U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, who flip-flopped over whether he would quit after being caught in a restroom sex scandal, said in remarks released on Monday that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney “threw me under his campaign bus.”
Craig, an Idaho Republican, resigned from Romney’s White House campaign after it was disclosed in August that he had been snared in an undercover sting operation in a Minnesota airport men’s room.
The case has been particularly embarrassing for Republicans, since they have long billed themselves as the party of conservative family values.
Craig contends that an undercover policeman in an adjoining stall at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport misconstrued his actions on June 11 as a sexual advance. But he pleaded guilty in August to misdemeanor disorderly conduct.
“Disgraceful,” Romney said at the time about Craig, who had served as co-chair of his campaign efforts on Capitol Hill.
“It reminds us of the fact that people who are elected to public office continue to disappoint,” Romney had told CNBC television. “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.”
“He not only threw me under his campaign bus, he backed up and ran over me again,” Craig said in an interview with NBC, excerpts of which were released on Monday.
The interview with “Matt Lauer Reports” will air on Tuesday, with additional coverage of it broadcast on Wednesday on the “Today” show.
As the excerpts were being released, officials in Minnesota announced that Craig had filed notice that he will continue fighting his arrest in court.
Craig’s Minneapolis attorney, Thomas Kelly, filed notice with the Minnesota Court of Appeals, paying a $500 fee and saying he will try to overturn a county court judge’s decision earlier this month that Craig cannot take back the disorderly conduct guilty plea he made in August.
Craig had contended he panicked and was rushed into a decision, and now wants a full hearing. But the judge said he had ample time and knew what he was doing.
In the interview, according to NBC, Craig maintained his innocence, claimed he was the victim of profiling and talked about the lack of support he has received from long-time colleagues in Congress.
Numerous Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, had urged Craig to resign and were upset when he decided to stay.
Craig also reiterated that despite his earlier comments to the contrary, he would not resign from Congress and instead would complete his third six-year term, which ends in January 2009.