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Ensign: Candidates Want Me To Campaign For Them

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Ensign did not specify which candidates he was talking about. The Senate Republican leadership has declined to strongly back him since he admitted to the affair this summer.

Since that admission, questions have lingered, apparently convincing Ensign to break his silence this morning.

In the interview, Ensign called sleeping with a top staffer's wife "a huge mistake," but declared he had no intention of resigning. "I was elected to a six year term by the people of Nevada, and I fully intend on serving that out," he said.

Asked whether he had secured a job for Doug Hampton, his girlfriend's husband, after Hampton left the senator's employ, Ensign responded that as a veterinarian, a member of the House, and a senator, he had "recommended countless employees" for jobs over the years. He said his help for Hampton was no different.

"I called several people and said, 'hey would you interview him,?'" he said.

As he has before, Ensign denied that he had violated lobbying or ethics rules by encouraging Hampton to lobby his office. "It's perfectly legal," he said. "I complied with all Senate ethics rules and applicable laws."

Ensign added that he had received "thousands and thousands of emails, phone calls, and letters" expressing support.

As for his relationship with his wife, things could hardly be better. "We're actually doing better than we've ever done before," said the philandering senator. "I happen to be very fortunate to have a forgiving wife."

Asked whether he now regrets calling for President Clinton's resignation over his affair with Monica Lewinsky, Ensign did not respond directly.

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