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The Narrow Stall at the Heart of Craig's Widening Legal Fight

MINNEAPOLIS -- Let's say this much for the infamous restroom in the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport: It's got some pretty narrow stalls, barely 32 inches wide.

Capitol Briefing -- on the scene for Wednesday's hearing on Sen. Larry Craig's (R-Idaho) bid to withdraw his guilty plea for disorderly conduct in the airport restroom -- paid a visit Tuesday night to the men's restroom in the North Star Crossing section of the airport. For the sake of argument, this blog took measure, literally, of the stall where Craig was arrested in a sex sting by an undercover officer on June 11. The goal was to determine if there is any plausibility to Craig's version of events on that fateful day that has left his 27-year career in Congress in tatters.

Craig's contends he is "not gay," that he accidentally bumped the foot of the officer in the stall next to him because he is a "wide guy," taking a wide stance to keep his pants from falling down. He said he didn't swipe his palm under the stall, but instead bent over to pick up a piece of toilet paper on the floor.

Using an Office Depot measuring tape, the stalls in that restroom are a little more than 32 inches wide. That happens to be more than 3 inches narrower than the stalls in Dulles International Airport, where wide stances are apparently more welcome. Even more coincidental, what did Capitol Briefing discover at 8:20 p.m. CDT last night in the stall where Craig's career essentially ended two-and-a-half months ago? Toilet paper, three different shreds of toilet paper scattered around the stall just waiting for some neat freak to come along and scoop them up. (To be sure, the "TP" stayed on the ground while I was there, but it was possible to envision me -- 5 feet, 9 inches tall -- accidentally stretching my right foot into what we'll call the neutral territory under the narrow stalls. Craig is several inches taller than me, with, presumably, a slightly wider stance.)

The prosecutor for the Metropolitan Airports Commission is forcefully defending the guilty plea. The prosecutor argued in a motion this week that Craig was well aware of the activity he was engaging in -- a series of gestures allegedly meant to bring about a sexual encounter inside the stalls. Thus Craig's guilty plea to a lesser misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.

The most striking thing about the restroom is that it sits in the busiest section of the airport, with all sorts of stores and restaurants and benches nearby for resting travelers. It's become something of a tourist spot for politically aware travelers, partly because it's so accessible. One woman last night pleaded with a TSA officer to pose in front of the men's room sign to take his picture.

In a damaging point to the senator's purported version of what happened on June 11, Craig told his arresting officer that he "regularly" used that particular restroom. It was a known spot for gay sexual encounters, according to airport officials, who discovered that restroom was being talked about in online bulletin board postings for men searching for sexual encounters. A summer-long sting on the restroom netted at least 40 arrests for lewd or disorderly conduct.

It's unclear why Craig was a regular at that restroom. As Al Kamen previously pointed out in his In the Loop column, Craig's flights from Idaho regularly came in at gates G14-G16, with Northwest Airlines flights for Washington leaving on the other side of the airport. Craig usually passed by four other restrooms on his way to the North Star Crossing restroom -- including one sitting right at the gates he usually arrived at, literally a hundred or so feet from the gate.

And in his motion to withdraw his guilty plea filed earlier this month, Craig said that as he entered the restroom he was "anxious" about missing his connecting flight. This seems completely implausible, as the earliest connecting flight Craig could have caught was at 1:05 pm CDT.

Craig entered the restroom at 12:13 p.m., half an hour before boarding. How long does it take to walk from the restroom to the C gates where flights to D.C. depart? It took this writer Less than five minutes at a leisurely pace using the walkways.

A local judge in the Hennepin County District Court in Edina, just south of Minneapolis, will try to sort this all out this afternoon, with Craig hoping for a decision by the end of this week. If the plea is upheld, he has said he will retire from the Senate, effective Sunday. Stay tuned to Capitol Briefing later in the day for updates, as well as any news later in the week.

By Paul Kane  |  September 26, 2007; 8:38 AM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Comments

I love it! Finally, real investigative journalism on this story.

Seriously, great piece!

Posted by: Jayne | September 26, 2007 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Who, in their right mind, picks up dirty toilet paper off a dirty floor in a public restroom. Oh, I forgot. We're talking about a Christian extremist, gay-bashing Republican Senator.

Posted by: Roy | September 26, 2007 9:18 AM | Report abuse

You know, every time I read about the infamous toilet, I just start to laugh.

I'm a DC Expat who lives in a Twin Cities exurb these days, so my husband and I do a lot of flying out of that airport.

Because my husband is a business traveler, he is a member of NW's World Club (there are actually two of these facilities at this airport, the one in C is far swankier than the one at the top of F/G).

