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The Stevens fallout begins

From NBC's Ken Strickland
The political fallout over Sen. Ted Stevens' (R-AK) indictment started today on Capitol Hill. His Republican colleagues weren't exactly throwing him under the bus, but they didn't push him out of its way either as Stevens faces a tough reelection in November.   

Sen. John Ensign, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, declined to endorse Stevens' campaign for reelection. The NRSC describes itself on it's Web site as "the only political committee solely dedicated to electing Republicans to the U.S. Senate."

VIDEO: Guest host Mike Barnicle talks about the ten U.S. senators indicted while in office in the Hardball Big Number.

Ensign, instead of endorsing the longest serving Senate Republican in history, said he wanted to wait for the results of Alaska's Republican primary on August 26th. Stevens faces six opponents. 

"The candidates are on the ballot right now, and we're going to wait to see how that whole thing plays out," Ensign said.

"Do you still endorse Sen. Stevens?" a reporter asked Ensign. 

"I've said exactly what I was going to say," Ensign responded. "We'll wait and see how the process plays out."

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, another member of the Senate's GOP leadership team, was also noncommittal. 

"He has every right [to fight the indictment] as any American citizen would do and to continue with his life and his career," she said. 

Does that in include running for re-election? 

"Look, he's had one day to absorb this," Hutchinson continued. "So I'm going to support his ability to do what he needs to do to protect himself and his reputation."

As for Stevens himself today, it was business as usual: he showed up for work in his office this morning, attended a Senate committee hearing and voted on the floor.