Robert Novak

House Republican anger at Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist intensified when it was learned he met with House Speaker Dennis Hastert after the secret Senate deal to limit tax reduction, but did not inform him of it.

However, the principal target of House anger is Senate Budget Committee Chairman Don Nickles, who is considered the driving force behind the secret deal. While Frist is new to the Senate leadership, Nickles is an old hand who just finished six years as Senate Republican whip.

A footnote: With Congress still in its Easter recess, Frist returned to Washington Wednesday from an Asian trip. He immediately got on the telephone to make amends for what his staff privately concedes was a blunder of major proportions.


Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Mike Bloomberg, having won the 2004 Republican National Convention for New York City, now face the daunting task of raising some $55 million to make it happen.

Given the soft economy and competing campaign demands, the city's corporate leaders so far are anything but generous in financing the convention. A complicating factor: While access to space for entertainment is usually an incentive for contributions, many corporate executives have their own facilities in New York.

A footnote: Republican leaders are chortling that Democratic National Chairman Terry McAuliffe was out-foxed in the national convention schedule. The long interval between the July meeting of Democrats in Boston and the September GOP convention means Democrats will have to eat into scarce funds to keep their national ticket before the public.

Robert Novak

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

©Creators Syndicate