Now I'm not sure what it's like in the Men's rooms in the C-terminal World Club, but in the Ladies' Room the stalls are super sized. You could easily bring/maneuver a full sized rolling suitcase into the stall with you and not be cramped. And the facilities are wonderfully clean - no TP on the floor with the dedicated World Club staff to do their constant cleaning rounds.

Now I'm guessing someone with that level of importance and who is a frequent traveler is also a member of this club. So if he had such an innocent "wide stance" and was departing out of C terminal, why on earth didn't he more regularly use the World Club? Had to be far more comfortable. God knows they are nicer bathrooms than anywhere in the Lindburgh Terminal.

As for his sexuality - whatever. But come up with a better story as to why you might like to use a particular restroom, please. ;)

Posted by: Chasmosaur | September 26, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

The Singing Senators' man in the can, Republican Senator Larry E. Craig is a follower of the David Vitter School of Servicing the Public- but at least Craig didn't have to pay for it!
Vitter's wife has vowed to castrate the worm but Senator David Vitter (R) continues to soil the US Senate.
Craig pleasured the Gun Perverts of America and even serves on The Board of Directors of the National Gun-pervert Association.
Bushy Bob Allen (Republican, Florida) is not only another RPOF backroom insider, he is also another Florida Republican who did it like they do on the Discovery Channel and Bushie Republican Senator Larry E. Craig certainly fits tightly in Bush's loyal family. But Senator Vitter was in bed with the Singing Senators in humping the American people and he continues to stand behind Singing Senator Trent Lott in the Senate and push his pork through as hard as he can.

Posted by: Singing Senator | September 26, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

"It's unclear why Craig was a regular at that restroom."

No it's not. Larry Craig was trolling for a hookup--how much more clear can it be? The question that the blogger should address is whether or not Craig's behavior was consistent with a guy looking for, um, some "action." Did he follow the accepted protocol, as it were? If so, then his claims that he was set up or that his actions were misinterpreted ring false.

Posted by: castanea | September 26, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Jayne writes
"I love it! Finally, real investigative journalism on this story."


In that vein, given that the arrest report presumably includes the date and time of the wide stance, do we know what time his connecting flight was departing?

Posted by: bsimon | September 26, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Will the Democrats fill a "Friend of the Court" brief on behalf of Larry Craig today?

Posted by: afam212 | September 26, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for uncovering the glory holes in the Senator's story.

Posted by: Harry Craig | September 26, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I did not have sex with that man!

I wanted to, but he arrested me first.

Posted by: Sen. Larry "Wide Stance" Craig, R-Uranus | September 26, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I do applaud a more critical look at the facts here. Sadly, I think it's pretty obvious what the Congressman was doing. He displayed a series of signals designed to be ambigious unless one is privvy to what they mean. He's trying to claim the "get out of jail free" card (no pun intended) but his attempts seem unsuccessful, at best.

On the other hand, as a gay person, I'm interested in Craig's declarations about his sexuality. It seems as if he's been bathroom cruising for a long time; I extend sympathy to his family, most of all (adultery is embarrassing -- straight, gay, bisexual or other). It's a shame that in 2007 sexuality remains so stigmatized that it is reduced to the confines of a (narrow) bathroom stall.

Posted by: Richael | September 26, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me if this question is crude, but are the stalls then used a a place to have sex, or do they get up and out of the restroom and find a different place? I mean, wouldn't people *notice* two sets of feet in a stall?

Posted by: boyds | September 26, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

I hope Sen. Craig enjoys his encounter today with Minnesota's stiff penal code.

Posted by: Larry "Glory Hole Troll" Craig | September 26, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Is the problem with Senator Craig an issue related to his sexuality or did he vote the wrong way on some bill favored by Republican insiders? The whole object of the game is to find each politician's weakness (remember Bill Clinton) and to exploit that weakness when he or she falls out of favor over some political issue. This practice has been going on in Washington, D.C. for decades. It is hard to believe that the powers that be were not aware of Senator Craig's sexuality. Truth be told (a favorite expression used by my grandmother)the bigwigs know all about the senator's public and private life.

Posted by: IJThomas | September 26, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

hey boyds, thanks for asking a great question. People like Craig use the time-honored "paper bag" trick. The peformee stands in the paper bag, while the performer performs the act. Voila -- one set of feet and fun for all!

Posted by: bathroom gay sex expert | September 26, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Paper bag trick! Ha! Wow. I now know WAY more than I need to about anonymous gay sex. Too bad I'm both female and straight and will never get to apply this useful knowledge.

Posted by: h3 | September 26, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

As a gay man, let me set the record not-so-straight.

The actions Craig is accused of are textbook gay public sex cruising techniques. Specifically, even the order in which they were done is classic technique.

