Sen. John Ensign in spotlight upon return

Sen. John Ensign returned to Capitol Hill Monday, a week after admitting an extramarital affair, but stayed largely silent under the media glare.

The Nevada Republican showed up at his first-floor office in the Russell Senate Office Building in the afternoon, declining to comment in detail to reporters.

A handful of reporters and photographers had kept watch over Ensign’s office from the end of a hallway connecting it to the Senate subway for about two hours.

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Emerging for a procedural vote on a tourism promotion bill with Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback (R), Ensign walked from the Russell building outdoors to the front door of the Senate as a half-dozen reporters and cameramen trailed him.

Ensign repeatedly resisted commenting when asked details about his affair with a staffer and reports that extortion was involved. He instead referred reporters to his public statement in Las Vegas last Monday, at which he refused to take questions.

“I have no more other comments to make,” he said. “I have nothing further to add.”

The senator repeated variations of that statement seven times when asked about the affair and whether he would resign. He has already resigned as GOP policy chairman, the Senate’s No. 5 leadership position among Republicans

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Asked what he’s done since returning to Washington, Ensign said he has talked to other senators and has “been getting back to work for the people of Nevada.”

Ensign was greeted warmly by his Republican colleagues when he walked  on to the Senate floor.

Under the watch of Senate reporters, GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and GOP Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.) made pointed displays of shaking Ensign’s hand and grasping his shoulder. The senator retreated to his desk, sitting next to Sen. Tom Coburn (Okla.), his D.C. housemate, for an extended conversation.