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Craig reconsidering?

The AP reported yesterday that Sen. Larry Craig "is reconsidering his decision to resign after his arrest in a Minnesota airport sex sting and may still fight for his Senate seat." The article quoted Craig's Idaho spokesman, Sidney Smith, who said: "We're still preparing as if Senator Craig will resign Sept. 30, but the outcome of the legal case in Minnesota and the ethics investigation will have an impact on whether we're able to stay in the fight -- and stay in the Senate."

Craig's Washington communication director, Dan Whiting, put the emphasis on the word "MAY", as in "may not resign." In a emailed response to NBC's Ken Strickland about the AP story, Whiting wrote, "As he stated on Saturday, Senator Craig intends to resign on September 30th.  However, he is fighting these charges, and should he be cleared before then, he may, and I emphasize may, not resign."

In news conference on Capitol Hill yesterday morning -- well before the AP story -- Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said his understanding of Craig's decision to resign was definitive. "He called me on Friday and indicated what he was going to say on Saturday, and I believe that's a firm decision," he told reporters. In a follow-up question on Craig, McConnell added, "I think the episode is over. We'll have a new senator from Idaho at some point in the next month or so and we're going to move on."

The New York Times: "The potential change of heart followed moves by Mr. Craig to mount an aggressive challenge to the charges, hiring well-known lawyers to handle the criminal case and any Senate ethics inquiry into the incident, as well as a communications firm that specializes in crisis management. Stanley M. Brand, a lawyer hired by Mr. Craig to resolve any complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee, said he had advised Mr. Craig not to resign, and said doing so would set a bad precedent in the Senate."

More: "'I think what it does is it takes away some bargaining power that you would otherwise have to resolve it in some mutually acceptable way,' Mr. Brand said Tuesday night. Mr. Brand also said the Senate should not consider ethics complaints arising from 'personal conduct misdemeanors that have no bearing on performance of official duties.'"

So Roll Call nabs another scoop regarding Larry Craig. This one regarding a voice mail Craig left with someone named, "Billy." (Probably his attorney Billy Martin?). Anyway, Craig mis-dialed and left the voice mail with someone else who then gave the recording to Roll Call. In the voice mail, left JUST before he gave his statement about the "intent" to resign, Craig recounts that he finally found a defender in the Senate (Arlen Specter) and that he was going to change the wording of his statement slightly to give him some options.

Interestingly, this recording was offered to the Idaho Statesman first, but the paper turned it down because the owner of the accidental voice mail wanted money. Roll Call claims it obtained the recording without paying.