It's not exactly a secret - even though most gay men do not cruise toilets we all know the procedure, if for no other reason because it's just common knowledge in the gay world.

The key is that the other participant has to know what's going on. Hence the particular order (the obvious looking in the stall, then the foot tapping, then the more aggressive hand under the stall). It gives the other person a chance to respond if interested.

To answer the other question, there are those that 'flirt' in the bathroom then go somewhere private for sex. And then there are those that do it all in the bathroom or some other close by public space.

I do question the legal basis for his arrest, in that he never sexually touched the officer. He was engaging in known flirtatious actions, seeking sex. But it required the officer to respond in kind and/or not object.

To me, that's real close to entrapment.

I'm not saying sex in toilets is acceptable. Absolutely not. But far too often in conservative areas the only chance for gay sex is through such public but clandestine hookups. IF the participants were not obnoxious, forcing their attentions on others who did not show interest in return, and if they took it elsewhere after the flirtation, then I don't see why that's a crime. But if they annoyed uninterested people or had public sex, then an arrest is appropriate.

Either way, Craig is lying when he says he wasn't cruising for sex.

Posted by: Hillman | September 26, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

It's too bad that people that publicly abhor homosexuality have to fill their homosexual leanings in this way. If homosexuality was acceptable in our society as another perfectly OK sexual orientation, all this secretive stuff wouldn't have to happen. Of course, Craig is married and his wife probably would not want him having sex with men or other women. How do people live with themselves when they publicly oppose rights for homosexuals and yet know that they are one in their secret selves. Cognitive dissonance must be hard to live with.

Posted by: sammy | September 26, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

What's the matter Larry? Can't get into Heaven with a sex crime on your record?

Posted by: Richard | September 26, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

..if it looks like a duck ..if it walks like a duck ....if it quacks like a duck ...... its a _ _ _ _ .

Posted by: eSPO | September 26, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I want to assure all readers that when I was born into this world I was imbued with all knowledge about restroom sex, bustling, sadomasochistic acts, and fine cooking. It's simply in my genes, along with the attraction to another Gay man, including the Rep Craig I met at a DC theatre back in the 80s in DC.

Senator Craig pleaded that he is not Gay. That is likely true, somehow the smuttiness of homosexuals got scrambled into his puritan genes. Besides, Gay men don't pander for peepee in private, then torment their own people through oppressive legislation.

Posted by: bigolpoofter | September 26, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

If Judge Porter allows this old experienced law maker to withdraw his guilty plea, I'll be a monkey's uncle. In Craig we have one of the best examples of a prevaricating politician who says what he thinks must be said to get what he wants. In the case at hand, he said he'd plead guilty to the minor charge if the nature of his deeds did not come to light. He misjudged what the record of his arrest would show and thus he made political mistake in pleading guilty. It is the height of hypocrisy to think this man pleaded guilty under external pressure from aggressive law enforcement. He made a political calculation. He was not an innocent and naive babe in the woods, but an experienced and careful speaker who, when caught with his pants down, so to speak, made a tactical error. The admission of guilt took place over several hours and Craig had ample time to consider his position and consult his lawyers, but chose not to. It is no excuse to say that simply because Craig was embarrassed and flummoxed he should be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea. Clearly his knowledge of law and access to representation should trump any argument that he was not in his right mind.

Posted by: bruce | September 26, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse


Is Rob Corddrey still staking out there?

Posted by: funkspiel | September 26, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Rob Corddry

Posted by: funkspiel | September 26, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm really impressed with the thoughtful comments to this article. I'm also impressed with the paper bag trick. I'm gay and not into bathroom sex. If I were though, I'd get off on just being clever enough to pull that off. (pun partially intended)

Posted by: Mike | September 26, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Yesterday I learned that this type of behavior never happens at the Tehran airport

Posted by: DGF | September 26, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Good article and my sincere sympathy to the great State of Idaho. This man has to be one of the lowest life forms on the planet. Heres hope to a perjury charge before it is all over and he shares a cell with Warren Jeffs.

Posted by: Simply Amazed | September 26, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

It is like the "wide stance" that the GOP is taking on global warming and climate change -- they just want to fill their pockets with some more cash before the woes set in for the next generation. Real patriotic.

Posted by: frank burns | September 26, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

To all those who are assuming that the man is gay and there is no way he might be telling the truth, I ask you for evidence.

His own hometown paper spent 10 months and a lot of money to investigate and essentially decimated all the old rumors. They were left with one anonymous source that even they pegged as not credible.

The most telling thing for me is that after a month of frenzied media coverage not one single man has come forward to claim to have had a sexual relationship with the Senator.

This is even more startling when you remember that there is a $1 million check rom Larry Flynt for anyone with a story about sex with a married Republican House member or Senator.

