Was Sen. Larry Craig really thinking about staying in office when he said Sept. 1 he intended to resign?
Was the piece of toilet paper Craig said he reached for in that Minneapolis men's room on the floor — or on his shoe?
We compared what Sen. Craig said in two interviews televised Tuesday night with what he and others have said since news of his arrest and guilty plea broke Aug. 27.
On the day he announced his intention to resign, Craig meant it, he said Tuesday. "I don't want to play a semantic game at all. The day I said what I said, it was my plan to resign. Circumstance changed. I found I could be effective."
But minutes before delivering his Sept. 1 speech, Craig left a misdirected voice-mail for someone named Billy in which he said, "We have reshaped my statement a little bit to say it is my intent to resign on Sept. 30. I think it is important for you to make as bold a statement as you are comfortable with. ... I think it would help drive the story that I'm willing to fight, that I've got quality people out there fighting in my defense, and that this thing could take a new turn or a new shape."
Craig told TV interviewers that he talked with Gov. Butch Otter and "kept all of the delegation totally informed about the decision process I was in, and that I had not made a final decision as to whether I would resign or stay in office."
Otter, though, said he was "surprised and concerned" when he learned that Craig was reconsidering his resignation. Otter put together a list of 29 possible replacements for Craig and spent several days interviewing candidates.
Idaho Statesman coverage
Craig said the Idaho Statesman conducted a 10-month investigation into Craig and his family's private life and spread a rumor from a blogger that Craig was gay.
"The Idaho Statesman did not report a story based on a rumor by a blogger, as did at least four other Idaho media and several national media last fall," said Vicki Gowler, Statesman editor and vice president. "Instead, our reporter spent about five months pursuing the truth. He did not have to spread the rumor. It was widely known. Our investigation included an in-depth interview with a credible source, a professional Washington, D.C., man who described having sex with the senator in a men's restroom at Union Station, an incident similar to the one for which the senator was arrested, pleaded guilty — and then hid from his wife, his staff, his colleagues and his constituents."
Craig also said the Statesman told him it would not publish the story resulting from the investigation unless there was an "incident."
"We ... never told the senator the story would not be written unless there was an incident," Gowler said. "After last May's interview (with Craig), we asked for the documentation that the senator mentioned to prove he had never had sex with another man. We never received those documents in a form we could use."
When Craig went into the Minneapolis airport restroom, he said, "I walked by the stalls. I looked to see if they were empty, most of them were full, or apparently all of them were full as I recall."
In his police report, Officer Dave Karsnia said, "Some, but not all of the stalls were occupied."
Karsnia said Craig peered long enough through the door crack into the stall where Karsnia sat for the officer to see that the senator's eyes were blue. "That just didn't happen," Craig said Tuesday.
Craig said for the first time Tuesday that the piece of toilet paper he tried to pick up in the restroom stall appeared to be stuck to his shoe. In the past, he said only that a piece of paper was on the floor.
LEAVING THE NATIONAL GUARD
Craig said he was discharged from the National Guard because of flat feet.
Records show he was discharged because of a physical qualification in May 1972 after serving 20 months of a six-year enlistment. Neither Craig, the Pentagon nor the Idaho National Guard has supplied a record describing Craig's ailments.
How the interviews happened
Craig's Washington, D.C., media consultant, Judy Smith, asked ABC News and NBC News in a conference call to submit proposals to interview Craig.
Those proposals were to be supplemented with proposals from local affiliates KIVI and KTVB on how each would conduct a second interview to air locally, said Scott Picken, KIVI news director.
"Craig's staff said the senator himself made the decision to interview with somebody else because he felt ‘friendlier' with one of their anchors."