Vitter Returns To Senate

Tuesday, July 17th 2007, 12:01 pm
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Louisiana Sen. David Vitter returned to the Capitol Tuesday, dodging camera crews where possible and refusing to take reporters' questions about a sex scandal that sent him into seclusion for a week.

The first-term Republican said he wanted to resume his normal Senate schedule, but that proved difficult as news crews camped outside his office and chased him down hallways. Vitter, 46, has acknowledged ``a serious sin'' after his Washington telephone number was found among those called several years ago by an escort service that prosecutors say was a prostitution ring.

Vitter and his wife Wendy told reporters Monday in Metairie, La., that their marriage is strong and the senator plans to continue his political career. Vitter said other allegations made against him are untrue, apparently referring to a New Orleans woman's claim that he had frequented her brothel in the 1990s.

The couple took no questions, and Vitter flew back to Washington after a week's absence.

On Tuesday morning he did not appear at his office in the Hart Senate Office Building, where a gaggle of cameras and journalists waited. But he did attend a commerce subcommittee hearing on ``air services to small and rural communities'' in the nearby Russell building.

When Vitter left, while the hearing continued, reporters chased him down a hallway until he turned and calmly addressed them. He said he and his wife already had made ``very straightforward statements about all of this. And I look forward today to being back at work, really focused on a lot of important issues for the people of Louisiana, like what we were discussing in the committee hearing.''

He then continued down the hallway, ignoring questions. After exiting the building, he stepped into a waiting white Isuzu Rodeo and was driven away.