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CNN Larry King Live

Senator Larry Craig Announces Resignation

Aired September 01, 2007 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight, the sex sting senator is out. Larry Craig announces he'll resign.


SEN. LARRY CRAIG, (D), IDAHO: It is with sadness and deep regret that I announce that it is my intent to resign from the Senate effective September 30th.


KING: It is a fall from grace fit for the tabloids but, despite the guilty plea after his bathroom bust, Craig still says he's innocent and vows to fight like hell.

We have all the latest next on "LARRY KING LIVE."

(on camera): Good evening. A special Saturday night live edition of "LARRY KING LIVE." We have outstanding guests throughout the hour. The panel that begins things in Washington is John Robert, anchor of CNN's "American Morning," Dana Bash in Boise, Idaho, CNN congressional correspondent. With her, Kevin Roberts, he is the editorial page editor of "The Idaho Statesman" and in Washington, James Carville the CNN political contributor and Democratic strategic, and Cheri Jacobus, the Republican strategist joins us, as well.

Senator Craig of Idaho announced in Boise today he will resign effective September 30th. Here's part of what he said.


CRAIG: To Idahoans I represent, to my staff, my Senate colleagues but most importantly to my wife and my family, I apologize for what I have caused. I am deeply sorry. I have little control over what people choose to believe but clearly my name is important to me and my family is so very important, also.

Having said that, to pursue my legal options, as I continue to serve Idaho, would be an unwanted and unfair distraction of my job and for my Senate colleagues. These are serious times of war and of conflict, times that deserve the Senate's and the full nation's attention. There are many challenges facing Idaho that I am currently involved in. And the people of Idaho deserve a Senator who can devote 100 percent of his time and effort to the critical issues of our state and of our nation. Therefore, it is with sadness and deep regret that I announce that it is my intent to resign from the Senate effective September 30th. In doing so...




CRAIG: In doing so -- in doing so...

AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you, Larry.

CRAIG: In doing so, I hope to allow a smooth and orderly transition of my loyal staff and for the person appointed to take my place at William E. Boris desk.


KING: Dana Bash, our congressional correspondent who's been on the scene throughout all of this. What's the mood of his constituents?

DANA BASH, CNN NEWS CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, at this point, they're embarrassed, they're angry, they're disappointed and, for the most part, I think they've relieved at this hour. From the beginning, really, Tuesday, when Senator Craig first came out and insisted that, yeah, he pleaded guilty but he didn't really mean it, first thing I heard and really pretty much the only thing I heard here, Larry, it was just that he -- nobody believed he was telling the truth, his own constituents, even people who had been loyal supporters for years and years. This is a man who represented his state for a quarter century in Washington and people just didn't believe it. Forget about the idea that there are rumors that he is gay, they aid. Forget about all of those things. It's the idea that he didn't use good judgment and the idea they believed that he was trying to lie to them. That was the biggest thing I heard on the streets here in Idaho.

KING: Kevin Richard, we understand that you were planning -- paper was planning a major story, a sex scandal story and hadn't run it and got beat by the newspaper in Washington. What happened?

KEVIN RICHARD, EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR, IDAHO STATESMAN: Well, we've been looking into question of Larry Craig's sexual orientation since last fall. There was a blogger who came out with a story regarding Senator Craig's sexual orientation that we didn't think was substantiated. We didn't think there was enough there so we chose not to run that story and chose put a talented and experienced reporter on the story and conducted 300 interviews. We still didn't feel like -- we needed something more to make the story valid and viable and journalistic, and when "Roll Call" reported the arrest and the guilty plea, we felt that it was time to report the story.

KING: John Roberts, what are they saying in Washington?

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN HOST, "AMERICAN MORNING": Well, obviously, they were saying enough that Larry Craig knew that his time was over and it was time to go, and it was not like he was standing at the edge of a cliff and pushed. It was like he was hit by a bus to take him over the side. The national convention as -- Republican National Committee, as Dana Bash reported earlier this week, was preparing a statement to urge him to step down but it would appear that the conversations he had with people here inside the beltway and those in his home state were enough to convince him that this is something he wasn't going to survive.

I'm still trying to figure out, Larry, what exactly was the reason for them calling for his ouster. John McCain pointed to the idea he pleaded guilty to a crime, a misdemeanor of disorderly conduct which, if you look at the law, can be as much as making a loud noise. He didn't plead guilty to lewd conduct, didn't plead guilty to soliciting the police officer for sex and certainly there are lots of occasions and examples in Congress where people pled guilty to at least that crime and continued to serve. Patrick Kennedy pled guilty to driving under the influence of drugs and checked himself into rehab.

