Robert Novak
WASHINGTON -- New York City may lose the 2004 Republican National Convention because Mayor Michael Bloomberg's attitude offended national Republican operatives. Problems with the city's Republican mayor are added to the high cost of New York labor, with party sources claiming Bloomberg acts as though he is entitled to special treatment. A December dinner meeting between Bloomberg and Karl Rove, President Bush's senior adviser, was described by these sources as unfortunate. However, the White House says the session was cordial. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is pictured as not anxious to host the convention in Tampa. That leaves New Orleans, which most delegates would prefer. The knock against New Orleans, for some insiders, is that it might look like an unimaginative copying of the convention site where Bush's father was nominated for the first time in 1988. SLOW ON SNOW Treasury-Secretary Designate John Snow faces so much Democratic scrutiny that he will not be confirmed by the Senate until long after the economic stimulus package is proposed on Tuesday by President Bush. Democratic senators want to look into organized labor's criticism of Snow's record as CEO of the CSX railroad company. His sale of CSX stock prior to bad economic news also may be investigated. Although the Senate Finance Committee has returned to Republican control, Democrats can still slow down the confirmation process. Detailed paperwork accompanying Snow's confirmation will not reach Capitol Hill before Jan. 10. The Finance Committee needs another 10 days to study the documents after that before hearings can be scheduled. FRIST'S TOP AIDE Veteran Republican operative Mitch Bainwol has been interrupted on his way to opening a lucrative lobbyist's office in Washington to return to Sen. Bill Frist's payroll as the Senate majority leader's chief of staff. Bainwol had left the big Clark and Weinstock lobbying firm in Washington to run 2002 Senate Republican campaigns under Frist's chairmanship at the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He was ready to open a single-proprietor lobbying shop when Frist beckoned him back. A footnote: While most of Lott's other staffers are on the street looking for work, Frist is retaining G. William Hoagland as his budget chief. Long the budget expert for Sen. Pete Domenici (who is stepping aside as the Senate Budget Committee's top Republican), Hoagland had just been hired by Lott. Frist has no budget experience and called Hoagland on Christmas Eve to hire him. THUNE IN '04? Rep. John Thune, who was talked into a losing 2002 Senate race in South Dakota by President Bush, is receiving a symbolic White House boost for the state's other Senate seat. The invitation to a lobbyist-financed reception Thursday night on Capitol Hill for two new Republican senators lists as "special guests" Thune, Deputy Republican National Chairman Jack Oliver and White House political aide Ken Mehlman. Oliver and Mehlman have been tapped to run the 2004 Bush re-election effort, and their presence connotes backing for Thune. Former Gov. Bill Janklow, newly elected to Congress, has made clear to Thune that he eyes the Republican nomination next year against Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle. Private polls show Thune well ahead of Janklow and about even with Daschle. NO HEAVY LIFTING The Republican leadership schedule shows less than four full days of voting in the House of Representatives for the entire month of January despite a heavy backlog of unfinished bills from last year. The House convenes at noon on Jan. 7 and ends all voting at 5 p.m. Jan. 9. No more votes will be held until 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 27, and all voting for the month will end at 2 p.m. on Jan. 29. February's schedule shows no more heavy lifting, with less than five days dedicated to House roll calls. GOP leaders claim that they can get a lot done in a short time thanks to House rules, and it is the Senate that takes forever to get anything done.

Robert Novak

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

 
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