Craig Not the First Supporter
To Cause Candidates Headaches
Saying that former Massachusetts Governor MItt Romney went out of his way to "distance" himself from Sen. Larry Craig yesterday would be a understatement. Romney called his former Idaho campaign chairman's behavior "disgusting," leaving little doubt about his feelings on the Idaho Senator's guilty plea on lewd conduct charges stemming from an incident in a men's room in the Minneapolis airport. But it isn't the only endorsement a 2008 candidate has run away from this year.
In June, after South Carolina Treasurer Thomas Ravenel was indicted on federal cocaine charges, Rudy Giuliani's campaign quickly announced its state chairman in South Carolina would be stepping down. And in July, Bob Allen, a Florida state representative who was serving as the co-chairman of McCain's Florida campaign, resigned from that post after being charged with soliciting an undercover male police officer for sex in a public bathroom.
Apart from those departures, however, normally risk-averse presidential candidates have not pushed aside some other potentially controversial supporters. After Louisiana Senator David Vitter, who was a regional chair of Giuliani's campaign in the South, was linked to an escort service in Washington, the former New York Mayor aid "some people disappoint you," but did not immediately distance himself from Vitter as Romney has with Craig.
While Vitter and Giuliani have not recently campaigned together, some of Vitter's appearances with Giuliani
and his praise of the ex-mayor, despite their differences on some key social issues like abortion, remains on the campaign's website.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton sought and won the endorsement of San Fransciso Mayor Gavin Newsom,
who was embroiled in a scandal earlier this year after it was revealed he had an affair with the wife
of the man who had managed his reelection campaign. Clinton appeared in San Francisco earlier this month
to accept Newsom's endorsement.
And Clinton has continued to defend another controversial California mayor with some marital troubles. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa endorsed Clinton in May, then over the next two months split with his wife and admitted an affair with an anchor on Telemundo who had been covering him. In July, Clinton, in a conference call, said she had spoken to Villaraigosa since the affair and said "his work on behalf of the many issues that I care about is very significant, and I will continue to welcome his support." She also named him to a mayors' council her campaign has organized.
--Perry Bacon Jr.
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