Romney Says Craig's
When aides to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney booked him on CNBC's Kudlow & Company Tuesday, it probably wasn't to discuss sexual solicitation in an airport mens room.
But there it was -- the first question for Romney: "What is your comment on the Craig problem, sir?"
"Well, very disappointing," Romney said of Larry Craig, the Idaho senator who was heading up Romney's campaign efforts in that state. That comment echoed the statement from his campaign when Craig's arrest became public yesterday.
Perhaps a segue to a to another topic -- sub prime loans, or currency devaluation? -- would have been a better choice. But Romney was on a roll, according to a transcript provided by CNBC:
"Once again, we've found people in Washington have not lived up to the level of respect and dignity that we would expect for somebody that gets elected to a position of high influence," Romney said. "Very disappointing. He's no longer associated with my campaign, as you can imagine. He resigned just today. And you know, he was one of those who was helping my effort, and I'm sorry to see that he has fallen short."
Romney declined to endorse a call for Craig's resignation, saying he did not have enough information. But he went on to compare the situation to Bill Clinton's White House infidelities and former Rep. Mark Foley's emails with Capitol Hill pages.
"Yeah, I think it reminds us of Mark Foley and Bill Clinton. I think it reminds us of the fact that people who are elected to public office continue to disappoint, and they somehow think that if they vote the right way on issues of significance or they can speak a good game, that we'll just forgive and forget," he said. "And the truth of the matter is, the most important thing we expect from elected--an elected official is a level of dignity and character that we can point to for our kids and our grandkids, and say, `Hey, someday I hope you grow up and you're someone like that person.' And we've seen disappointment in the White House, we've seen it in the Senate, we've seen it in Congress. And frankly, it's disgusting."
And then he continued, egged on by host Larry Kudlow, who asked him to expand on the Clinton-Foley comparison. "I'm not sure I need to," Romney said. "I think we've all heard the story about Bill Clinton and the fact that he let us down in his personal conduct with a--with a White House intern. And that strikes me as another one of these extraordinary acts of falling short of what America would expect of elected officials, particularly one who should be held to a higher standard."
And then a question about Clinton's impeachment and another about the morality of public officials. Still Romney had more to say.
"Well, it does say, in my view, that some people in the public sphere expect that once they've been elected to something, they're prominent, that they're--that they're above the law, that they won't get caught, that people will give them a break, that they--that they somehow can live a different morality," he said. "And the truth of the matter is, if there's a different morality they should live, it should be a high--a higher level of morality. And if they've been involved in any discretion in their life, they should cease that discretion by the time they become elected, and should try and set an example in the way they live, which is consistent with the things they say. And you know, that's hard for everyone. But certainly, expecting people to live a life consistent with the dignity of the office to which they're elected is something which the American people should be able to count on."
--Michael D. Shear
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