Robert Novak

WASHINGTON --  Sen. John Edwards, departing from the usual pattern of vice presidential candidates appearing regularly on Sunday talk shows, has been turning down all such invitations.

The absence of the articulate, attractive Edwards cannot be explained by fear that he would be a liability on TV. Well-informed Democrats have speculated that John Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry have muzzled Edwards because they do not want him to overshadow the presidential candidate.

 A footnote: While also turning down major television interviews, Sen. Kerry has agreed to appear on non-news venues: Don Imus's radio program, "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Late Show with David Letterman." Kerry has not held a press availability on the campaign trail since Aug. 9.


 George W. Bush has assured his top financial supporters there are no more skeletons in his closet such as the driving-under-the-influence conviction that nearly cost him the presidency in 2000.

 President Bush addressed a closed-door luncheon Wednesday at Stephen Decatur House in Washington. Answering a question, he said everything negative about him has been revealed.

 Bush conceded that failure to reveal his DUI conviction was a mistake, adding that its revelation near the end of the 2000 campaign came close to electing Al Gore. The president said he kept his youthful misadventure secret, because he did not want to set a bad example for his twin, teen-aged daughters.


 While the Teamsters Union has come out firmly against President Bush's candidacy for re-election, union President James Hoffa is pursuing his policy of reaching out to Republicans in congressional contests.

 Many more Democrats are backed by the Teamsters, but Hoffa has sent contributions to seven Republicans running for the Senate and 22 seeking House seats. That includes an early $5,000 to former Housing Secretary Mel Martinez, winner of a hard-fought GOP primary and now facing a closely contested Senate race in Florida. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, engaged in a tough election fight in Alaska, also received $5,000 from the Teamsters.

 A footnote: With Teamster officials privately complaining they are being shut out of the Kerry campaign, the union is concentrating on two battleground states where it figures it can most damage Bush: Ohio and Missouri.


Robert Novak

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

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