So is it the back story about this? Is it the fact they don't believe that he's telling the truth? Because if you are pointing to the crime, Larry, I think there are plenty of examples where people pled guilty to something like disorderly conduct and survived.

KING: James Carville, is it because of where the crime took place?

JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR AND DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIC: Yeah. I mean, is it -- yeah. It's a gay thing. It's a -- you know, public restroom. It couldn't have been more embarrassing. It is kind of, I think, a unique thing about this is Senator Craig was not that well-known in Washington. And apparently I mean, which was stunning, he had no defenders. I mean, everybody just bailed on this guy. I don't know -- I might have met him once or twice but he was even generally I know most of -- run across most of the Republican Senators at one time or another. Some of them I know fairly well but it was really odd that usually when something like this happens, some people come up and say, he was a really good guy. We feel terrible for him. They just bailed out like there was nothing there. It was kind of stunning how everybody jumped on this poor man. You know, and as John pointed out, hardly, you know, disturbing the peace or whatever. This thing that he pled to. It's hardly rises to the level of, you know, political capital punishment of which everybody said he had to do.

KING: Cheri, what do you make of it?

CHERI JACOBUS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: The problem is he did plead guilty. He was arrested and pled guilty. That is his problem. He could have fought it from the beginning but he didn't. The arrest took place on June 11th and he waited all this time and didn't talk to anybody about it and didn't get a lawyer. He caused a lot of these problems for himself. Had he, from the beginning, said I'm not guilty, I'm going to fight this, I think he would have had defenders in Washington. And, in fact, I think he would have some strong defenders. What do you think, Cheri? Do you think he's going to continue a legal battle here?

JACOBUS: He said he is going to pursue and take a look at the legal options. I suspect he did will. I think it would have been better to consult with a lawyer a few months ago and where people have a real problem with this. There's so many questions that he's sort of waived his right almost to have his party leaders come out and stand behind him and defend him.

KING: We'll be back with more of our panel right after these words. Don't go away.


KING: Dana Bash, who's going to be the new Senator from Idaho?

BASH: That's the $64,000 question here tonight. You know, it's seems as though it's likely going to be the lieutenant governor, a man by the name of Jim Risch. He is somebody who was talking about and throwing the hat into the ring as somebody who wanted to be Senator if Senator Craig decided not to run for reelection in 2008.

The governor, I spoke with a him a couple of days ago and he was clear he was going to wait until Senator Craig made the decision, gave him time and then he would go on and give the formal announcement of who would be in place. But there's not going to be -- there's no drama in what party the people will be. This is a very, very Republican state, for sure.

KING: Kevin, what was your reaction when the Senator really racked your paper up, calling it a witch hunt?

K. ROBERTS: Well, from the beginning, we've tried not to make this into an issue between us and the Senator. We were trying -- on the news side, which isn't my part of the building, they were trying to do basic journalism and get to the truth of the rumor following the Senator for most of his career in public service. But on the opinion pages we were trying to figure out could he credibly serve the state of Idaho, could he be effective? Had he lost credibility with the way he handled this case? We tried to do our jobs as best we could journalistically and tried not to make it into a personal issue.

KING: John, what is the lingering affect on the Republican Party?

J. ROBERTS: That remains to be seen, Larry. James pointing out, he was thrown under the bus more quickly than anybody that I have ever seen in the past and only a couple of Idaho Republicans standing up for him, or at least trying to give him a little bit of the benefit of the doubt.

There could be a case of Republicans saying we had a bad egg in the midst, dealt with it very quickly, you can trust us. We're the party reflecting your values going forward in the '08 election. So it could be a case of dealing with it this swiftly was sending a signal to the voters, Larry, maybe one they appreciate when they have some trouble in their midst, they learn the lessons of the past. They learn from Duke Cunningham and Bob Ney and maybe David Vitter, as well, to say we won't let this happen. Trust us going forward.

KING: James, do you think it came home to roost on Senator Craig. He was so tough. Maybe the toughest in the Senate on Bill Clinton who, by the way, will be our guest next Wednesday night. And the former president may have some interesting thoughts on this. Do you think it came home to roost on him?

CARVILLE: Sure it did. And he was, you know, he had a -- you know, he was against gays in the military, against gays getting married, a great American. You know, people that don't provide pardon and mercy are people who don't need it. And that's a very, very small number of people in the United States. And Senator Craig, I mean, I think one of his problems is he was not willing to give pardon and mercy to anybody else. He was very, very officious and very judgmental of everybody else. And when it came time he had his problem, then people sort of turned on him.

