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Ensign Calls on Craig to Resign

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Ensign (Nev.) on Thursday called for Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) to honor his original resignation speech and his personal commitment to Republicans that he would resign if the judge did not vitiate his guilty plea.He gave us his word that he would resign. ... Im calling on Sen. Craig to keep his word, said Ensign. If he loves his party, and he loves the Senate, the honorable thing to do is to resign.Craig announced earlier Thursday that he would finish his current term, despite a Minnesota judges denial of his request to withdraw his guilty plea to misdemeanor charges related to a sex sting in a Minneapolis airport restroom.Ensign disputed the notion that Republicans were going after Craig for a mere misdemeanor crime.Its not an ordinary misdemeanor charge, said Ensign. The type of behavior were talking about here is not the type of behavior a Senator should be engaged in.The Republican National Committee was also expected to echo Ensigns comments.However, Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) applauded his home-state colleagues decision, saying he expected the Senate Ethics Committee to delay any probe until after Craig has exhausted his opportunities to appeal the judges ruling today.Like all citizens of this country, he has the right to vigorously defend his case, said Crapo. I look forward to working with him in the Senate.Still, an ethics inquiry appears all but certain.Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the ranking member on Ethics, said Craig potentially violated Senate rules by pleading guilty in the first place. But he deferred other questions, saying, I cant really comment on it other than to say, well have to do our job in the Ethics Committee. But Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), an early supporter of Craigs legal strategy, said Craigs offense was not moral turpitude, and its not a basis for leaving the Senate.Senate Republican leaders, however, continued to deflect questions.This whole matter is before the Ethics Committee. So it will be dealt with I assume by Sen. Craig and the Ethics Committee, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said.

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