Today is John Ensign's last day in the Senate after two years of sex scandal, and instead of slipping away quietly as the world is riveted by the news of Osama bin Laden's death, Ensign soldiered on with his speech apologizing for his own "self-importance." Speaking on the Senate floor, Ensign explained that when he slept with the wife of his best friend and top aide and then tried to cover it up with his parents giving the couple $96,000, he "was blind about how arrogant and self-centered I had become. ... My urge to believe in my own self-importance was stronger than the power to fight it," according to USA Today's Catalina Camia.
Ensign said he now knows he was wrong to judge scandal-plagued colleagues like Larry Craig (charged with cruising an airport bathroom) and Ted Stevens (accused of corruption). He had called on both senators to resign. "It was a hard lesson to learn," Ensign said Monday. "I hope I now show mercy to people who come into my life who truly need it." Federal prosecutors do not intend to charge Ensign with any wrongdoing, though they've indicted his former aide for violating ethics rules by becoming a lobbyist too soon after stopping his work for Congress. The Senate Ethics Committee is expected to complete its investigation into Ensign, however.