And I think the lesson here is that what the American people like for the politicians in Washington to do is shut up about morality and lead your life. I think that is where we are going to go from here on. Part of me today, when I seen him, the man's got children and his wife and -- you know, he said idiotic things about my home state of Louisiana, but that's a right wing politician popping off. I tend to let that stuff go a little bit. But I couldn't help but feel a little bit sorry for the guy. Like the say, I say, he wasn't thrown under a bus. He was hit by a bus.

KING: Cheri, is this a kind of major but still an incident? Or does it have long-lasting effect on your Senate.

JACOBUS: I don't think it's going to have a long-lasting effect. It is taken care of and the fact that the man -- again, he was arrested, pled guilty, didn't tell anybody about it for months, that's the big problem. So, when we're talking about throwing people under the bus, if you recall, when New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevy resigned, the infamous line, "I'm a gay American," you know, you didn't see Democrats begging him to stay.

So, you know, at this -- you could look at this from a number of different viewpoints here but again I find it interesting that a lot of folks here and the folks I'm sitting with, in fact, to discussing so much on the moral aspect of this and the sex scandal aspect of this. And I think really the crux of this was the man was arrested, pled guilty, didn't tell anybody. That was the problem right there. And if some people want to say he's a hypocrite, fine. If he is gay and still wants to keep, for example, you know, marriage as it is traditionally between a man and woman, I don't think that makes him a hypocrite and a lot of people are passing judgment I think is rather unfair.

KING: Dana will be leaving us. Are you heading home now, Dana?

BASH: That's up to the powers that be, Larry. I think I might be here for a couple of days trying to gauge the fallout here, especially considering the kind of pressure -- the major pressure that the Republicans in Washington that I cover every day put on the state and this Senator because there was a little bit of a standoff going on, Larry. It was fascinating to cover. The Republicans in Washington, just as you've been hearing from the other guests -- the pressure that they put on him was almost unparalleled. And I can tell you just in talking to the Republicans that I cover in Washington, they said, look, it was a no brainier. The leadership was furious about not being told about the fact that he pled guilty, but also, because of the fact that they say that they learned from the 2006 election. You've got to distance yourself as fast and as far as you possible can after something like this happens and that's essentially what they did. It was a lesson.

KING: Thanks, Dana. We know wherever you are it will be a super job.

Dana Bash, CNN congressional correspondent.

The rest of the panel will remain. A couple of others will be joining us and we'll be right back.


CRAIG: Susan and I have been humbled beyond words by the tremendous outpouring of support we have received from our friends, our family, our staff and fellow Idahoans. We are profoundly and forever grateful. Thank you all very much.



KING: Our panel remains. We're joined by two of our legal eagles here in L.A., Mark Geragos, the high-profile defense attorney, and in Miami, Stacy Honowitz, the assistant Florida state attorney.

Mark, Senator Craig maintains he's innocent. He has legal counsel and says he's going to fight this like hell. Fight what?

MARK GERAGOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: He has to say he didn't understand when he signed that thing when the ramifications were. He may have a pretty good ability to get that set aside because nobody entered the plea for him. He did it by mail, if you believe that -- although he hired Billy Martin. Billy's great but I don't -- I think he needs a local Minnesota lawyer there -- to go in and set it aside and then get a diversion program and be done with it.

KING: Billy Martin representing Michael Vick?


KING: Stacy, how would you prosecute this if he brought it back in?

STACY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY: I don't know if Mark had the opportunity to read the plea agreement. Specifically, in the plea agreement, it says I or my attorney reviewed everything and it waives all of his rights. I think he'll have a difficult time. He has to show manifest injustice to get that plea set aside.

GERAGOS: The other thing, Stacy, I will agree with you. He also says in there that I am not innocent and I am guilty or something to that effect. There's a factual basis for it. However, still, I think there's a real problem with doing it by mail.

HONOWITZ: They allow -- Mark, they allow them to do it out there and IT says I or my attorney. You are talking about a United States Senator arrested in June and has two months from -- until August until he fills out the agreement to get a lawyer, to have him review.

GERAGOS: Maybe uses a mental defense. Who knows?

KING: James Carville, at this point, frankly, should he let it go?

CARVILLE: You know, I can see where the guy like he says, look, you just paid a fine and it's disorderly conduct. Well, gee, you have to go back to Minnesota. I have to hire a Minnesota lawyer. I pay $500. It's gone. Nobody finds out. I can see, if I was caught speeding in Minnesota, I didn't think I was speeding and they said, well, you can come back and you have a right to come to court, I have to hire a lawyer, come back, be on the docket and wait for two days to get the case heard. I'll pay the damn fine. Anybody could see that happening.

