Robert Novak

 WASHINGTON -- Republican leaders are grumbling that the White House was much too slow in responding to Democratic attacks on George W. Bush about the disappearance of munitions in Iraq.

 When asked by CNN about the dubious New York Times story that ran Monday, President Bush refused comment -- more than a day after its publication. Not until Wednesday morning did the Republican candidate start to reply to John Kerry's attack. In the meantime, Tuesday night tracking showed Kerry picking up sharply.

 A footnote: No immediate effort was made to get retired Gen. Tommy Franks, commander of the Iraq operation and now a Bush supporter, to rebut Kerry. Plans for his response were not completed until Thursday.


 Pro-Kerry Web sites are pushing for free airtime on MTV in the final days of the campaign to run the video of Eminem singing "Mosh," which attacks George W. Bush, the Iraq war and the Patriot Act.

 MTV's most popular music-video show is "TRL" (Total Request Live), which gives viewers the choice of what they want to hear. Bloggers are attempting a massive vote for Mosh to put it on the air in the closing days of the campaign.

 Mosh contains a lot of unattractive Bush footage, uses the words "F--- Bush," calls President Bush a "weapon of mass destruction" and concludes by telling viewers to vote. Eminem (real name: Marshall Mathers) is a white rapper who is notorious for misogynist and homophobic lyrics.


 Although George W. Bush's campaign supposedly is concentrating on the Republican base, he spent Monday and Tuesday the week before the election in two parts of closely contested states that he lost in 2000: southwest Wisconsin and northeast Iowa.

 President Bush made explicit appeals to "discerning Democrats" in LaCrosse County, Wis., and Dubuque County, Iowa -- socially conservative Democratic areas with low unemployment. Bush's seven-point 2000 loss in LaCrosse accounted for 80 percent of his 5,108-vote loss in Wisconsin. He lost Dubuque by 14 percentage points, totaling more than his 4,144-vote Iowa deficit four years ago.

 A footnote: Bush turned off enthusiastic audiences in Wisconsin and Iowa by droning on about Subchapter S Corporations, which can benefit small businesses from what Democrats condemn as tax cuts for the rich.


 Democrats eager to capitalize on failure to pass an intelligence reform bill in the final days of the campaign privately complain that their plans have been spoiled by Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman's nonpartisan efforts to reach agreement.

Robert Novak

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

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