Ensign to present Angle to GOP senators

In her first chance to make a personal impression on Republican senators who she wants to sit alongside next year, Nevada hopeful Sharron Angle is scheduled to speak to them at lunch Tuesday in the U.S. Capitol, a spokesman said.

Angle's attendance at the Republican luncheon raised the question whether she would be introduced by Sen. John Ensign. The fellow Nevada Republican knows her best but his profile during the campaign has been lower than low due to the taint from his extramarital affair and his status as the target of dual ethics and criminal investigations into its aftermath.

Ensign's spokeswoman Jennifer Cooper confirmed this evening that Ensign will be at the lunch and will be presenting Angle to the caucus. The luncheon takes place behind closed doors.

Angle last week suggested on a talk show in Nevada that she might be open to getting help from Ensign. For his part, Ensign said he "wants to help and not hurt" Angle and would play whatever role -- or none-- that she wants.

Democrats and Republicans gather for their weekly luncheons in separate rooms a few steps from the Senate floor. Attendance at a Senate lunch is considered a rite of passage for most candidates, where they are introduced and say a few words about their quest for the office.

Following lunch, Angle will meet with Sen. John Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and NRSC staff, to discuss her bid to unseat Sen. Harry Reid, according to consultant Larry Hart.

It may be a surprise if Angle stops and talks much to Capitol reporters on her way in or out of the lunch. Her exposure to the media so far has been limited to shows with friendly conservative hosts.

Hart said the candidate will be "going from meeting to meeting" during her two days in Washington.

On Wednesday, Angle will be seeking to build support among various conservative groups. First is a meeting of the Center Right Coalition, founded by anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist.

Later, Angle will lunch with social conservatives at a gathering founded by the late Paul Weyrich, one of the founders of the modern conservative movement.