So where is the evidence? Where are the men doing TV interviews claiming they did something with this guy?

Posted by: John Sinot | September 26, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

"Where are the men doing TV interviews claiming they did something with this guy?"

Uh, probably home with their clueless wives and kids, like "Wide Stance" Craig.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | September 26, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Hillman said:
"It's not exactly a secret - even though most gay men do not cruise toilets we all know the procedure, if for no other reason because it's just common knowledge in the gay world."

I hope he was being sarcastic. I'm gay, I've never cruised for sex in a public place and I have no idea the procedures for going about such public cruising. These are far from common knowlege in the gay world.

Posted by: Stenar | September 26, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

For a minute, let's try another analysis.

Is it possible for a person to do that which he knows (or believes or says) is not right to do? If "yes" and he does it, then he is a hypocrite and/or a liar. Or, perhaps, a sinner.

Does his hypocrisy (or deceit or sin) make the wrong act right? No.

There seems to be a certain glee enjoyed in seeing a hypocrite/liar get caught in the deceit.

To me, the question is: If he did what he is accused of doing (and, his explanation sure seems implausible to me), should he be a congressman?

At 11:15 p.m. on July 18, 1969, Teddy Kennedy told people he was taking Mary Jo Kopeckne to catch the ferry (that left at midnight). But, he took her parking on a dirt road. Roughly and hour and a half later, and nowhere near the ferry, a police office noticed the parked car. When he started walking up to the car, Kennedy backed away and took off. This drunk, lying, womanizer then later drove off into water and drowned that girl. Yet, he remains in the Senate.

So, if hypocrisy about supposed moral issues and lying about criminalized conduct should result in a bar to being a legislator, let's run all those rats out.

Posted by: Let's not be hypocrits either | September 26, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

If Sen. Craig gets his chance to change his plea to not-guilty, I hope attention is paid to the other boys in the Genarlow Wilson case, who pled guilty with the understanding of receiving a reduced sentence for having consenting oral sex with their girlfriends(they all were underage). Each one got 10 years. Mr Wilson pled not-guilty, has been in prison for over 920 days and the DA in that case re-filed the charges after the State legislature passed a new law making the consentual acts a misdemeanor when you are only 1-2 years apart in age. The judge in the other boys' case (I don't know their names) refused to allow them to change their plea to not-guilty (alot like Sen. Craig situation). So IF the judge in Craig's case does allow the reversal of his plea, then those boys deserve the same treatment. Especially since the laws in their state make it only a misdemeanor.

Posted by: John | September 26, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

What would someone who's had sex in a bathroom with Sen. Craig have to gain from coming forward? Give me a break. I don't know if the guy's gay, but he admitted guilt when accused of trying to hook up some gay sex, so that's pretty much all I need to know right there.

Posted by: Chris Jomama | September 26, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

A standard commode tank is 21" wide. Adding 5 inches to the outside of each side of that tank would only consitute 31" total. Of course the Senator may have been skewed to the right and taken more inches there than to the left. That might be expected. As for reaching down to tidy up the bowl area for the next person, isn't that stretching it? Oh, did you clean that Office Depot measuring tape before you took it home, much less put it in your pocket?

Posted by: 1@ax | September 26, 2007 5:14 PM | Report abuse

I didn't want my career of public service to end and I was afraid of getting caught in a bathroom stall. So, we went for a drive. Boy, am I lucky!

Posted by: Ted Kennedy | September 26, 2007 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Yes-unfortunately I'm from the great state of Idaho. And yes, Larry Craig is my senator. Oye! What do we do now? He's a good senator and has done a lot for us. All except the part where he's trolling for some action from the other side of the fence. A while back, I used to be a cop and even retired from it. When someone pleads guilty, a judge runs them through the drills making sure they know what they are losing when they plead guilty. Things like a trial, confronting witnesses, having a jury, etc. You notice that Craig didn't have any heartburn with this whole drama UNTIL the rest of the country found out about it. Innocent people aren't intimidated by so-called trumped up charges. They are innocent and know it and they don't care what fall-out it causes. Guilty people just want to get it over with and slide back into the mainstream. I have no doubts about Craig's guilt. And because he's lying to the whole country to save his (fore)skin, he's not doing his state any good right now. He needs to go.

Posted by: Idahonian Ron | September 26, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Great debate tactic: When in doubt, change the subject.

Senator Craig was obviously trolling for gay sex. He had 90+ days to change his plea before his guilty plea became a national news story and yet didn't.

How can we possible answer this charge? Yell "CHAPPAQUIDDICK!"

Just so we're clear on how this works--some serious matter in which a senator was legally absolved but never even close to swept under the rug from 38 years ago somehow gets Senator Craig off the hook?

Sounds good! What can we get for Laura Bush's vehicular manslaughter?

