Textual Analysis: John Ensign's Apology Letter Contains Sorrow, Contrition, Plus-Signs

Illustration for article titled Textual Analysis: John Ensign's Apology Letter Contains Sorrow, Contrition, Plus-Signs

A Las Vegas columnist has published a letter from Nevada Senator John Ensign to his employee/mistress Cynthia Hampton, in which he attempts (unsuccessfully) to end their affair. A crap letter from a Senator can only mean one thing ...


... footnotes!

Feb. 2008


This is the most important letter I've ever written [1]. What I did with you was wrong. I was completely self-centered + only thinking of myself [2]. I used you for my own pleasure [3], not letting thoughts of you, Doug [childrens' names] come into my mind...I betrayed everything I believed in [4] and lied to myself over + over. I justified my actions because I blamed my wife.

Doug has been a great friend to me through the years [5] + I threw all of that away over wanting to feel good.

I take 100 % responsibility for my actions, plain + simple it was wrong; it was sin. God never intended for me to do this. I walked away from Him and my relationship with Him has suffered terribly. I know He loves me and He loves you. He wants to restore Doug and you [6].

More than that He wants to restore our relationships to Him [7].



1. This letter shares its opening line with three other Ensign correspondences: a letter to the General Mills Co. complaining about Lucky Charms cereal (not "lucky"), a 1998 Christmas newsletter detailing the soccer accomplishments of Ensign's three children, and a 1968 Valentine to which we will refer henceforth as "Lindsey Jameson I lllllove you!"
2. The repeated use of the plus-sign is consistent with the typography of "Lindsey Jameson I lllllove you!" and helps to authenticate the letter. The only other possible writer is Las Vegas fourth-grader Jessica Arnold, whose connection to Cynthia Hampton has not been established.
3. It has been alleged that Cynthia Hampton is in fact an inanimate object. This view is bolstered by Doug Hampton's suggestion that his wife was "was powerless to prevent the continuing affair." Our own Megan Carpentier reports that Cynthia Hampton "has no autonomy or sexual desires of her own." Though no official photographs of Ms. Hampton have been released, rival paparazzi have snapped this and this.
4. Unlike the closing line of "Lindsey Jameson I lllllove you!" ("I will love you for ever and ever and never forget you"), this statement is actually true. Ensign's coveting of his neighbor's wife is at odds with his membership in the Promise Keepers organization, and his 2004 statement in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment: "Marriage is the cornerstone on which our society was founded. For those who say that the Constitution is so sacred that we cannot or should not adopt the Federal Marriage Amendment, I would simply point out that marriage, and the sanctity of that institution, predates the American Constitution and the founding of our nation." Ensign also called for Bill Clinton's resignation in 1998, saying that after an affair with employee Monica Lewinsky, "He has no credibility left."
5. "Through the years" here apparently means "until the affair," after which point Doug Hampton tried to take Ensign to court, and, when that didn't work, gave the story to FOX News and may have begun a campaign of extortion.
6. God apparently enacted his plan of restoration via his agents, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn and other Washington conservatives. Acting on behalf of God, Coburn suggested that Ensign pay the Hamptons in excess of $1 million so they could pay off their mortgage and moved to Colorado. This form of penance is found in Ecclesiastes 4:15, "whosoever shall covet his neighbor's wife, if he be a senator, shall pay for this wife to move to a Western state popular with both hippies and Christians."
7. In response to this, God wrote, "Whatever. You did not come through with the $$$ + Colorado thing. Going to FOX."

Ensign "Letter" To Mistress: I Used You For "Pleasure" [Politico]
Sen. John Ensign, Mistress' Husband Point Fingers At Each Other [LA Times]
Hampton Speaks Publicly, Says Ensign Paid Severance [Las Vegas Sun]

Earlier: Husband Of Senator's Mistress Will Go To Any Lengths To Get Revenge



Is it just me or is the whole tone of this letter extremely childish? I cannot believe that U.S. Senator penned this letter- aren't these guys supposed to write shit for a living?