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Sen. Craig tells what really happened ...
By Carl Hiaasen
Rejected first draft of Sen. Larry's Craig's press statement about his arrest in a restroom at the Minneapolis airport:
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming out today.
Joined by my devoted wife, I'm here to assure the citizens of the great state of Idaho that I am not gay and never have been gay.
How do I know?
Because every week I answer a simple, are-you-gay survey that I clipped out of a reputable underground men's magazine and carry around in my very masculine rawhide wallet.
The survey questions are pretty easy _ Can I whistle more than three Broadway show tunes? Do I tint my eyebrows? Can I make a quiche? Stuff like that.
The most points I've ever scored is 73, and you aren't officially gay unless you score 75 or higher. So there!
As an outspoken crusader for conservative family values, I have extensively researched the gay lifestyle and trained myself to identify its sinister operatives.
I usually remain on guard, but my concentration lapsed that fateful day in the Minneapolis airport. Let me explain.
Yes, as the police report says, I peeked into an adjoining stall in the men's room. That's because I thought I recognized the gentleman _ he looked like a strapping young trout guide who once floated the Snake River with me _ and I wanted to say howdy.
That's the extra-friendly Idahoan coming out in me, but apparently the rules are different in the big city. The fellow rudely ignored me, so I sat down to take care of business.
As the police report states, I did start tapping my right foot. I have since come to learn that that is a common signal for persons wishing to make sexual contact in public restrooms.
In my case, the explanation is totally innocent. There was this song playing on my iPod _ Vogue, by Madonna (the live version!) _ and my feet just went crazy to the beat.
Now, I defy anyone, Democrat or Republican, to listen to that cut (the drum work is absolutely fierce!) and not start to boogie.
And yes, as the police report alleges, my right foot veered slightly under the divider and touched the foot of the gentleman who was in the next stall.
Later I found out that this is another sign often employed between men trying to "hook up." Who knew?
Back in Crested Butte, you might get your teeth knocked out for playing footsies with another guy, but you wouldn't get arrested and have your name splashed all over the headlines and end up as a joke in Letterman's monologue. Geez Louise!
The police complaint goes on to say that I put my left hand under the stall divider three times, making an overt gesture to the other fellow (who, unfortunately, turned out to be an undercover officer).
Again, I have a simple explanation. There's a little-known cowboy custom _ even some cowboys haven't heard of it _ that says you always wave three times when saying goodbye to strangers.
Once more, my Western friendliness got me into trouble.
So why did I plead guilty to disorderly conduct if I did nothing wrong?
I was tricked by those crafty, big-city prosecutors in Minnesota. Not being a legal sharpie, I had no idea that pleading guilty was actually the same as admitting guilt.
I apologize to my family, the voters of Idaho and to the Republican Party, which needs another sex scandal like Lindsay Lohan needs another vodka.
Mark Foley was dumb enough to e-mail those congressional pages, and David Vittner, my Senate colleague from Louisiana, was dumb enough to give his phone number to that escort service.
Me? I didn't tell anybody my real name until after I was busted!
Back in 1999, when I still wasn't gay, I voted to impeach Bill Clinton for lying about having sex with that intern (I forget her name, but she had killer hair).
At the time, I told Tim Russert of NBC that Clinton was "a nasty, bad, naughty boy" who deserved a spanking. I stand by those words, as weird as they might sound today. Clinton was a very naughty boy.
I'm not. I'm a hard-working senator who believes in traditional values _ faith, family and a strict justice system, except as it is applied to certain sitting members of Congress.
Standing humbly before you this morning, I can honestly say that I'm as not-gay right now as I have ever been in my whole life. In fact, I'm so not-gay that the gay community wants nothing to do with me.
This silly Minneapolis restroom incident has been blown out of proportion so badly, and it's time to set the record straight.
Here's a promise to the good folks of Idaho: I am so not-gay that I will quiz myself every morning with that magazine survey, and publish the results in the Congressional Record for all to see.
The day I turn gay, you will be the first to know.
Then you can spank me all you like. Please.
Carl Hiaasen is a columnist for the Miami Herald. Readers may write to him at: 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla. 33132.
(c) 2007, The Miami Herald.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
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