All the man did was plead to disorderly conduct. It was such a minor offense that you didn't even have to show up. You kind of send the check in.

GERAGOS: That's the amazing thing. It is incredible he was thrown under the bus so quickly.

KING: Cheri, should he continue the fight?

JACOBUS: Why not. If he thinks it's right thing to do or he wants this cleared up or he thinks it will clear his name, fine. He should do so. What I think will come out of this in the long term, once people start looking at what the newspaper doing to him, trying to out a Senator, not in the context of seeing if there was past arrests or the context of a court case to see if he had lied, committing perjury, this was outing a Senator for the sake of outing him, for a sport. That is not news.

I think ultimately Larry Craig gets a great deal of sympathy because of that incident in the long term. That doesn't mean that he should be in the senator or him from not telling the colleagues and leadership he was arrested and pleaded guilty. But overall, in terms of the sympathy of voters back in his home state, he can come out OK in that regard.

KING: The other side, Kevin, is he keeps it in the papers. K. ROBERTS: He does keep it in the paper. And, I don't know to what end he keeps it in the paper. From what I'm hearing, I'm not sure that he has very good legal options. I'm -- I was surprised that he came today and said that the reason he was resigning was not because he couldn't serve in the Senate or he didn't think he could effectively serve because leadership abandoned him, but that he was resigning because he wanted to pursue this legal defense and vigorously go to court and defend himself. That really was the one surprising thing I heard today.

KING: John, what do you think he's going to do?

J. ROBERTS: Obviously, he is going to try to get this expunged. I have no idea what his plans are but look at the idea, he did, as was pointed out, wait two months before he pled guilty. Perhaps he was considering, as James Carville said, do I just pay the fine and get rid of this or go back and fight it with the consequences of having somebody testify against me and a big public record about that. But I just can't figure out why, Larry, he ever thought that this would stay quiet. Here is a U. S. Senator who pleads guilty to a crime and it's a matter of public record. All it takes is for somebody to notice it and put it out and then you get the big back story and the testimony and you get the audio tape. How he ever thought that this would stay hidden is beyond me.

KING: Stacy Honowitz, we have an e-mail from Teresa in Toronto. Why would it be considered for a crime for a man to make a pass at a man, especially when no sex is involved?

HONOWITZ: In this case, they charged him with a disorderly conduct and with another count, like a peeping tom count, because the salgagss were such that he was looking in the crack of the stall where the undercover officer was and fidgeting and making hand motions. In this case, they had a sting going on in the Minnesota airport. Because I -- evidently, a lot of solicited sex had been going on. They charged him with disorderly conduct, which under the Minnesota statute talks about conduct seen as obscene or it could be something that would take -- the public would think that it was obscene. It's like a catch all in Minnesota. The sex didn't have to go on. There only had to be a solicitation. There didn't have to be the act. This was a catch-all statute that they got him for.

KING: Mark? A top police official I had dinner with last night said L.A. is not policing the LAX bathrooms. A sting operation.

GERAGOS: Rightfully so, rightfully thing. The whole thing is so stupid. It's such a waste of resources. I know I got a lot of e- mails last time when I said the same thing. I'll say it again. There is, you know -- it is not a major problem. It is completely overblown. It's a bunch of vice squad officers that don't have enough to do. Redeploy them and let them fight real crime. This is so stupid. They're playing footsy. And next thing you know, there's guys in there, grown men, go, what did you do today? I was at the airport policing whether a guy put his foot next to mine in the bathroom stall. It's absurd. KING: We'll be back with more of the panel. And we're going to add Robert Weiss, the executive director of the Sexual Recovery Institute in Los Angeles. We'll talk about Senator Craig and if he is gay or if he has a problem like this, what can be done. Don't go away.


KING: By the way, a reminder, former President Clinton will be our special guest next Wednesday night.

Let's reintroduce our panel. John Roberts, the anchor of CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING." Kevin Richert, he is the editorial page editor of the "Idaho Statesman." James Carville, the CNN political contributor, Democratic strategist. Cheri Jacobus is the Republican strategist. Mark Geragos, the high-profile defense attorney, Stacey Honowitz, the assistant Florida state attorney and we're now joined here in Los Angeles by Robert Weiss, executive director of the Sexual Recovery Institute in Los Angeles, author of "Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men."

What's your read on Senator Craig?

ROBERT WEISS, AUTHOR: I think Senator Craig made a big mistake walking in that restroom and acting out, but there's no question in my mind he did do that.

KING: Because?

