Robert Novak

WASHINGTON -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Californian, was upset Wednesday when she found that her meeting with Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger included a key California Republican: Rep. David Dreier, head of the new governor's transition team.

The word on Capitol Hill is that Pelosi was steaming because her meeting with Schwarzenegger was held in the House Rules Committee offices of Chairman Dreier, with Dreier sitting in. Dreier is being urged by party leaders to run against Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer next year.

A footnote: A reception for Schwarzenegger and a Pelosi fund-raiser were held in the same Capitol Hill building at the same time Wednesday night. Several Democratic House members from California dropped into the Schwarzenegger event, but not Pelosi. Also on hand for the Republican governor-elect's victory celebration were several of his Kennedy in-laws, including Eunice Shriver, Ethel Kennedy, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg.

ENDING STEEL TARIFFS

President Bush is ready to roll back his steel tariffs as soon as the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules against them by rejecting a formal appeal by the U.S. government.

Although the Bush administration was split down the middle when the tariffs were imposed last year, all key policymakers now agree the move has been an economic failure. The question has been whether Bush political adviser Karl Rove would go along, but sources now say he is on board for repeal.

The steel tariffs are regarded inside the administration as having done more harm than good, both politically and economically. Whatever help they gave the ailing steel industry was overridden by damage to steel-purchasing manufacturers -- especially the auto parts industry.

STILL SEN. GRAHAM

The bipartisan consensus among high-level Florida politicians is that Sen. Bob Graham, having ended his run for the Democratic presidential nomination, will seek a fourth term in the Senate next year.

Graham, though weakened by his poor presidential campaign, would be favored to keep his Senate seat. The only Florida Republican given an edge over him is Gov. Jeb Bush, who has no intention of leaving the governorship after last year's re-election.

A footnote: The only other incumbent senator whose 2004 intentions are still in doubt is Democrat John Breaux of Louisiana. He would be a sure winner for a fourth term, but his retirement would open the way for a Republican takeover.

THE PRESIDENT'S HELICOPTER


Robert Novak

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

 
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