Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Another sex scandal?
A police mug shot of Sen. Larry Craig after he was arrested at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport in June.
Senator Larry Craig says he's sorry ... sorry for pleading guilty to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge he says he did not commit.

"At the time of this incident, I complained to the police that they were misconstruing my actions," the Idaho Republican said in a statement. "I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct."

But an undercover cop tells a much different story. The plainclothes officer arrested Craig in an airport bathroom after, he says, the senator tried to engage in lewd conduct. According to the officer's report, "Craig would look down at his hands, fidget with his fingers, and then look through the crack in my stall again."

The report goes on to say, "The presence of others did not seem to deter Craig as he moved his right foot so that it touched the side of my left foot which was within my stall area." When the police interviewed him later, the senator said that "he has a wide stance when going to the bathroom" and that was why his foot may have touched the officer's, the report said. (Read the arrest report)

Craig, who is married with three children and nine grandchildren, has had to answer to allegations he is gay. Always strongly denying it, he calls the stories "completely ridiculous." A lengthy investigation by the Idaho Statesman newspaper chronicles the allegations by unnamed men and the congressman's repeated denials. (Read the Idaho Statesman story)

Sen. Craig is not the first politician to get caught up in a sex scandal. He won't be the last. But for now, his case is making headlines.

If he is gay (and he says he is not), should it matter? And do you feel he needs to resign?

Tell us what you think.

-- By Gabe Falcon, "360" Writer
Posted By CNN: 3:21 PM ET
  28 Comments
I don't think the issue is whether or not Craig is gay. The issue is, was Craig soliciting sex in a public place? If the answer is affirmative then he needs a couch in a psychiatrist office not a seat in the Senate.
Posted By Anonymous : 3:47 PM ET
Does it matter if he's gay? Absolutely not.

Does it matter that he's a hypocrite? Certainly.

When are these politicians going to learn that the American people will forgive almost anything as long as they're honest and upfront?
Posted By BJ, Bangor ME : 3:48 PM ET
A person's sexual orientation doesn't matter until it proves the person a hypocrite, as is the case with Sen. Craig who has been publicly anti-gay. How is it right to discriminate against a group that you secretly associate with?
Posted By Nic, Lake Mary, FL : 3:49 PM ET
Dear Mr. Falcon,

When I first heard the story of the allegations against Mr. Craig I was under the impression that he was actually caught in the act of doing something truly illegal or antisocial.

Now that I read your article (and if it is entirely accurate)I would say that this smacks of misuse of an officer's time and talents, and overly sensitive personal issues on the part of the officer, as well as self flattery.

I am not one to side with the Republicans on many things, but in my opinion, if this is all the officer has, not only should the case be readjudicated, but the judge who agreed to it should be removed from the bench and the Prosecuting attorney should be disbarred, since this is an obvious example of 'they should have known better', and have wasted the courts time.

What strikes me, is how thuroughly the officer noted Sen. Craig's hand movements right down to the fingertips, as if he really needed to be that thorough in his observations.

Last I heard, being gay really isn't a crime; no matter how badly the senator and others might wish it were. I don't think he [Sen. Craig]needs to resign; I think he deserves an apology.
Posted By James Foley Kamiah, Idaho : 4:26 PM ET
I can't say I blame Sen. Craig for trying to get a little action, that cop is adorable.

If the senator is gay or bi, his hypocrisy toward gay issues is a bit upsetting, but understandable considering the homophobic base of the political party that he needs to pander to. And I can't help but feel a little pity for him since he can't admit who he really is without facing a harsh backlash.

No one was harmed and he admitted his guilt to a court of law. He doesn't need to resign. The fine and the public humiliation are more than enough punishment.
Posted By Michelle, St. Paul, MN : 4:26 PM ET
Being gay should never be a factor to leave or fire somebody at work. There is nothing wrong with being gay. However, if the senator sexually assaulted an individual, then he should be punished. That's wrongful conduct and not an act that should be done by any public officials or people.

Camille
San Diego, CA
Posted By Anonymous : 4:33 PM ET
The number of Iraqi refugees hits 4.2 million and we're reading about some poor guy in a toilet looking for sex?

hello?
Posted By Alana : 4:52 PM ET
After reading the police report further I also notice that much of the observations he [the officer]makes are incredibly minor to say the least, and he doesn't elude to how he gained such observational experience, whether as a casual observer or as a participator. Which begs the question; where do they come up with this stuff?!

I noticed as well that entirely natural reactions to being harrassed by an officer and being falsely accused of something; feeling insulted, put out, and like the officer is being overly sensitive and creating a story where none exists, held against your will, wasting your time, instigating an arguement if not a downright conflict (belligerent)where therre is none and no cause for genuine concern, are taken entirely out of context, and being spun to make the suspect seem evasive or like a loose cannon.