WEISS: Because of the way he defended it. When he spoke to that police - this is what I do with a living. I work with men in power who sexually act out and this guy, I mean, when that police officer was so incredulous in their interaction -- because here's a guy that clearly did something with this police officer and then the police officer wanted to record it. He was sitting there, I think in disbelief this guy wasn't admitting what he did.

KING: Embarrassed?

WEISS: Was being arrogant and grandiose and the way he responded spoke to me of many men I work with who act out like that.

KING: Why would a United States senator with the problem risk it all in a public men's room?

WEISS: Shame and repression. Here's a guy who may have parts of himself that he doesn't want anyone to know about and he's going to go off on a secret place to act them out and hope that no one's going to find out he may have some compulsive or addictive sexual behaviors. Clearly, there's a part of him he doesn't like and doesn't want anyone else to know about.

KING: What do your patients tell you about the rush they get? What do they get out of this?

WEISS: The rush is about the possibility of getting caught, the excitement, a look in the stall and see who's there and maybe it will happen and maybe it won't. It is like an addictive experience, Larry.

Sex addiction is like a gambling addiction -- the guy who gambles his kid's college fund even though he loves his kid. Here's a guy who loved his position, but he went and gambled it all in a sexual act.

KING: Kevin, are you surprised you didn't learn things, more, earlier?

RICHERT: That's a good question. I don't know what we're going to know. You know? No. I'm not -- I'm surprised that we went into this, I think, as a newspaper trying to figure out if we could get some of sort of closure as to, you know, have these rumors followed this man around through a quarter of a century of public service and they're false rumors? Or is there something to it? And, you know, that may not be something we ever really know.

KING: Do you feel sorry for him, Mark?

GERAGOS: Well, yes and no. I mean, when you see him wagging his finger that Bill Clinton was a naughty, naughty, bad boy as I remember vividly him doing, and doing his own Charles Nelson Reilly imitation, no. How can you feel sorry for the guy?

But at the same time, I've got a lot of compassion for him as he's sitting there with his whole family there and to have anybody's career end this way, I defended clients who have been in that kind of maelstrom and it is awful.

I have compassion there and at the same time, why is it always some Republican, right wing Republican hypocrite who's the one caught in the bathroom or in the tidal basin or something else? I don't know why that is.

KING: Cheri may want to respond to that.

JACOBUS: I don't think it is always a Republican, a right winger. I mean come on. Look at what Bill Clinton put the country through.

GERAGOS: They're disproportionately represented in the bathroom stalls of America.

JACOBUS: I'm sorry. But the king of all of this and the king of taking the sexual risks and getting the thrill from that, Bill Clinton in the White House, lying about it, committing perjury in the context of a court case, Paula Jones sexual harassment case.

GERAGOS: At least he wasn't one of these guys, one of these hypocritical Republicans.

KING: One at a time.

JACOBUS: We as Republicans, we don't want to put the country through what Bill Clinton put the country through. We're putting the party first, we're not going to do it. GERAGOS: So instead - wait, you create the false issues or cultural divides on gay marriage and else which you ratchet up every election cycle so you can divide people and polarize them and get out the base. That is the worst kind of political gamesmanship there is.

JACOBUS: I'm sorry, but that has nothing to do with this. You want to focus so much on the sexual aspect of this and as we've talked about, this man pled guilty. Arrested, he was pled guilty and he did not tell his leadership for months.

GERAGOS: Where are the Republicans coming to his defense saying, let's wait and hear what he's got to say?

JACOBUS: Because he didn't tell anybody for several months.

GERAGOS: Right, that's why.

KING: One at a time.

GERAGOS: That never stopped anyone from supporting Duke Cunningham when he was in the corruption.

WEISS: If I can just take it out of the political for just a second. You asked about feeling sorry for someone. I feel sorry for his wife. I really feel for this woman who stood by this man all these years and she's faced with a reality either that she didn't know about or didn't want to know about or kept to herself. Who does she talk to and turn to?

GERAGOS: The kids.

WEISS: McGreevey's wife, I believe --

KING: She's going to be on with us in a little while.

WEISS: She speaks to what she went through and I really feel a lot of compassion for the wives of these men who stand by them, look up to them, admire them and their lives are turned upside down.

KING: James Carville, do you get a sense at all, honestly of gloating?

CARVILLE: Well, I mean, no. Because Democrats understand that they're human beings and Democrats are human beings, too. Something happens and I'm -- you know, who's to say that the next person that gets caught in some compromising position is not a Democrat?

One of the sad things about being 63 next month is that I've seen a lot of human behavior in my life and I tend not to be shocked by things. Let me go back and say something. I think I know a little bit of what went on and I was very proud to defend Bill Clinton against what some of the wretched, horrible people in the United States that were trying to overturn an election.

