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Washington Sketch: Senate Republicans Not Exactly Abuzz About Ensign

The senator everybody's talking about (with notable exceptions).
The senator everybody's talking about (with notable exceptions). (Isaac Brekken - AP)
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"Well, there should be," Isakson shot back.

Ensign's affair dealt a double blow to Republicans: He wouldn't be around to lead the party in the annual Congressional Baseball Game, scheduled for last night, and he wouldn't be able to serve as a member of Senate GOP leadership anymore. "He's already resigned from leadership," Jim Bunning of Kentucky growled as he walked into the lunch meeting. This turned out to be a scoop: An official announcement followed a few minutes later.

But the resignation did not stop the no-comment parade. One by one they brushed by, ignoring questions: Kit Bond of Missouri, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. "Why is this different from Larry Craig?" somebody asked John Cornyn of Texas. Cornyn responded by turning his back and walking away.

Reporters mobbed Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who shares an apartment with Ensign on Capitol Hill. "I'm not answering any Ensign questions," he announced. "You can ask all you want."

"You don't have any thoughts?"

"I don't have any thoughts."

"Have you had a chance to talk about it?"

"I'm just not going to comment."

Finally, Coburn was badgered into making a defense. "He is a bright young man," the senator said of his 51-year-old colleague. "Lots of people make mistakes."

True, though it sometimes seems a disproportionate number of them are in Congress.


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