Robert Novak

WASHINGTON -- The Republican National Committee will hold a big-ticket, exclusive fundraiser March 26 at the palatial mansion of boxing promoter Don King in Manalapan, Fla. The price: $25,000 per couple, with admission limited to the first 25 couples.

King, who occasionally has been prosecuted but not convicted in connection with the operation of his boxing empire, has been a political switch-hitter contributing to both parties. In the current election cycle, he has given not only to George W. Bush but also to Democratic presidential hopefuls Richard Gephardt and Carol Moseley Braun.

"Let's Get Ready to Rumble!" begins the dinner invitation. Continuing the sports theme, it says "warm-ups" (reception) start at 6 p.m. with the "main event" (dinner) at 7. Those who pay the $25,000 are guaranteed reservations at the nearby Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Palm Beach.

KERRY'S MISTAKE

Veteran Democratic politicians feel Sen. John Kerry made his first serious mistake as presumptive presidential nominee when he claimed foreign leaders privately said they wanted him to defeat President Bush.

Kerry's basic error was making a claim that, true or false, he never could substantiate. He also is criticized inside his party for compounding the mistake in two ways: he modified what he first said and then blundered by getting into a shouting match with a Republican heckler.

That performance may make Kerry look un-presidential. But the Democratic old pros say this is mitigated by new campaign laws that make George W. Bush take responsibility for the barrage of anti-Kerry ads.

THAT CHINA FACTORY

Commerce Department officials who vetted Nebraska industrialist Tony Raimondo as President Bush's new manufacturing czar were aware that he operated a factory in China. They believed that experience would benefit Raimondo in a new assistant secretary of commerce post intended to promote manufacturing jobs in America.

Democratic senators went on an anti-China rampage when Sen. John Kerry leaked word of Raimondo's selection. Raimondo withdrew his name after Senate Republican leaders informed the White House that the confirmation process would be long, bitter and doubtful.

Commerce officials also mistakenly believed Raimondo's way with Senate Democrats would be eased by his business relationship with and approval by Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska. Actually, Nelson's occasional votes for Bush administration policies have not made him popular in the Senate Democratic caucus.


Robert Novak

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

 
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