Posted by: Yawn | September 26, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

I too am very impressed with the quality of comments on this article as well as the article itself. Too many times nowadays I read a news article or blog only to find it is the same info regurgitated again with a few new words set in here and there. And then the comments make the readers seem like brain dead fourth graders with turrets. I usually can only read a few before I'm disgusted and move on to the next regurgitation.

Kudos to both Paul Kane for actually doing some investigating of his own and to the other readers who commented for making their comments more interesting and insightful than "He's f***ing stupid."

Have a nice day! :)

Posted by: Megan | September 26, 2007 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Re to Ron:

Ron: "Who, in their right mind, picks up dirty toilet paper off a dirty floor in a public restroom. Oh, I forgot. We're talking about a Christian extremist, gay-bashing Republican Senator."

Posted by: Roy | September 26, 2007 09:18 AM

Let me ask you a question Ron. Who in their right mind makes non-analogous, bigoted statements like the one noted above? Oh, I forgot. We're talking about an atheist, leftist, ill-educated Democrat who doesn't know how to put question marks at the end of sentences.

Posted by: Craig | September 26, 2007 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone else noticed that the quickest route between Boise and DC would not be through Minneapolis? Do a quick search, and sort by trip length. The first 15 results are all flights with connections in either Denver or Salt Lake City. He WANTED to go to MSP.

Posted by: matt | September 26, 2007 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Another Folley. Get this pervert OUTTA there. EXPOSE right-wingers for who they really are. HYPOCRITES!!!

Posted by: Joe in CA | September 26, 2007 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see someone finally investigating the news instead of just reading it to others. As for Craig and the rest of his clan in Washington.....is there anyone in Congress that deserves any respect at all? These are people who couldn't get a real job and if they did they couldn't keep it. The sad part is that "we" elected them. How bad does it have to get before we've had enough?

Posted by: Gary | September 26, 2007 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Re: Frank Burns

Frank Burns: It is like the "wide stance" that the GOP is taking on global warming and climate change -- they just want to fill their pockets with some more cash before the woes set in for the next generation. Real patriotic.

Posted by: frank burns | September 26, 2007 04:28 PM

For your info, Frank, the Democrats made so-called "Global Warming" a political issue, not Republicans. Should such questionable science actually be true (in that man causes increased global temperatures - which have been proven to be cyclical by the way, but I suppose you'd have to actually look back further than 30 years to conduct real studies), what are the 535 members of Congress supposed to do about it? Tell me one proactive thing a Democrat has done to improve our planet, and then perhaps your nonsensical statement may have some merit. All Democrats do is present alleged problems, yet they never seem to take a proactive stance to solve them.

In terms of "filling their pockets..." ha! Are you that gullible that you don't think Gore is raking in millions amidst his cry that the sky is falling?!?

Also, why are Democrats so obsessed with GOP "fat cats" making money? For one, go to opensecrets.org and see just how many major corporations contribute loads of money to the DNC or at a minimum, both parties. Based on the assumption that you are a naive Democrat that "hates corporations," let me ask, do you really? Are you self-employed or do you work for a corporation? If you are the former, you should certainly appreciate the lower taxes that Republicans require of you. If you are the latter, stand up for your noble cause, quit your job, don't line your pockets, and don't provide for your family. If profiting is bad and taxation is good, live up to your insanity and send the government a big check so you can pay a voluntary high tax since you feel that you are cheating your nation by not paying enough. I'm sure that money will go to good use ensuring that industries crumble and the environment thrives (as if you or anyone can make a diffenence anyway).

Idiot!

Posted by: Craig | September 26, 2007 6:14 PM | Report abuse

And Craig, DON'T weasel out of the subject.

Feeling "insulted" and pointing out grammatical mistakes are such worn-out subject-changing techniques.

You don't even attempt to answer this man's question, just scoff at why you shouldn't have to answer it. Nice try.

Only the guilty feel insulted at simple questions. The innocent can come forth freely because truth is on their side.

Posted by: Joe in CA | September 26, 2007 6:19 PM | Report abuse

"Tell me one proactive thing a Democrat has done to improve our planet, and then perhaps your nonsensical statement may have some merit."

Well. At least they don't declare war on other countries pre-emptively, carpet bombing them on false pretences that we're interested in findnig weapons of mass destruction.

Not trying to merit the Dems either. They're in the house, yet, they're these spineless worms it's almost as good as before they were elected.

Republicans and Democrats, both factions of the same business party. Both part of the same theatre.

