Why Now?


Once Ensign admits to the affair, the lurid details lose a bit of their edge. If you’re into lurid details (and sleeping with your employee’s wife is pretty darn lurid). I’m more interested in what prompted this now? Was Larry Flynt on the prowl? The National Enquirer? For a guy who harbored presidential ambitions, this is tough blow to his hopes for 2012. So something had to give. What was it?

Late Update: Politico has more detail, including a reported demand for money from the husband of Ensign’s lover:

Political insiders in the Senate and in Nevada told POLITICO that Ensign began an affair with a staffer several months after he separated from his wife. When Ensign reconciled with his wife, the sources said, he gave the aide a severance package and parted ways.

Sometime later, a Nevada source said, Ensign met with the husband of the woman involved and had what this source described as a positive encounter. Sources said that the man subsequently asked Ensign for a substantial sum of money – at which point Ensign decided to make the affair public.


David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.