Already shell-shocked Senate Republicans are lending only tepid support to Ted Stevens, the Politico reports. Both parties are withholding judgment on the Alaskan elder statesman until the federal corruption probe that came to light this week is complete, and they won't pressure the 83-year-old to quit his committee posts unless he's charged with a crime.
Meanwhile, Stevens warns that he may try to block the ethics bill that passed the House yesterday. His case is casting a shadow on a Senate rocked by controversy over immigration, the Iraq war, and David Vitter's indiscretions. "Every week, I think, 'How much worse can things get in the Senate?' We're at the bottom," says minority whip Trent Lott.