Sunday, June 20, 2010

Larry Craig

Former Senator Larry Craig graduated from the University of Idaho with a political science degree in 1969. The conservative Republican avoided service in Vietnam by becoming a member of the Idaho National Guard from 1970 to 1972. He was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1980 where, two years later, he took the extraordinary step of volunteering a written denial of involvement in a scandal involving sex between congressmen and underage male pages (he had not been accused). Shortly thereafter Craig married Suzanne Thompson and adopted her three children from a previous marriage. In 1989 it has been reported that Rep. Craig lobbied for harsher consequences for his colleague, Barney Frank, who was caught in a controversy involving a gay prostitute.

As a senator, Craig earned top ratings from conservative organizations such as Concerned Women for America and the Family Research Council for his anti-gay voting record. He also condemned President Clinton in 1999 on Meet the Press over the Monica Lewinsky saga: "The American people already know that Bill Clinton is a bad boy - a naughty boy. I'm going to speak out for the citizens of my state, who in the majority think that Bill Clinton is probably even a nast, bad, naughty boy."

Craig made worldwide headlines in 2007 when it was reported that he had been arrested at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for soliciting sex from an undercover police officer in a men's bathroom stall. Shortly after the "lewd conduct" arrest, the angry senator challenged the charges by claiming he has a "wide stance" and that the police officer misconstrued his other actions in the stall as a solicitation. Before the incident became public, Craig signed a guilty plea and paid a $575 fine. He later attempted to withdraw his plea while he continued to serve out his term (he reneged on an earlier announcement to resign). In October of 2007 a judge refused to vacate the guilty plea.

Despite Craig's August 28, 2007 news conference statement "I am not gay, I never have been gay," others have come forward to claim otherwise. The retired senator is now the head of New West Strategies, a consulting firm.

During part of his senate tenure, Craig was a proud member of  The Singing Senators with John Ashcroft, James Jeffords and Trent Lott.

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