Robert Novak

WASHINGTON -- New York billionaire entrepreneur Donald Trump telephoned his friend Arnold Schwarzenegger Tuesday and told him he better get rid of billionaire stock-picker Warren Buffett as his economic adviser if he wants to be elected governor of California.

Trump told Schwarzenegger that he holds substantial real estate in California and that increasing state property taxes advocated by Buffett would be devastating to him personally and to the state's economy. "If you kill Proposition 13," Trump added, "you kill Schwarzenegger for governor." Buffett has called for the repeal of Prop. 13, a limit on property taxes approved by California voters in 1978.

Schwarzenegger did not fire Buffett, but tried to curb his pro-tax comments when they appeared together Wednesday. More talk about Prop. 13 by Buffett, said the bodybuilder, and he would make the 72-year-old investor do 500 pushups.


Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's quick response to the Aug. 14 power failure trying to blame President Bush, marking a shift in her political tactics, received mixed reviews from insiders of both parties.

Some criticized her for reverting to the harsh partisan style of her first lady days after softening her image as a senator. The consensus, however, was praise for Clinton for grabbing the spotlight while other politicians were caught vacationing, on foreign trips or unable to say anything.

Normally chary about television, Clinton rushed to cameras the night of the power stoppage to be interviewed by Larry King (CNN) and Ted Koppel (ABC). She blamed the federal government in general and energy deregulation in particular.


Rep. Richard Gephardt, inching toward an AFL-CIO presidential endorsement, has pinned down support from two more unions to be announced after Labor Day: the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Communications Workers of America (CWA).

That would bring the number of unions supporting Gephardt to 13, with about 6 million members. He would still need backing from approximately 2 million more to reach the two-thirds level required for AFL-CIO endorsement.

Gephardt's principal target is the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), currently polling its members' presidential preference. SEIU President Andy Stern is considered friendly toward Howard Dean, but Gephardt has not given up on him.

Robert Novak

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

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