Robert Novak

WASHINGTON -- Presidential nominee-apparent John Kerry has no intention of forcing out Terry McAuliffe as Democratic National chairman for the time being but wants him to watch his words more closely.

After Sen. Kerry clinched the nomination in Super Tuesday's primaries, an aide told reporters the campaign wanted to get McAuliffe entirely off television. That is not exactly the campaign's position, but the senator's aides do want to restrain the chairman. He recently publicly declared that he would continue to attack George W. Bush's National Guard record even though Kerry disapproved of that approach.

McAuliffe's job appears to be safe at least through the party's national convention in Boston this summer. A Washington dealmaker, McAuliffe was not a popular choice to head the Democratic National Committee following the 2000 election. Bill and Hillary Clinton insisted on it, and Al Gore decided not to make a fight.


Sen. John Edwards ended his presidential candidacy just in time to avoid being written off as Sen. John Kerry's potential running mate.

The Kerry campaign did not relish the thought of dipping into its diminished war chest to battle North Carolinian Edwards in Texas and other Southern primaries coming up next Tuesday. The message was conveyed to Edwards that Kerry wanted to save available funds for the campaign against President Bush and Edwards had better get out.

A footnote: Kerry's strategists made a calculated decision to expend major resources in Tuesday's Georgia primary to block Edwards' big effort there, and they barely won the gamble. A victory in Georgia would not really have moved Edwards any closer to the nomination, but the Kerry high command did not want him to have another Southern triumph to go along with his win in South Carolina.


North Korea's communist dictator Kim Jong Il, a keen student of everything American, is privately predicting that George W. Bush will be defeated for re-election and that will improve relations between his regime and the U.S. government.

Kim's forecast was made to subordinates in the North Korean regime, who in turn passed it on to Japanese friends. It subsequently found its way into Tokyo press circles, though it has not yet been printed.

According to these reports, the communist dictator has expressed his dissatisfaction about dealing with Bush. He is said to have much preferred his contacts with President Bill Clinton and expressed hope that the same kind of cooperation might be possible if John Kerry is elected.


Robert Novak

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

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