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Washington Sketch: Senate Republicans Not Exactly Abuzz About Ensign
And so the senators embraced the usual solution of loving the sinner and not saying much about the sin.
"I don't know the facts surrounding John's situation," said Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, one of the few GOP senators who weren't observing no-comment day, "but Lord knows if we kicked everybody out of here who made a mistake, we'd be short-handed forever."
Lindsey Graham, the voluble South Carolinian, took that thought a step further. "I have plenty of sins, and I'm not going to tell you about them," he told reporters.
But those bursts of candor were the exception in a Senate GOP caucus that was, for the most part, determined to get to a party luncheon yesterday without discussing the affair Ensign had with his chief of staff's wife. Complicating the task was The Post's Paul Kane, who stood in the doorway between senators and their lunch.
"I'm not going to comment on that," said Jim DeMint of South Carolina, developing a sudden interest in his BlackBerry. "I just have to try to absorb it myself -- heh, heh," he added with a mirthless chuckle.
"It's a personal matter," said Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, not breaking stride. John Barrasso of Wyoming hurried past with a cellphone to his ear, waving. Mike Crapo of Idaho jiggled the keys in his pocket and announced that "I'm going to reserve comment." Susan Collins of Maine flashed an uncomfortable grin. "Um, I don't have a comment right now, thank you," she said.
Orrin Hatch of Utah tried to do the same, but Kane was ready for him. "In these instances in the past, you've talked a lot," he pointed out.
Hatch touched Kane's arm. "He's good, isn't he?" the Utah lawmaker said before pleading: "Behave yourselves now and be kind to a poor old beat-up senator." He was referring to himself, not Ensign.
Others, approached for comment, sought the help of a higher power. "I'm praying for the Ensign family," said Vitter, ignoring the other questions as he walked away.
"Thoughts and prayers are with his family," said Jeff Sessions of Alabama, doing the same.
"I haven't done anything except say a prayer for him," contributed Johnny Isakson of Georgia.
"There's a lot of praying going on," observed Roll Call reporter Jessica Brady.