Is this what our officers have been reduced to; having nothing better to do than to make up crimes when none actually exist? The case of the young kid drawing a gun in class and getting suspended for it comes to mind.
Posted By James Foley Kamiah, Idaho : 4:55 PM ET
Yes! and not because he is gay or not, but because he is a hypocrite.
Posted By Anonymous : 5:05 PM ET
Has anyone ever done a study to determine the percentage of criminals in the US Congress compared to the general population?
Posted By Alan Hoal, Raleigh N.C. : 5:15 PM ET
Oh the horrors, a gay Republican Senator...I guess the world will stop revolving. Let's put this in perspective. Bill Jefferson, a Democrat, reached new levels of disparity in Congress, totally shamed the state of Louisiana yet again, and will probably come out of his disaster area smelling like that proverbial rose. Sen. Craig, a Republican, played a cop in a public bathroom to get his thrills, and the world is all abuzz. How about starting a new tradition in American politics that any illegal activity will cause the loss of your office and lifetime benefits regardless of the crime, your party affiliaton, or who you know? Being gay or not being gay isn't the issue (unless you're a holier than thou homophobe). Blatantly breaking the law without consequences while in public office is. Maybe one day honesty and selfless servitude will make a comeback in politics.
Posted By Tammy C., Berwick, LA : 5:21 PM ET
On Larry King last night and replayed this morning, Dr. Drew Pinski claimed that what was going in the restroom was obvious. Obvious how?

It seems obvious to me that what was going on was what the Sen. was saying happened. It seems obvious to me that the officer made a mistake and then rolled with it, possibly spurred on by what he felt was a threat to his authority by the Senator when he produced his Senators card.

It should also be noted that an officer doesn't have to be subject to some Psychologists label [i.e. megalomaniac or what not]to be prone to making a mistake. I'm far more concerned that officers are no longer able to admit either to themselves or to the public that that may very well be what happened.

That being said, I wonder how many times an officer has made a mistake, and then discovered himself that he may have made a mistake and then clung to that mistake in an effort to somehow make that mistake valid. George Bush's WMD's come to mind here.

What bothers me is that a man like Dr. Drew Pinski only speaks from the standpoint that the Sen. is in fact gay, rather than he may have been unjustly vilified by those who don't like his policies.

Personally, I despise his policies against gays, not because he may be a self loather, which he may very well be, but because it is entirely counter intuitive. That doesn't mean I am going to jump the gun and try to diagnose him without having the professional opportunitty to study his case and his actions. Dr. Drew and the rest of the public should take a clue from that, and reserve judgement.

Then there's the other side of it. If people can't wrap their heads around the idea that the officer is just as prone to making a mistakle as anyone else, then consider the possibility that the Senator may very well be telling the truth; he did make a mistake and is now suffering something similar to buyers remorse. A decision made on impulse rather than determined thought.
Posted By James Foley Kamiah, Idaho : 11:21 AM ET
i'm really torn here. I'm gay, and aware of this (tragic) type of cruising behaviour, and do not condone it. But Senator Craig is obviously a creep, with a well documented anti-gay agenda, and honestly, if I were reading about John Q. Public who was caught in a bathroom sting, I might be annoyed, wonder why the cops were wasting the man-power etc., but the fact that it was THIS GUY who was arrested actually works for me.
Posted By Anonymous : 11:25 AM ET
Craig admits guilt and once the story is out, recants everything. He was just assuming a wider stance. What amazes me is how these esteemed Members of Congress insult the collective intelligence of the American people with a straight face. This whole incident is pathetic.
Posted By Jim : 11:27 AM ET
Here's a question for ya on the matter: Is it possible that you, a fairly liberal news agency, are not fully looking at all angles because YOU are against his policies? Is it possible that you emphasize the Drew Pinski angle because, subconsciously, that suits your own preconceptions?

Just askin'. Now THAT would be a news story; a keeping them honest segment on your own broadcasts.
Posted By James Foley Kamiah, Idaho : 11:30 AM ET
People, read the actual article and read about the "Gay Cruising" phenomenon.

This is a gay tradition of going to public bathroom and having sex there,and the police are trying to put an end to that.

Saying that police should not waste time on this, it's ridiculus. Some children use those bathrooms. The law is the law, and should be obeyed small matter or not.

As to the Senator, He already pleaded guilty for soliciting sex by his own admission. so, the cop was right.

the only question is, do the cop get training about these activities?
Posted By Anonymous : 11:42 AM ET
I agree 100% with those who have said that it matters because, if true, he is a hypocrite. I don't normally care to see this sort of thing get reported on. But when a person in power like this attempts to legislate the morality of everyone, then their own morality is fair game for public consumption. What offends me more than anything else is the old maxim, "Do what I say, not as I do.". If you're going to represent yourself as a pillar of virtue and morality, and try to tell others how to live, then you had better make sure your own house is in order. The stakes are too high in terms of individual freedom and privacy to allow for double standards. The Senator has found this out the hard way. Had he not been so anti-gay and "morally superior", then I really wouldn't care about this. I expect any human being to be less than perfect. That nobody is perfect makes legislating morality kind of risky for those who build their fame on fortune on it.
Posted By Jason Cisco, St. Louis, MO : 11:48 AM ET
I guess I better make sure the next time I'm flying through the Twin Cities to make sure I turn off the old IPOD before I hit the stalls, Would hate to be in there tapping my toes to the latest tune I just heard at the local Box Social, or whatever you kids call it nowadays. Stewie
Posted By Anonymous : 12:07 PM ET
This statement posted by Anonymous is the EXACT reason I worry about the direction this is going to and coming from,
"This is a gay tradition of going to public bathroom and having sex there,and the police are trying to put an end to that."

