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Craig: ‘I am every bit as effective’

Idaho Sen. Larry Craig says he’s just as effective a senator now as he was before an airport restroom sex sting scandal prompted a storm of national criticism, an almost-resignation and the loss of his senior committee positions. “There probably was a short period of time when I when I first got back when it was kind of reestablishing myself with my colleagues. I think at this moment in time, I am every bit as effective as I was in most instances,” Craig said on a live call-in program on KBOI-AM radio in Boise on Tuesday. You can listen to the full program here.

Craig said, “It has not been easy, I would have to openly admit that. At the same time I have developed a level of expertise that other senators rely on when it comes to energy and natural resource issues. … I think I’m going to be able to finish out my term in a way that clearly gives Idaho the ranking position they’ve gained through my service over the last 28 years.”

Of the sex sting, Craig said, “I did not seek counsel, that was a poor decision. I made the wrong decision and now the world knows that. I certainly know it.” He called the attention given to his case a case of the “liberal media trying to put down a conservative guy. … Sometimes you have to let the liberal media have their play, and oh, did they.”

Quizzed by callers about the Minneapolis airport incident, Craig said his lawyers have advised him not to get into the details. “I’m right in the middle of an appeal,” he said. He also said he thought it was the best move for the state when he changed his mind about resigning from the U.S. Senate. “I had 27 years of seniority, we were right in the middle of a budget battle, an appropriation battle. There was about a billion dollars in projects on the line for Idaho. I looked at ‘em, I found out I could go ahead and serve and save those work efforts,” he said. “I believe it was the best decision for Idaho, not for me maybe, but for Idaho. The easy way out without question would have been to walk away and not come back.”

Craig said he had already decided not to seek re-election before news of the scandal broke, though he hadn’t announced it. “We were going to announce on Sept. 15,” he said. “I wasn’t going to grow old in this job.”

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Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.