"While I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct at the Minneapolis airport or anywhere else, I chose to plead guilty to a lesser charge in the hope of making it go away."
Craig now says the guilty plea was a mistake, painting quite a different portrait than he did just three weeks ago in court documents in which he stated "I'm pleading guilty" to "physical" conduct that tended "to arouse alarm." He entered that plea "freely and voluntarily."
Craig pleaded guilty to those disorderly conduct charges without an attorney.
"I should not have kept this arrest to myself, and should have told my family and my friends about it. I wasn't eager to share this failure, but I should have anyway because I am not gay," a contrite Craig said Tuesday.
Craig blamed the situation on pressure from an investigation by his hometown newspaper, which ran a front page story outlining three additional alleged sexual encounters.
In a written statement Tuesday, Republican leaders had no words of support for their colleague in the Senate. Rather, they called for an Ethics Committee to review Craig's guilty plea and are "examining other aspects of the case to see if additional action is required."
Idaho Republican Gov. Butch Otter, the man who would be responsible for picking Craig's replacement if he were to resign, said today that he and his wife support Craig, whom he has known for 40 years.
"I want Larry and Suzanne to know that Laurie and I stand by them," Otter said. "I urge everyone to give our senator a fair hearing. He is an honorable man. And I am confident that Larry Craig will do what is best for him, his family and the state of Idaho."
Across the aisle, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., said he wanted to hear more from Craig himself before coming to any conclusions.
"I at least want to give him a chance to hear his side of the story," Dodd told CNN. I'm a Democrat. He's a very conservative Republican. We don't agree on much, but give him a little space here to defend himself."