You're absolutely correct Anonymous, this IS a well publicized occurance; so, anyone can make that claim. That's the problem, these so-called 'indicators' are subject to interpretation.

If we take an example of another crime with indicators [drunk in public for instance] we can see how things can play out. What are the signs? Bloodshot watery eyes, slurred speech, strong odor of alcohol on the breath; bloodshot watery eyes~ fatigue, long hours without sleep, exhaustion, sun burn, late night; slurred speech~ something in the mouth, speech impediment, injury; Strong odor of alcohol on breath~ this is probably the most and least damning all at the same time. The problem comes in when there is no evidence to back that up.

But, hey, if an officer makes the claim, well, we shouldn't ever question that right? Even though there ARE tests that determine that. In the case of your average citizens arrest, the average citizen does not have that equipment, but in the case of trained officers the equipment is certainly available.

So, you'll pardon me if I don't just up and jump on the band wagon. Wasn't it one of the founding principles of our forefathers to question authority? Both it's legitimacy, and it's justifications?
Posted By James Foley Kamiah, Idaho : 12:48 PM ET
If the man is gay, that in itself is not an issue. The behavior is appalling and calls back to a time when gays felt compelled to engage in such risky acts because everyone was "on the down-low" back then.
(For the record, I am a gay man, and the behavior described in the police report is classic "tea room" cruising behavior that didn't abate until the 80's. No one runs their hands back-and-forth along the bottom edge of a bathroom stall unless they're looking for action. He wasn't dusting, let me tell you!)

However, if the man is gay, he's not only behaving badly, he's a horrible hypocrite. He's voted against gay civil rights (and don't be fooled - they are civil rights) and has been an outspoken opponent and critic of homosexuals and homosexuality.

If the man is gay, it's only a matter of time now (and I mean weeks) before someone comes forth with proof. We aren't letting the hypocrites off the hook nearly as often these days.

He should not resign if he is gay. But he should resign for being a hypocrite.
Posted By Anonymous : 12:49 PM ET
to the guy from Idaho who keeps defending this guy - how many times have you rubbed footsies with the guy in the next stall by accident? How many times have you stuck your hand under a bathroom stall without indicating you need so toilet paper? How many times have you leered into the next stall where the occupant could describe the color of your eyes? Geez give it a break..
Posted By Anonymous : 1:34 PM ET
Poor guy got caught trying to get some. He's humiliated now and everybody sees who he really is. Let's move on to an important topic.
Posted By Anonymous : 1:37 PM ET
I think it does not matter if he is gay, but soliciting sex and in a public place is an issue and I think he should resign because of the action of soliciting sex is illegal. Also I think our sociaty needs to become accepting of gays, and not illegal behavior. Gays should be able to run for offices. A lot of people are in the closet because they are afraid of been rejected and not available to work in office.
Posted By Anonymous : 1:39 PM ET
"Here's a question for ya on the matter: Is it possible that you, a fairly liberal news agency, are not fully looking at all angles because YOU are against his policies? Is it possible that you emphasize the Drew Pinski angle because, subconsciously, that suits your own preconceptions?"
--------------------------------------------

CNN, A LIBERAL NEWS AGENCY...LOL YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING.
Posted By Anonymous : 2:00 PM ET
It doesn't matter whether or not he's gay. It also (contrary to the loudly screeched beliefs of the 29%) doesn't matter that he's a Republican.

It matters that he's a two-faced liar and a criminal, yet holding public office.

End of story.
Posted By Rebecca, Philadelphia : 2:10 PM ET
Interesting that those who try to legislate morality are now being toasted by their own flame.

Awesome, no?

Bill Clinton looks like a boy scout compared to the Bush administration. Great work guys!
Posted By Terri G, NYC : 3:40 PM ET
Dear AC360 and readers,
A lot of people seem to be commenting on the obviousness of what was going on in that stall, even thought they were not there, but if people were to look at this objectively, the only reason many are seeing this as obvious, is because two people strongly suggest it is obvious; the officer, and Dr. Pinski.

However, if you place yourselves in the senator's stall, you will come to realize that the senator's tale is equally as valid. His side of the story is no more odd, than an officer actually thinking he's got a sure fire way to show that his Gay-dar is working properly.

And CNN can certainly defend itself. Personally, I don't like seeing any man kicked when he's down. Except maybe george Bush, but that's only because he keeps talking a bunch of BS from the gutter.
Posted By James Foley Kamiah, Idaho : 3:33 PM ET
I find it interesting that it is the Republican Party wanting Sen. Craig to resign. What about the people of Idaho-the very ones he represents? If the people are not calling for his resignation, then who are they to demand such actions? Shouldn't he only have his state to answer to?
Posted By Kim L. Smithville, TN : 11:41 AM ET
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