I was stunned is that no one came out and sort of defended this guy as he's -- as I said of President Clinton, he was a good man that done a bad thing. I'm kind of stunned of he was immediately, like I said, he wasn't thrown under the bus. They threw him and bus knocked him over.

JACOBUS: The president called him today, James, had very kind words to him.

CARVILLE: After he is gone, right. Boy, that's a lot of courage.

GERAGOS: Right. He said -- he had kind words as he threw him over the cliff at the press.

JACOBUS: I can't imagine what your attitude would be now today tonight had this guy pled guilty, hid it, you know, and gets arrested, the whole nine yards and Republicans were then defending him. You guys would be having a field day. I think --

GERAGOS: You're telling that one disorderly conduct, playing footsy in the bathroom stall negates everything this guy's done in the last 25 years?

KING: One at a time, one at a time.

JACOBUS: Are you telling me that getting arrested and pleading guilty and not telling your party leadership is serious? Come on.

KING: By the way, when we go to the next portion, John Roberts will begin the segment. I promise you. You wanted to add something quickly, Robert?

WEISS: Taking it a little bit out of the political, I wonder if he had been arrested for being sexual with a woman if this -- if he would have been abandoned as quickly and early. If he had been with a prostitute or --

GERAGOS: As long as she was over 18, no Republican would have a problem with that.

KING: We'll get a break and we'll be right back with more beginning with John Roberts, who has not been heard from in a little while. Don't go away.


CRAIG: I have full confidence that Governor Otter will appoint a successor who will serve Idaho with distinction. I apologize to the people of our great state for being unable to serve out a term to which I have been elected.


KING: We're back and we have an e-mail for John Roberts from Patsy in Salado, Texas. Does Senator Craig go back to Washington for the month of September and face all those Republicans that turned against him? ROBERTS: Wow. You know, that is a question everybody wants answered and I don't think that we've got an indication yet as to what he is going to do.

Can he come back here on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week and take the seat and represent his state? That is going to be really difficult because the story in Washington will be all about Larry Craig and Republicans don't want that story being printed next week. They want the story to go away.

I think that's why the president called him. He was appreciative as Cheri said for doing the right thing, as the president saw it. They probably do not want him to come back to Washington. So I wouldn't be surprised if there are some people who are urging him, sit out the rest of the term talking with people in the home district.

KING: Why then didn't he resign immediately?

ROBERTS: You know, I don't know the answer to that question, Larry. I think only he knows the answer to that question. Perhaps it was to give the governor time to give a lot of thought to who he's going to replace him, create a little bit of a buffer. But I don't have the answer to that question.

WEISS: I think if you're the kind of person who's arrogant enough to be able to think you can carry out this behavior and not get caught, you might think you can also not lose your position?

KING: Stacey, did you say something?

HONOWITZ: When you asked that question, I would say it was s arrogance. I prosecuted sex offenders, it's almost 20 years that I'm doing this. You see them in the highest places and the lowest places, black, white, fat, thin, wealthy, not wealthy. It runs the gamut and in this case, a lot of them, the high profile sex offenders if you want to call them that, even though it was just disorderly conduct, really do have this arrogance about them that it couldn't happen to them, they couldn't get caught and they didn't do anything wrong.

I think in this case, as much as you want to say this is a, you know, a small crime and, you know, things like this, they set up stings like this because there is solicited sex in restrooms.

GERAGOS: They set up stings like this because they have nothing better to do.

HONOWITZ: People send their children into the bathrooms. They don't want this kind of behavior going on. I've prosecuted those cases.

GERAGOS: What is going to happen here? Think about this for a second. You are talking about two stall doors that are closed. You are saying that supposedly when they go in there, they put the bags against them, what's going on in these two stalled door that is people are so afraid of to send their kids into the urinal?

HONOWITZ: You know what? Sex -- I just prosecuted a case last year where a little boy was molested in a public bathroom.

GERAGOS: If a little boy is molested or if a little boy is raped in a public bathroom, prosecute that. That's fine but there's no indication here that little boys are dragged into --

HONOWITZ: You don't -- you don't -- you know, everybody who gets caught gets prosecuted. It doesn't matter if it's a U.S. senator.

KING: One at a time. Robert, why do they do that?

WEISS: The reality is, public sex is illegal.


WEISS: So if you think it's legal - and I say this to the guys I work with all the time, they say I've been entrapped or this shouldn't have happened to me. Go talk to your congressman and try to make public sex legal. But if it's illegal, the police have a right to prosecute. If I have a kid in the park and I want to take him to the restroom, I don't want to see two guys getting it on in there.

KING: Linden in Alabama, hello. Hello?


KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: Yes. Senator Craig is a married man and there's been rumors about him cheating on his wife with pages and recently going into men's room having sex. And here's a Republicans allowed him to grand stand against President Clinton cheating on his wife and vote on legislation denying who homosexual men and, you know, women the same rights as heterosexual couples.

KING: what's the question?

CALLER: Why does Cheri not understand why the American people are so outraged with this hypocrisy?

KING: Cheri, that's the outrage, isn't it?

JACOBUS: Well you know, President Clinton wasn't impeached for having an extramarital affair. He was impeached for lying to a grand jury. It was perjury and it was in connection with a Paula Jones sexual harassment case. So I think that we need to get the facts straight.

And yes there are going to be some Americans, and not just Republicans, but some will grand stand and they will slam any elected official no matter if there's an R or a D after their name for sexual impropriety or extramarital affairs or whatever because that's what people do.

They all have their own code of moral ethics and they do cast judgment. Sometimes they vote that way. Sometimes they don't. In the situation with Larry Craig, the reason he wasn't, as the term used tonight, thrown under the bus earlier is he didn't get arrested and plead guilty and then hide it.

We really have to focus on what this is about and I think that when we say that it's just about sex or alleged homosexuality, we are really missing the point. That's not what this was about, even though there are people who will cast that.

KING: Let me get a break and when we come back, we'll have Dina Matos McGreevey, the estranged wife of former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey, who came out of the closet, admitted an affair with a male partner. She is the author of the book "Silent Partner."

Before we go to break, Tony Harris is in Washington, he stands by with a news brief. Tony, what's up?

TONY HARRIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good to see you, Larry. I'm Tony Harris in the CNN NEWSROOM. Here's what's coming up at the top of the hour. Is there a sex ring being run within D.C.'s fire department? That's the allegation and that's the subject of a report just minutes away.

Plus, listen to this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's up, y'all? This is your boy G. Mike. See, I usually do songs with like hooks and concepts. Right?


HARRIS: So, what's this? It's a new animated video running on a network that your children might watch. What do you think? All this next at the top of the hour in the CNN NEWSROOM. Larry, back to you.

HARRIS: Thanks. And Tony is of course in Atlanta and we'll be right back. Don't go away.

Next week, former president Bill Clinton. An interview you will not want to miss. Coming up on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: Joining us now in New York is Dina Matos McGreevey. Do you think the senator did the right thing today, Dina?

DINA MATOS MCGREEVEY, ESTRANGED WIFE OF JIM MCGREEVEY: Well, I think he did the right thing by resigning. However, I think that he should have resigned effective immediately. By extending the period for another month he is exposing his family to, you know, a month of a more anguish and pain and I think that the best course would have been for him to resign immediately so that they can begin the healing process and start, you know, to move on from here.

KING: What do you think's going on inside his wife? MATOS MCGREEVEY: Turmoil, confusion, shock, dismay. I don't know what he's told her. I hope for her sake and for the sake of their family that he's been completely honest with her and has come clean with the truth, whatever that may be.

I know it's very, very difficult time for her. Because it's, you know, painful to be betrayed by someone that you love. And also, to be criticized by people who have no idea who you are. That certainly happened in my case. And unless you've walked in her shoes, you don't know what she's going through so you should not judge her.

KING: Robert Weiss has a question for you.

WEISS: Working with so many of the spouses as I do, I often hear that they blame themselves especially at the beginning. If I had been more attractive to him, if I had been more sexual with him and it's such a shameful issue for them to talk about for them and I'm sure for you.

MATOS MCGREEVEY: It certainly is. I have had -- I have heard that many, many times over the course of the last few months. You know, I have had women especially tell me that when my husband came out of the closet, I went into the closet. You know, there ashamed.

They in some cases feel they're to blame, and they don't want to discuss it. They have nowhere to turn to. Many of them are separated or have since divorced from their spouse. And even their closest family members and friends don't know why because they just don't want to discuss it and they live with this, you know, inner turmoil.

KING: What advice would you give Mrs. Craig?

MATOS MCGREEVEY: Well, I would -- you know, tell her to look to her family and friends for support. And demand that her husband tell her the truth so that she can move on.

You know, my heart breaks for her because I know how painful this experience is for her. I've been there. I've walked in her shoes. But there are people out there who -- there are two million of us who have been there and have felt her pain. And I hope that, you know, she will, you know, seek help and look to, you know, to her family and friends for support.

KING: Dina, do you ever miss being first lady of New Jersey?

MATOS MCGREEVEY: No. I like to have my privacy. I haven't had much of it, but it was certainly a privilege and an honor to serve the citizens of the state of New Jersey.

