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McConnell hedges on Ensign’s re-election support

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell seemed less than thrilled Tuesday when he was asked about Nevada Sen. John Ensign’s intention to run for re-election in 2012 even as a sex and payoff scandal hangs over his head.

Ensign’s comment to the Las Vegas Sun on Monday that he would not resign, and indeed was planning to seek another six-year term, prompted a question at McConnell’s weekly meeting with the Capitol press corps.

Asked if he still supported Ensign, the chief Republican said, "Well, I think Senator Ensign will have to speak to those issues himself."

McConnell and other Republican leaders Lamar Alexander, Lisa Murkowski and John Cornyn were pitching the GOP position on health care and their take on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, when the Ensign query pulled them off message.

The exchange suggested that the cloud over Ensign will continue raining on Republican leaders, as long as there continue to be questions about the Nevadan’s extramarital affair with family friend Cindy Hampton, and the disclosure that his parents subsequently paid $96,000 to the woman and her family.

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