, joining GOP Sen. Norm Coleman in calling for Craig's resignation.

Other reactions from the 2008 GOP contenders:

Mike Huckabee: In an interview Tuesday with the Christian Broadcasting Network, the former Arkansas governor said it "concerns" him when he sees "public figures who have spoken in one way and maybe acted in a different way. Frankly, Americans will forgive us for being sinners. They won't forgive us for being hypocrites." Campaigning in Iowa Wednesday, Huckabee declined to say whether he thought Craig should resign but said Craig has "a lot of 'splainin' to do."

Sam Brownback: While the Kansas senator said that Craig's explanation for pleading guilty -- he wanted to put it behind him quickly -- "doesn't work in these jobs," he said Wednesday that it's still premature to call for Craig's resignation.

Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani: So far as we can tell, Thompson hasn't said anything in public about Craig's case; he has probably been too busy retooling his not-yet-a-campaign campaign staff again. A spokeswoman for Giuliani confirms thatz "America's Mayor" has remained silent about Craig, too. One reason Giuliani might not have much to say just now: He's stuck with Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, who endorsed Giuliani's White House run a few months before Vitter's name turned up in the phone book of the "D.C. Madam."

By Tim Grieve

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

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2008 Elections Roy Ashburn Rudy Giuliani War Room