Larry Craig's comeback?

A spokesman says the senator may not resign after all.


Tim Grieve
September 5, 2007 5:39AM (UTC)

If Larry Craig pleaded guilty in the Minneapolis men's room incident by mistake -- as he claims he did -- then is it possible that he announced his resignation in error, too?

Maybe it is.

Craig, who said Saturday that it's his "intent to resign from the Senate effective Sept. 30," is apparently having second thoughts. "It's not such a foregone conclusion anymore, that the only thing he could do was resign," Craig spokesman Sidney Smith tells the Associated Press.

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Smith says the "outcome of the legal case" -- that would be the one that's over, at least for now, because Craig pleaded guilty -- and a Senate Ethics Committee investigation will "have an impact on whether we're able to stay in the fight and stay in the Senate."

Would getting Craig's guilty plea undone -- unlikely as that is -- really make a difference in whether he can stay in the Senate? It's not an entirely crazy thought, actually. Asked today to explain why Senate Republicans essentially drummed Craig into resigning while letting admitted sinning-with-a-prostitute Sen. David Vitter keep his seat, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the existence of Craig's guilty plea made all the difference in the world.

By McConnell's logic, then, Craig becomes just another Vitter -- which is to say, an admitted but not convicted criminal -- if the guilty plea he entered in Minnesota somehow disappears.

That said, neither McConnell nor any other Senate Republican can possibly be relishing the thought of Craig's return down the road. Pressed to say more about the Craig case this morning -- back when the stall-intruding senator seemed to be gone for good -- McConnell said: "I think the episode is over. We'll have a new senator from Idaho at some point in the next month or so, and we're going to move on."


Tim Grieve

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

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