Larry Craig

Craig: ‘I don't just walk away from a fight'

Kim O'Connor / Idaho Statesman

Sen. Larry Craig and his wife, Suzanne, spoke for the first time about how their relationship has weathered Craig's arrest and guilty plea in a men's room sex sting. He described in detail how he justified his decision to stay in the Senate. She said the ordeal forced her into a period of "soul searching."

"I came out of that feeling that my husband had never been unfaithful to me in any way," Suzanne Craig said in one of two hourlong interviews broadcast Tuesday night.

Craig told Matt Lauer of the "Today" show that it was a "tough call" when he decided not to tell his wife or children about the arrest.

"I was very, very embarrassed about it," he said. "I wrestled with it. I didn't want to embarrass my wife, my kids, Idaho and my friends. And I wrestled with it a long while. I sought no counsel. I made a very big mistake."

Craig said that after he told Idahoans he intended to resign, he tried to see if he could still represent the state well.

"I had to go back and look my colleagues in the face. I had to apologize to them, and I did," he told KTVB. "I grew to believe that I could stay ... I found out I could be effective."

Lauer asked Craig if he had been shunned by senators and Republican leaders. Some — like GOP Sen. John Ensign and presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain — had been critical of Craig.

"There are some ... who really can't make eye contact," Craig said. "I didn't give anybody a place to hide by pleading guilty ... I gave no quarter for my colleagues to stand in."

But he didn't want to take the "easy way out," he said. "I don't just walk away from a fight."

Related stories from Idaho Statesman