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Romney calls Craig's alleged behavior 'disgraceful'

  • Story Highlights
  • Mitt Romney distances himself from Idaho Republican Sen. Larry Craig
  • Craig caught in sex sting in Minneapolis airport bathroom
  • Former Massachusetts governor does not call for Craig's resignation
  • Romney defends abortion stance, saying it's the same as President Bush's
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- White House hopeful Mitt Romney said Thursday Idaho Sen. Larry Craig's alleged behavior was "disgraceful," but the Massachusetts Republican stopped short of calling for his one-time Senate supporter to resign.

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Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney defended his anti-abortion position Thursday.

"I think at this stage, the right course is for him to make this decision looking at his own conscience, talking to the people of Idaho, talking to his colleagues in the Senate," Romney told CNN's John King in South Carolina. "I'm not one of those. I'm going to let him make that decision."

Craig stepped down from his post as one of Romney's Senate liaisons Monday night -- shortly after news surfaced he was arrested in an airport bathroom and pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.

Romney's GOP presidential rival, Sen, John McCain, said Wednesday he thinks Craig should step down. Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Michigan, and Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minnesota, have also called on Craig to resign. Video Watch Romney distance himself from Craig »

In the wide-ranging interview, Romney defended his position on abortion, saying it's the "same position as President Bush."

"If they look back on President Bush's comments, he had the same view, which is, it's an aspiration to have an America that is free of abortion, but that's not where we are. Where we are is to allow states to make that choice and representatives to make that choice," he said

He also said the health of his campaign is strong, but conceded he has "a long way to go."

"I've focused on the early states first -- Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina -- and I'm making progress, but I'm going to have to keep on battling," he said. "Ultimately I think what's happening is that people who hear my message of strengthening America are warming to that message."

But Romney, who has donated nearly $8 million of his personal wealth to his White House bid, wouldn't say how much more he planned to give.

"That's a closely held secret," he said, laughing.

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In the latest CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll conducted August 6-8, Romney trailed former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Sen. Fred Thompson, who has yet to officially enter the race, and McCain.

The margin of error for the poll was plus-or-minus 5 percentage points. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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