Robert Novak
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report warning of global warming dangers was issued without President Bush being informed in advance, even though it seemed to contradict his long-held position. That's why Bush dismissed what the EPA did as a "report put out by the bureaucracy." The president did not mention EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, the former governor of New Jersey who has frequently clashed with the White House. A footnote: White House aides were irritated when Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, fresh from his Africa tour with rock star Bono, did nothing Friday to mark the first anniversary of the Bush tax cut's passage. Instead, he attended a grandchild's graduation ceremony. HITTING KARL ROVE WASHINGTON -- Journalist Ron Suskind's Esquire magazine article on the imminent departure of presidential aide Karen Hughes, the talk of Washington when it was published last week, was widely interpreted as mainly a blast at senior presidential counselor Karl Rove. White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card was quoted as indicating Hughes's departure is bad news for George W. Bush's presidency, with nobody left to counter Rove's influence. White House aides deny any animus between Card and Rove, and say the two were kidding about the Esquire article when they read it Wednesday morning. Nevertheless, President Bush was reported to be unhappy that Card had let himself be interpreted as hostile to Rove. A footnote: Suskind was given unusual access at the White House thanks to a recommendation by Mark McKinnon, Bush's media expert who is a Texas Democrat. CONDI FOR SENATOR Prominent California Republicans, desperate for star power in coming statewide campaigns, will try to talk National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice into challenging Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer in 2004. Rice, the former Stanford University provost, was first mentioned for high political office in 1990, when then Gov. Pete Wilson considered her to fill the Senate vacancy created when he was elected governor. Instead, Wilson appointed little known State Sen. John Seymour, and no California Republican has been elected to the Senate since then. President Bush was not agreeable to losing Rice from his foreign policy team when the possibility was raised of her running for governor of California this year. She never has sought elective office, and her entire public career has been devoted to international affairs. ADVICE FOR THE FBI Well-placed congressional supporters of FBI Director Robert Mueller have urged him to get his agency off the defensive in trying to explain away its lapses, and instead admit past errors. Within the joint investigation underway by House and Senate intelligence committees, Mueller is much more popular than CIA Director George Tenet. However, the congressional investigators are displeased by FBI officials who will not admit to failures in analyzing data that could have predicted the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. A footnote: During a recent three-day period, Mueller spent more than 11 hours testifying to Congress. ADVICE FROM D.C. New York State Senate President Joe Bruno was surprised to receive recent telephone calls from Vice President Dick Cheney urging him to renegotiate with Democrats on a congressional redistricting plan for the state. As a result, the plan by a court-appointed federal master was abandoned at the eleventh hour. New York political leaders of both parties were surprised by Washington's intervention because the master's plan threatened the elimination of two Democrats: Reps. John LaFalce and Maurice Hinchey. But the plan made several Republican incumbents less secure -- especially Rep. Tom Reynolds, who is slated to be the next House GOP campaign chairman. With New York losing two House seats as a result of the 2000 census, the newly negotiated redistricting appears to eliminate two veteran House members: Republican Ben Gilman and Democrat Louise Slaughter. House colleagues are pressing President Bush to find an ambassadorial appointment for the 79-year-old Gilman, a former chairman of the House International Relations Committee.

Robert Novak

Robert Novak (1931-2009) was a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report.
 

 
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