Senate GOP leaders, stunned that Sen. Larry Craig is considering reversing his decision to quit September 30 over his guilty plea in a men's room sex scandal, say that he should still step down.
"After today's Senate Republican policy lunch ... you should see the Senate Republican leadership repeat that this is a done deal and that we expect a new senator from Idaho very soon. The White House is not going to change its tune either," said a senior GOP leadership aide whose White House reference suggests a coordinated message.
Said another top GOP Senate aide: "This could very well be the story that never was. Senator Craig has given himself a September 30 deadline to clear an ethics committee that likely hasn't started its investigation, reverse an adjudicated crime, and assemble a jury and retry the matter—to the extent that it is even an option. It's hard to imagine any, let alone all, of those items can be done in that time frame."
Still others in the Senate are getting angry, especially with Craig's decision to fight the case but not return to Washington yet to explain himself to his colleagues.
"If he has the [courage] to fight this, then the least he could do is come here and feel the heat we're feeling," said a third top Senate aide. That aide predicted today's message to Craig will stare him down. "I think that, in the end, he will still be gone."