Posted by: Joe in CA | September 26, 2007 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Craig's a politician, which is all anyone needs to know about him and his "wide" moral stance. While folks ponder whether this guy's gay, why don't they question what a police officer was doing sitting on a public toilet all day entrapping folks when he could have been working property crimes and violent assaults? I'm sure there are some unsolved ones here and there. Answer: To short-sighted city and police managers, true police work is less profitable both financially and politically than snagging hapless, desperate gays in the lavatory and making them pay hefty fines.

Posted by: Same old scam | September 26, 2007 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Another Republican senator scandal. Shame on them!

Posted by: Steve in MN | September 26, 2007 6:37 PM | Report abuse

This is a analogous to a violation of civil rights. Some pork should immediately be inserted into a bill for upgrading the facilities in that bathroom -remove the Muzak system so the rythmically disabled don't suffer the compulsion to tap their feet, and widening the stalls so that stance challenged rythmically disabled persons don't get arrested when they do tap. Clear discrimination here.

Posted by: Civ Rts Atty | September 26, 2007 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Slightly off topic, but in response to Joe in CA's halfwit claim that Dems and Reps are two sides of the same coin: Which party supports a woman's right to control her own body, which party recognizes global climate change for the threat that it is, which party wants to do away with tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans so they pay their fair share, which party has the most vocal critics (or any critics at all) of the invasion of Iraq, and which party is more tolerant of those of us who may fall outside society's norms?

Seriously. Get some perspective or shut your yapper.

Posted by: castanea | September 26, 2007 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Can "Hillman" point to anything that documented these "signals", that is known to have existed *before* Craig's arrest?

Posted by: James McGill | September 26, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Stenar:

Perhaps I overstated when I implied all gay men know these signals. But the considerable majority do, especially of gay men in Craig's age group, when clandestine sex was more common. I've heard it discussed literally dozens of times, going back probably 20 years.

As for why no one else has come forward..... the sex is usually quick and anonymous.... Craig isn't exactly a memorable figure physically.... the chances of someone remembering him from such a brief physical encounter is pretty slim....

Posted by: Hillman | September 26, 2007 7:42 PM | Report abuse

It seems unlikely Craig's attorney would have him say he was worried about missing a flight if that would be "completely implausible," or let that go without explanation if he said it before hiring the attorney. Doesn't Craig have some explanation of why he chose this particular restroom (on that day and previously)? Again, I doubt his lawyer would fail to explain why, if it didn't make sense otherwise, he went in there. Another thing: I've never heard it definitively stated that the officer observed, or Craig admitted, pickup up a piece of toilet paper. Did Craig ever say it was toilet paper? And has anyone ever explained why he would have picked it up? As far as I know, Craig never said he was just cleaning up the stall. I thought the really damning allegation was that he put his hand under the divider in a display, so that the officer could see it. As far as I know, Craig never admitted doing that. I'm inclined to doubt the officer's account, because in the tape he clearly attempts to get a confession out of Craig. Trained officers know how to mix truth and fiction (among other things) to get suspects to admit what couldn't be sufficiently established without an admission.

Posted by: Charles Manning (manning120) | September 26, 2007 7:53 PM | Report abuse

"Is the problem with Senator Craig an issue related to his sexuality or did he vote the wrong way on some bill favored by Republican insiders?"


No, Craig just happen to be a victim of being thrown under the bus by Alberto Gonzales (whose office leaked the information about his arrest)... Gonzales resigned just at the end of a news cycle so to distract the American people they began the next news cycle by releasing the information about Craig.


Its amazing how no one seems to be talking about Gonzales anymore or why he was a disgrace and all his ties to Bush's illegal wire tapping program, obstruction of justice and perjury.


Google the news stories and see for yourself.


Posted by: Pat | September 26, 2007 7:56 PM | Report abuse

"Also, why are Democrats so obsessed with GOP "fat cats" making money? For one, go to opensecrets.org and see just how many major corporations contribute loads of money to the DNC or at a minimum, both parties. Based on the assumption that you are a naive Democrat that "hates corporations," let me ask, do you really? Are you self-employed or do you work for a corporation? If you are the former, you should certainly appreciate the lower taxes that Republicans require of you. If you are the latter, stand up for your noble cause, quit your job, don't line your pockets, and don't provide for your family. If profiting is bad and taxation is good, live up to your insanity and send the government a big check so you can pay a voluntary high tax since you feel that you are cheating your nation by not paying enough. I'm sure that money will go to good use ensuring that industries crumble and the environment thrives (as if you or anyone can make a diffenence anyway).

Idiot!"

No one is saying that Corporations should not profit, but paying a CEO 100 million or a billion dollars per year, telling shareholders to buy more stock while CEOs' are dumping theirs (golden parachutes), sending US jobs overseas to squeeze another 10 cents in profits at the cost of thousands of jobs and not having to pay healthcare is beyond "fat Cats making money" it is greed at the expense of the working class pure and simple. Middle-class America pays more than their share in taxes... is it too much to ask that these Gazillionaires pay their fair share as well.

