Sen. John Ensign, R-NV, returned to the Capitol Monday, the first time since admitting to an extra-marrital affair with a former member of his staff.
The reception on the Senate floor amongst his colleagues was jovial and warm. The body has been described as "the world's most exclusive club," and it felt like that today -- like the members were welcoming a long, lost friend. There were handshakes and slaps on the back. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, Ensign's political nemesis in the 2008 Congressional elections, even had what appeared to be a friendly conversation with the embattled senator.
Ensign did not even face the usual gauntlet of press that stalk a member of Congress who has admitted to this kind of thing. Outside his office, two TV cameras and two still still photographers, with a small handful of reporters awaited.
Ensign strode directly at the awaiting media, no dodging down back hallways, as some in his predicament have done in the past.
The senator studiously avoided discussing the affair, saying only, "I have said all I am going to say on the topic," referring to the press conference he held in his home town of Las Vegas last week.
Ensign walked out of the Russell Senate Office Building, with the handful of media in tow, crossed the street, and walked directly into the Capitol for a vote.
"I will continue to work for the people of Nevada," Ensign said, when reporters asked about whether or not this would have an affect on his political future.
Ensign is rumored to be exploring a run for President in 2012, when his Senate seat is up, a move the senator, himself, denies publicly. Ensign recently traveled to Iowa, home of the Iowa Caucuses and a crucial stop for any presidential hopeful.