Robert Novak

Sen. Ted Stevens, the strong-willed Appropriations Committee chairman, will have an unusual guest on a fishing trip in his home state of Alaska next week: Josh Bolten, the newly installed director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Stevens and other leaders of the House and Senate appropriations committees clashed frequently with Bolten's predecessor at OMB, Mitch Daniels (now running for governor of Indiana). While not changing policy, Bolten is seeking more cordial relations. He will be Stevens's guest at a private lodge in southeastern Alaska.

A footnote: In his first Capitol Hill encounter as budget chief, Bolten ran into withering fire at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday from Democratic Sen. Joseph Biden over funding of Iraq operations. Friends say Bolten was surprised how little help he got from Republican senators.


Gay activist Stephen Herbits, who worked temporarily at the Pentagon on two occasions in 2001 and 2002, has settled in as a special adviser to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Herbits now has his name on the door and has been assigned a Pentagon e-mail address. A longtime friend and ally of Rumsfeld, he is clearing all major personnel choices in the Defense Department.

In 2000, former Seagrams executive Herbits contributed $17,000 to Democratic causes, including $13,000 to the Democratic National Committee and $1,000 to the Gore-Lieberman Recount Fund. Federal records show no 2000 political contributions by Herbits to Republicans. Generally, even contributors to other Republican candidates in 2000 have had trouble getting named to the Bush administration.

Robert Novak

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

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