"Idiot"

Posted by: Pat | September 26, 2007 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Okay Joe. I will answer Ron's question which was, "Who, in their right mind, picks up dirty toilet paper off a dirty floor in a public restroom?" The answer is someone with poor hygiene. You happy? I wasn't trying to dodge a question at all. It is clearly a simple one to answer. I was merely mocking Ron's bigotry and naivety.

Posted by: Craig | September 27, 2007 12:48 AM | Report abuse

Pat,

Take some time and read the commonly read work by Adam Smith entitled "The Wealth of Nations" and realize that greed is the essence and necessity of capitalism which has allowed our great nation to thrive and survive to a much greater extent than that which any other county can even come close to comparing to in such a relatively short history.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 27, 2007 12:55 AM | Report abuse

The column notes that there are many closer restrooms than the one selected by the good senator. Not only that - but if the Senator flies through MSP on an almost weekly basis on Northwest Airlines (the only Washington/Boise connection that stops at MSP) - he is almost by definition a member of the Worlds Club (Northwest's private club for frequent fliers).

There are 2 Worlds Clubs at MSP - both of which would be on the Senator's route between flights. They are like most ariline clubs - nice private clubs with complimentary snacks and booze, private seating and nice, clean and private restrooms that the hoi polloi can't use. I have been a member of the Worlds Club in the past and I know for damn sure, that if I absolutely couldn't avaoid using a crapper at MSP (which I try to avaoid at all costs), I would grab a free martini at the Worlds Club and use theirs.

Posted by: MSP Flier | September 27, 2007 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Re to Castanea:

Castanea: "Slightly off topic, but in response to Joe in CA's halfwit claim that Dems and Reps are two sides of the same coin: Which party supports a woman's right to control her own body, which party recognizes global climate change for the threat that it is, which party wants to do away with tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans so they pay their fair share, which party has the most vocal critics (or any critics at all) of the invasion of Iraq, and which party is more tolerant of those of us who may fall outside society's norms?

Seriously. Get some perspective or shut your yapper."

Posted by: castanea | September 26, 2007 07:17 PM

Let me ask you, Castanea. Which party pushes for lack of concern with the security of our nation by taking a "narrow stance" (if one at all) on border security? Which party praises tyrants such as Ahmadinejad, Chavez, and Castro? Which party wants to limit the individual rights of its citizens and broaden the control of the government? Which party wants to take away the right of citizens to protect their own families from home invaders? Which party wants to take away the majority of hard working Americans who just so happened to succeed greatly in life to create subsidies for the slothful that take advantage of the system? Which party considers soft "social issues" to be of greater importance on the floors of our deliberative bodies than the protection of our language, borders, and culture? Which party chooses to eliminate our national sovereignty to bow down to the demands or "global tests" of other nations? Which party turns a blind eye to the enforcement of our laws, crying xenophobia toward those that simply want to ensure that not another innocent victim is brutally murdered by a serial felon who continually sneaks past our unprotected boarders? Which party praises itself for looking out for the little guy while they themselves are the biggest hypocrites as their poster figures are all Hollywood elites, musicians, scammers making bank off of "carbon credits," or climate alarmists such as Gore and Edwards ringing some of the nation's largest utility bills? I could go on with countless scores of statements, but I think you get the point. Neither party is perfect by any means, but don't even begin to pretend that Democrats aren't consistent with fallacy.

Posted by: Craig | September 27, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

"I could go on with countless scores of statements..."

- Please don't, Craig. No need. You have successfully hijacked this topic and turned it into a narrow, frothy right-wing ideological rant. Congratulations.

Imbecile.

Posted by: Idoogye | September 27, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me, a recovering republican, for asking this...
But if the police were responding to men hooking up sexually in the mens room, why didn't the vice officer just stand in the mens room in uniform and in full view rather than sit in his civilian clothes on the john?
I mean if we are really interested in stopping cruising in all the wrong places, why not have Uniformed Police patroling rather than sitting on the pot out of uniform? I dare say, it would a lot more protective of the public.

Posted by: Marshal Phillips, Wichita, Kansas | September 27, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm gay and a caregiver for my Mom, now live in the SE suburbs of St. Paul so I can be closer to take care of her (and can see the airport from where I live ... whoopee).

While I find this whole thing interesting, I guess I'm rather clueless as I didn't before, but I do now thanks to the media and to men like Senator Craig, know about some of the signals in restrooms that severely sexually repressed or closeted men who need sex with men do to or with each other in various cruising areas.

