ALISON STEWART, host:
After all sorts of discussion about what was he thinking, Idaho Senator Larry Craig told us. The embattled senator gave his first in-depth television interview since his arrest in a Minneapolis airport men's room last June, well, since that all became public. The interview aired last night on NBC.
BURBANK: The theory - the three-term Republican and his wife Suzanne spoke with Matt Lauer. Craig claims he was entrapped in a sex sting and was not aware of the bathroom's reputation as a spot to cruise for gay sex. He said, quote, "I go to bathrooms to use bathrooms."
STEWART: Craig agreed to plead guilty to just disorderly conduct after he was accused of soliciting sex in the bathroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. He said last night that he initially kept the arrest secret from the public and his family because he was embarrassed.
BURBANK: He also says he regrets that decision. Craig, again, said he is not gay. But at one point in the interview, Matt Lauer raised another possibility.
(Soundbite of show, "NBC News")
Mr. MATT LAUER (Host, NBC News): You have taken, senator, several opportunities to say, come out point blank, and say I am not a homosexual.
Senator LARRY CRAIG (Republican, Idaho): Mm-hmm.
Mr. LAUER: Which raises two questions in my mind, one of them - and you're going to forgive me for this. Are you technically not a homosexual? Is it possible you're bisexual?
Sen. CRAIG: It's no to both.
Mr. LAUER: The other question is 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?
Sen. 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.
STEWART: Lauer also asked Senator Craig and his wife whether the issue of his sexuality was discussed in their household.
(Soundbite of show, "NBC News")
Mr. LAUER: Let me just come right out and say it. Did anybody sit you down, senator - Suzanne or your children - and say, dad, honey, are you gay?
Ms. SUZANNE CRAIG (Larry Craig's Wife): Yes.
Sen. CRAIG: My kids ask tough questions. And these kids have known me an awfully long while. And they looked at - they looked their dad in the eye and asked the tough questions.
Mr. LAUER: And you asked that specific question? And you were comfortable with the answer?
Ms. CRAIG: I did a lot of soul searching along that when I had this information and asked myself if I had missed something somewhere. And I honestly believe my husband has always been faithful to me in every way.
BURBANK: Alison, you know, this morning, I was reading review of that interview by Tom Shales in the Washington Post. And I jumped up from my desk and walked over to your desk to say…
BURBANK: …did you see how right Tom Shales was?
STEWART: And I said, I thought Tom Shales was completely off mark. I thought that Matt Lauer did a very good job at that interview.
BURBANK: See? I totally agree with Shales in that I just feel like he had - I felt like Matt Lauer went into this interview almost apologizing for the fact that he was doing this interview. In fact, he led into that question about bisexuality. He said, you know, I need to - I apologize for asking this, which I thought was - as someone who knows from backing into a question.
BURBANK: I thought that was backing into a question.
STEWART: Well, when I heard the apology, I thought it was, I'm about to ask you about your sex life, you - a U.S. senator on television. So I actually didn't think it was that inappropriate to say I'm apologizing for asking you an extraordinarily personal question.
BURBANK: Yeah. I kind of just felt like with the fact that this guy is a senator, with the various allegations that have been out there, I felt like it was fair for Lauer to ask sort of pointed questions.
STEWART: His questions were very direct, though, but they weren't in the Mike Wallace School of got you, which is what Shales wanted to see. And, you know, I like Tom Shales as a reviewer, but just because that's how he wants to see an interview conducted doesn't mean it's the right way to conduct an interview.
BURBANK: Well, then, right as we're talking about it our new, uber boss Allen McDonald saunters out into the bull pen and says, I thought it was a great interview as well. So I immediately agreed with her.
STEWART: See, oh, yeah. I…
BURBANK: And then…
STEWART: I'll have something that's extra in my paycheck this week.
BURBANK: Yeah, exactly. Checkmate, Stewart. All right, well, that is today's BPP Big Story. Now we've got Rachel Martin with the news.
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