Spin, spin, and more spin! After watching Larry Craig's news conference, we assumed that the case was now officially over. We could move on to cover something else, perhap the rapper Foxy Brown's court appearance or the feud between Kanya West and 50 Cent. Republican have been hammered this year so they were relieved that Craig was gone but we were all mistaken.
During the widely covered press conference, he did state that his intent was to resign from the Senate in late September but most of us completely missed the emphasis he placed on the words intended to resign. He never said that he would resign, just intended, leaving himself wiggle room to later change his mind. So after listening to the voice message, I came to the conclusion that the entire press conference was nothing but typical Washington spin. Craig got us!
In a voice message obtained by Roll Call that was inadvertently left by Craig at a wrong number on Saturday morning, the Idaho Republican discussed his forthcoming press conference as "more as a strategy to rehabilitate his political fortunes than a statement about his looming departure."
"'Yes, Billy, this is Larry Craig calling. You can reach me on my cell. Arlen Specter is now willing to come out in my defense, arguing that it appears, by all that he knows, that I've been railroaded and all of that,' Craig said on the voice mail. 'Having all of that, we've reshaped my statement a little bit to say it is my 'intent' to resign on Sept. 30."
The press conference was nothing but spin and damage control. Big mistake Larry. Never leave these kind of incriminating messages on voice machines. They can return to bite you in court.
Next, as part of the spin, Craig dispatched his two children, Michael Craig and Shae Howell to the morning talk on Good Morning America to tell the public what a good guy old Larry is and that he is not gay and not guilty of the lewd conduct in the men's bathroom. Michael Craig even went on to say that his father was a victim of circumstances and that he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
This was a terrible strategy that backfired on Craig who should have known that the media would dig into the background of his children. Unsolicited advice to Craig, hire a good public relations person.
The criminal records of Michael Craig and Shae Howell, whom Sen. Craig adopted after marrying their mother, Suzanne, in 1983, call into question their credibility as character witnesses and further undermine and damage Craig's portrayal of himself as a defender of family values. For example, at least two women have sought restraining orders against Michael Craig, previously charged with statutory rape but the charges were later dismissed. Shae Howell even had an outstanding warrant for her arrest when she appeared on Good Morning America. She was charged with allegedly breaking into her estranged husband's home and destroying property.
More spin, Craig and his wife released a statement "Raising children in their teens and as they become adults is never an easy task. Few people have gone through life without a few bumps. Our kids have worked to get through their tough times, and we have supported them as families do. We have watched them grow to become loving and caring parents of our beautiful grandchildren. We love our children very much and stand by them even when they struggle."
So where do we go from here? Craig will continue to fight to get the guilty plea reversed and contest the case in court. Meanwhile he retains his senator seat. The legal process would take time, and the media and public would have moved on to something else. (Michael Vick who?) The public has a short memory. Personally, I do not feel that these misdemeanor charges should be enough to kick Craig out of office but that will have to be another post.