And, you know, it was an opportunity for me to get involved with many wonderful causes. But, you know, I like my life now. I want to be a private citizen and be able to move on with my life and raise my daughter out of the public eye.

KING: Thank you very much, Dina Matos McGreevey. Thank you for joining us. We get a call from Modesto, California, hello. CALLER: Yes. I have a question for Mark Geragos. Mark, what you said on this program in the last -- previous program, you don't seem to take it very serious. As far as what if my kid would have been on the stall? I think I would have been furious. Please take it serious, Mark.

GERAGOS: I can't take it seriously because I'm telling you it generally is -- this parade of horribles argument that gets set up here that somehow it's playing footsy between the stalls, that somehow that's going to lead to child rape is just a joke.

It doesn't -- that isn't what happens. There's this whole fear of homosexuality and that homosexuality leads or equated with pedophilia. It's just not true. They're two separate things.

WEISS: Mark, excuse me. I think the way the issue has to be looked at is not that it's going to lead to some child being molested, but that the child is going to walk into a restroom and see two adults engaging in sexual behavior that they shouldn't see and that's more I would hope the issue would be.

GERAGOS: If that's what it is, I understand it as a parent. But I'm telling you, it's not like there's any indication that that's what happened here.

KING: We'll get a break and be back with our remaining moments and get a final comment from everybody. Don't go away.


KING: OK. Limited time left. John Roberts, have we heard the last of this?

ROBERTS: You haven't heard the last of it if Larry Craig comes back to Washington because if he does, every camera that's anywhere near Capitol Hill is going to be focused on him.

He will become the story and that will go on until he goes back to Idaho. You know, perhaps he'll -- he's got to come back here I think to at least say good-bye to his staff. As to how long he hangs around, that will not be his decision, I think that that will be guided by elders in the Republican Party who will say stay a short a time as possible.

KING: Kevin, what do you think?

RICHERT: Well, it's going to be interesting to see how much it goes on and how much of a distraction it is. We were concerned that he would be a distraction for 16 months. Will he be a distraction if he stays for one month? It's going to be very interesting to see how it plays.

KING: James?

CARVILLE: yeah. The last person that these Republicans want in Washington right now is Larry Craig and I think that he'll some contribute or give his wife a nice long trip on a nice cruise ship somewhere and have him back in about five or six months after this has died down.

But I can't imagine that he's really going to come back here and have all the cameras outside of his office and kick this thing anymore. I think that they -- justifiably and understandably want to get it off of the show and the front page.

KING: Cheri?

JACOBUS: No. I don't think he'll come back and be very public. He might come back and say good-bye to the staff. But the Republicans want to move forward. We have Fred Thompson getting in the race this next week. It's a post Labor Day push and a lot of important issues so I wish Senator Larry Craig and family well and I hope he is able to heal and put this behind him personally.

KING: Mark?

GERAGOS: It's a really bad day for Idaho. I mean, they start off in the morning with him resigning and they end up in the evening coming in as a seventh touchdown underdog here in five minutes and they're going to be killed. So you're in Idaho today, this has really got to be black Saturday.

KING: Appalachian state.

GERAGOS: That is true. That's true. Always hope.

KING: Stacey, is it going away?

HONOWITZ: I think legally, he is done. The lawyers maybe going to pick it up and he's going to realize and sit down and say to him, you're going to draw more attention to yourself. There is really no grounds to withdraw this plea. It's done. It is over with. You resigned. I think the buck stops here.

KING: Robert?

WEISS: I just hope if any good comes out of it that men who are acting out of integrity in their marriages whether it's with a woman or a man take a look at themselves and get help if they need it. That's the good thing that might come out of this.

KING: As Senator Craig - as you see him, do you think he'll get help?

WEISS: Not right away. It depends on what the people around him are saying. If his wife stands by him rather than him being honest with her -- this man doesn't seem anywhere near reality at the moment.

KING: Would you call it denial?

WEISS: I'd call it denial with a capital D. Denial that -- I'm sure in his mind, as long as he has people around him, he'll continue to be OK. KING: Would he wander into another bathroom?

WEISS: I hope he wanders into my office.

KING: What would he wander into?

WEISS: Not for awhile, because when these guys act out this way, they're usually in shock and when they're in shock, they have no desire to do it.

KING: Thank you all very much, an outstanding panel tonight. Don't forget to check out the Web site at You can and download the newest podcast which is Jack Hanna and the wild animals or submit Web cam questions or e-mail to our upcoming guests. Just go to Don't forget, Bill Clinton next Wednesday. Stay tuned now for the news. It continues right here on CNN.