And, now I know more about cruising places too. Duh, I thought toilets were to poop and pee in, then get out, it's what I used to do (and will continue to do) ... but now will get nervous when someone is doing something in the next stall other than a #1 or a #2. And wonder where at MSP, if one cannot afford to be in any airline private club, or having to use a men's room anywhere here, or elsewhere too, where is it really safe to pee or poop now? I don't want to get hassled by some supposedly straight man, because he has needs, to have sex with a man, in a bathroom, yuck, while he plays this whole, I'm really straight and look at me, I'm married too, type of macho political posturing.

The thing is ... for many people like me, who are openly gay ... who date, look for/seek a deeper commitment, having boyfriend or a partner, have been/are/still monogamous, practice and engage in safe sex ... along with having other responsibilities so we don't have much time or energy left at the end of the day ... I don't have the awareness, interest, intent, or curiosity to do this stuff even if it were with another openly gay man.

And I wonder, does Senator Craig, practice safe sex, so he's not endangering his wife?

I wouldn't want to be with this type of man, even if he were openly gay, as he's totally dishonest on other levels.

I wouldn't trust him to tell me his true sexual health, is he free from STDs or HIV. Is he even knowledgeable about anything in this area, considering the arenas he plays in ... probably not and that's scary!

And, I'm annoyed when people say it's wrong for same sex people to marry a person of the same gender, especially when, people who can marry with a person of the opposite gender, make such a mess of marriage. I'm at the point where, prove to us that you deserve to be married to, when you make such a mockery of commitment, marriage, sustaining it, doing it, maintaining it, etc.

And then you mess up and won't own up to it, really. Other than to now try to change your plea now in a court with a highly paid celebrity type of lawyer?

I think Senator Craig is getting what he deserves. He played the supposedly straight, oh gosh, look at me, I married (though here is another example of a straight man wrecking marriage).

Though Senator Craig lingers on, he leaving the Senate, wait, now he's not leaving as he's really not guilty, etc. ... and there is more of him in our courts, media, etc. ... rather than just having him wither away, finally, enough already.

It's not that I lack compassion or understanding or tolerance, but would rather give it to other people, other causes who are more deserving. I wish people like Britney, OJ, Sen. Craig would disappear. And maybe it's good that these people are in the news, they show us gay people how wonderfully straight people do in marriage and commitment to each other.

OK, I'm online for a bit, but it's a glorious sunny fall day here in Minnesota, I think I'll go for a walk, but oh, damn, what park can I go to where I'm not going to get cruised by supposedly straight man looking for sex with men. Guess I'll settle for riding my bike on public streets and hope that it's not some street where supposedly straight men cruise for sex with men either.


Posted by: paul | September 27, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Dulles welcomes wider stances? Do you and Senator Craig know something about IAD than the rest of us?

Posted by: Chester West | September 27, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

As neat as I am, I would not stoop to picking up toilet paper in ANY airport facility, or any other public restroom. People are hired for such purposes, and if I had that job, I would wear gloves. Check out the people with this job.....they DO wear gloves. Apparently, the Senator is not privy (pardon the pun) to the health risks involved.

Posted by: James Martin | September 27, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Re to Idoogye:

"- Please don't, Craig. No need. You have successfully hijacked this topic and turned it into a narrow, frothy right-wing ideological rant. Congratulations.

Imbecile."

Posted by: Idoogye | September 27, 2007 12:26 PM

--- Forgive me for having an ideology and for voicing it. Do you even have one at all or are you simply afraid of hearing points of view that may be contrary to the norm (or at least the norm the media would like to present)?

Posted by: Craig | September 27, 2007 7:19 PM | Report abuse

This almost seems like a joke, toe tapping, (how many taps). What constitutes real identification of someones intent. I think there are bigger issues, that really are a problem, and what about changing the bathroom then if the stalls are so narrow. Senator Craig obviously will hopefully be looking at more of his issues with his wife and family.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 27, 2007 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Craig, not being an ideologue, I don't have an ideology. I do have ideas. They are my own. I don't get them from "the media", and I'm not afraid of hearing points of view like those you have voiced - I'm just profoundly weary of hearing them. Sorry mate, but they just don't strike me as coming from someone who thinks for himself.

Posted by: Idoogye | September 28, 2007 1:47 AM | Report abuse

I personally hope that the Judge throws out the guilty plea and allows this case to come to trial. Then we could see Craig defend his behavior publicly. I am sure there are a lot of Republican's losing sleep over just that possibility.

However, the law being what it is, he almost certainly will fail.

And all those who do not believe he committed a crime, I would make 2 comments. If soliciting sex in a public bathroom accessible by children is not a crime, it should be. Secondly, Craig himself obviously believed he had committed a crime because he pled guilty to it. If he had believed he was set up, or he had truly done nothing wrong, he would not have done so.

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