Robert Novak

 Frist is considered a likely presidential candidate in 2008. In private conversation, he has talked about the possibility of running against Hillary Clinton.


 Pro-abortion rights Republicans were their weakest in platform deliberations, not even risking a humiliating vote against their point of view.

 As recently as 1996, pro-life Republicans had to fight hard to keep anti-abortion language in the platform. This time, the pro-choice Republicans had to be content with an amendment that Republicans "respect" dissenting views in general, without specifying abortion.

 Jennifer Blei Stockman, a delegate from New York and national co-chairman of the Republican Majority for Choice, issued a statement Wednesday asserting that re-electing President Bush "will be immeasurably harder with this extreme and exclusionary language in the platform." She is the wife of Reagan administration budget director David Stockman.


 Former Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia, who has been pounding George W. Bush as a key surrogate for John Kerry, is a presidential appointee receiving $136,000 a year as an Export-Import Bank director.

 Cleland fills one of the slots designated for Democrats on the federal agency's board. Such opposition party appointments are routinely made by President Bush on the recommendation of Democratic congressional leaders.

 Secret Service agents at the gates of Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch Wednesday turned away Cleland, acting in Sen. Kerry's behalf, and would not accept a critical letter to the president. Cleland then refused to accept a letter signed by prominent Republican veterans disputing what he has said about Bush. Cleland, a disabled veteran, has sounded Kerry's theme that the president has neglected vets.

Robert Novak

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

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