Robert Novak

BOSTON -- Democrats arriving here early for the national convention beginning Monday were vexed by news media attention to disclosure of the federal investigation of Samuel Berger, Kerry campaign foreign policy adviser, for improperly taking home classified documents.
On the record, Democrats questioned the timing of the leaked Berger investigation as a Republican ploy. Off the record, they complained about the embarrassment caused by the former Clinton national security adviser and an old hand in government, distorting the Democratic message running up to the convention.

 Berger tried to cut the damage quickly by leaving Sen. John Kerry's campaign. However, fellow Democrats noted he did not step aside when the FBI began investigating him at the start of the year.


 Bush surrogates brought into national campaign headquarters Wednesday prior to the party's fund-raising dinner in Washington were disappointed that President George Bush would not quickly offer a new vision for America.

 The surrogates were told that the vision would not be set forth until the Republicans hold their convention the last week of August. That fits the general Bush strategic belief that this election will not be settled until the campaign's final stages.

 One problem facing the Bush visionaries is the performance of the Republican-controlled Congress. For example, Bush may experience credibility problems in calling for permanent tax cuts since the Senate this week signaled it will not approve his proposal this year.


 After disappointing organized labor by picking Sen. John Edwards as his running mate, Sen. Kerry has pleased union leaders in coming out in opposition to secret ballots by workers in deciding whether to accept union representation.

 Organized labor wants to do away with secret balloting and instead use the "card check," in which a union gains accreditation as a company's bargaining agent by soliciting union cards from members. Critics say that method results in coercion of workers by union organizers.

 Both Kerry and Edwards have joined Sen. Edward M. Kennedy in urging the National Labor Relations Board to adopt card check instead of secret ballots. Earlier, much of organized labor had pressed Kerry to select Rep. Richard Gephardt for vice president.


 The old tradition of the host state's governor welcoming a national political convention, even of the opposite party, goes by the boards this week. Massachusetts Republican Gov. Mitt Romney will not be seen at the Democratic National Convention in Boston.

Robert Novak

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

©Creators Syndicate