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GOP watch: Ensign's standing ovation

At a Chamber of Commerce lunch in Nevada, Sen. John Ensign told The Associated Press on Wednesday that his affair with a friend's wife was different from former President Bill Clinton's relationship with a White House intern because he didn't lie about it under oath. 'I haven't done anything legally wrong,' the Nevada Republican said. 'President Clinton stood right before the American people and he lied to the American people,' Ensign said. 'You remember that famous day he lied to the American people, plus the fact I thought he committed perjury. That's why I voted for the articles of impeachment.'" He got a standing ovation after he was introduced.

"Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney says President Barack Obama is struggling to get a health care bill because he has been too deferential to the liberal wing of his party. Interviewed from Boston Thursday on CBS's 'The Early Show,' Romney said he thinks the president must shoulder the blame for the gridlocked situation surrounding health care legislation. He said Obama gave too much influence to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others. Romney said that 'if the president wants to get something done, he needs to put aside the extreme liberal wing of his party.' Romney, who ran for the Republican presidential nod last year, said Medicare and Medicaid already account for virtually half of health care and there shouldn't be any greater federal role."

But has Romney allowed Tim Pawlenty to become more associated with the debate over health care? Politico: "Minnesota GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty, best known among Republicans for his fiscal record, has discovered a policy niche that is beginning to pay dividends for his prospective 2012 presidential bid: health care. Though party insiders tend to be more familiar with the two-term governor's record of balancing his state's budget three times when facing deficits without raising taxes, he is emerging as a key GOP voice during the health care debate by occupying a space between two party poles, with former Alaska GOP Gov. Sarah Palin and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich positioned on one side and former Massachusetts GOP Gov. Mitt Romney on the other."