Matt Lauer surprised us last night. What started as a sympathetic look at toilet trolling senator Larry Craig rapidly disintegrated into what Craig refers to as “gladiator politics”. And, boy, were we cheering!
Before we get into the nitty gritty, we’d like to say that out of all the stories, yarns and backtracks, we learned two things about Senator Larry Craig. First, he’s a terrible, unimaginative liar. When Lauer asked about Craig’s suspicious National Guard discharge, Craig blamed his feet: “I have a medical discharge – based on my feet.” Second thing we learned about Craig: he’s got some troublesome toes.
The hour-long segment began with the basics: Craig got nabbed allegedly cruising in a Minnesota bathroom, tried to keep it a secret, the world found out and – BOOM! – “political hurricane”. In fact, Craig blames the ensuing “media storm” on the fact that we didn’t have any hurricanes this year. With no death and destruction, we had to create our own.
Of course Craig’s memory disassociated this current scandal with his past “gay scandals,” which have dogged him since his political career began in the early 1980s. Luckily, Matt reminded them. Playing the supportive political wife, Suzanne Craig came to Larry’s aide, not only saying there’s no “marriage of convenience” and insisting that she “knows Larry Craig,” but by disputing The Idaho Statesman’s mountains of evidence, including a man who described Craig’s penis: “…The description he gave of Larry in some areas that only I might know about were wrong, on three counts.” She’s talking about his penis and it’s nauseating. Again, she “knows Larry Craig” and if she didn’t before, she sure as shit does now!
Craig affirmed his love for sweet Suzanne, of course. Unfortunately, even Suzanne’s immense love couldn’t quell her smirk at Craig’s ridiculous recollection of that infamous toilet encounter, when Lauer started revving his journalistic engine. Says Lauer of stall tactics:
When I do that and we’re– we’re sharing bathroom secrets here, but when I do that, I tend to look under the stall to see if there are feet.
Craig says he looked at the feet, but also looked at the door, not “through” the door, as the officer claims. Do we smell a Clinton-esque definitive battle?
Craig’s story only gets worse when he attempts to explain why, when the officer told him to leave the stall, he said “no,” rather than WTF?
Matt Lauer: Here’s the part I have a problem with, senator. If you had– if there had been nothing going on in this stall, and you had done nothing intentionally, it seems to me you would’ve been completely confused as to why some guy next to you is showing you police identification.
Larry Craig: Well, I was. I didn’t know there was– (unintel) not real, I said no.
Matt Lauer: No to what? To what question?
Larry Craig: He had a gesture toward the door like this [thumbing]. He didn’t tell that, did he said– and I said no.
It’s right around this time that Suzanne’s smirk grows a few inches. And widens, too.
So, what about the officer’s account: Craig’s feet touched his? Craig’s haphazard explanation? Oh, there wasn’t any! He just said, “It’s possible”. And what about all those cruising signals, signals Craig followed nearly to the “T”? Just a coincidence. He didn’t know about all the codes until the past month, he says. Right, then why’d you get all flustered when asked about previous encounters, Craig? The Senator also attempts to cast the arresting officer in a sinister light by saying he’s a profiler. An anti-gay profiler, perhaps?
Lauer also spends some time discussing the political fall-out of the scandal, including the oft-discussed Mitt Romney dis. Craig explains that while most people are treating him with the dignity he [doesn’t] deserve, some people – like Romney, John McCain, Peter Hoekstra, Mitch McConnell – “really can’t make eye contact.” Hearing Craig talk about his former friends, one almost feels bad for him. One also gets the distinct impression Romney broke his heart. Poor Larry!
From there, Lauer steers the interview toward the queers, asking Craig about whether the gay aspects of the scandal make it even more, well, scandalous:
Matt Lauer: …Are you technically not a homosexual? Is it possible you’re bisexual?
Larry Craig: It’s no to both.
Matt Lauer: …Do you think it would be something that would be awful? In other words, do you view it as something that would be awful to have to admit that you were gay?
Larry Craig: I don’t agree with the lifestyle. And I’ve said so by my votes over the years and by my expressions. Have I viewed it as awful? I viewed it as a lifestyle I don’t agree with.
Matt Lauer: You wouldn’t view it as one– something that would be a source of great shame if you had to admit it?
Larry Craig: I’m not sure that I’ve ever looked at anyone else’s sex life as great shame.
Suzanne Craig: And– and some people think that he pleaded guilty to homosexual activity, when in fact he did not.
That’s very different than actually being guilty of “homosexual” activity, but okay…
Craig ended the interview by insisting – as we already know – he’ll go ahead and appeal his case. “On the grounds that we don’t get a fair shot. That I want a right to defend myself in a court of law.” You didn’t get a fair shot? That’s not exactly the best grounds for appeal we’ve heard, but if you think it’s going to help what you call the “toughest fight” of your political life.
If you ask us, it’s the fight of his political death and last night’s interview probably didn’t help his case. In fact, it made him look more sleazy and suspect than ever!