Robert Novak

WASHINGTON -- In the same e-mail to Sen. John Kerry's supporters announcing his presidential campaign's $1 million gift to the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Kerry requests new contributions in a way that assures he personally gets the credit for the fund-raising.

 The e-mail contains a link to the DNC donor site. When clicked, it shows Kerry is the referrer of funds he requests. The 2004 presidential nominee declares: "Join me with a contribution of your own to show the incoming DNC chair [former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean] that you want to support organizing in your community."

 A footnote: Dean's closest political associates reject the prediction by his former campaign manager, Joe Trippi, that Dean would break his promise not to run for president next time if he is elected DNC chairman. They say Trippi never was close to Dean and has not seen him or talked to him for months.

GREENSPAN'S RESOLVE

 Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan is rejecting nearly universal advice from financial experts that he dramatically should accelerate the decline of the dollar in order to reduce the U.S. international current-account deficit.

 Greenspan is being told that the trade imbalance requires drastic action: a 40 percent decrease in the value of the dollar. But he worries that such action could be inflationary in the growing American economy.

 The Federal Reserve staff no longer worries about the duration of the U.S. economic recovery. Its doubts of a few months ago are gone, contributing to Greenspan's concern about inflation.

WILL THOMAS STAY?

 Agents of Republican Rep. Bill Thomas of California have started a backstage campaign to suspend term limits and permit him to remain chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee through the end of George W. Bush's presidency.

 Thomas has said nothing himself, but Ways and Means staffers are arguing that he should be given a waiver to keep him on as chairman to complete the Bush agenda. His six years in charge under Republican term limits end in January 2007.

 Nobody has been given a waiver since chairman term limits were instituted in 1995. Rep. David Dreier's tenure as Rules Committee chairman is expected to be extended after the six-year limit, but that post is appointed by House Speaker Dennis Hastert, while all other chairmen are elected by the full House Republican Conference.

HYDE TO VATICAN?

 Republican sources are reporting that Rep. Henry Hyde of Illinois might cut short his last term in Congress to become U.S. ambassador to the Vatican.

 The Vatican post, considered a plum appointment by Catholics, has been vacant following the departure of Jim Nicholson to become secretary of Veterans Affairs for President Bush's second term. Hyde is a prominent Catholic layman and a leading foe of abortion.

 The 80-year-old Hyde is serving his last two years as chairman of the House International Relations Committee under Republican self-term limits. He is expected to announce his retirement this spring after 16 terms in Congress.

MINNESOTA DROPOUT

 The best Republican chance to pick up a Democratic seat in the Senate next year disappeared Wednesday when Sen. Mark Dayton of Minnesota announced he would not seek a second term.

 Dayton's approval rating had dropped to 43 percent, and he was far behind in raising money for a re-election campaign after self-financing his previous candidacies. Republicans licked their chops when possible Democratic challengers announced they would not take on Dayton in the primary.

 With Dayton out, the Minnesota Senate race becomes a tossup. State Attorney General Mike Hatch is considered the strongest Democratic possibility, but he may run for governor.  The leading Republican is Rep. Mark Kennedy, who last November survived a strong Democratic challenge. GOP leaders dread the prospect that former Sen. Rod Grams, beaten by Dayton in 2000, may run again.


Robert Novak

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

 
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