Heller urges Ensign to start coming clean

Rep. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) is speaking out about Sen. John Ensign's (R-Nev.) affair, and he's not exactly helping his fellow Nevada Republican.

In comments to local political reporter Jon Ralston, Heller said Ensign is doing himself a disservice by not speaking more publicly about the affair.

When asked by Ralston in a TV interview whether Ensign should be talking about the situation, Heller said, "I think he should."

"I don't want to speculate, but until John talks, we haven't seen the end of it," Heller said, according to the Las Vegas Sun.

Heller this week opted not to run for the state's other Senate seat - a campaign that would have pitted him against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). And he acknowledged Ensign's affair played a role in his decision, calling it an "important part" of his thought process.

"It just gave pause," he said. "I had anticipated, in a good campaign like this, Sen. Ensign being there with me.

"Sen. Ensign had to be there when I announced. Sen. Ensign had to deflect some of the attacks that would have occurred in a very rough and tumble campaign like that. All of a sudden, that variable was out."

Heller never seemed particularly likely the take the plunge against Reid, but if that was actually the case, why would he start blaming Ensign -- even a just a little -- for his decision? It seems there are some hard feelings about the political impact of Ensign's decision.

Whatever the case, Ensign, a former chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), appears to have cost his former committee with one of its potential prize candidates.