Robert Novak

WASHINGTON -- The Democratic National Committee (DNC), which is running behind its Republican counterpart in fund-raising since Howard Dean took over as DNC chairman, is competing for small-dollar donors with Dean's own political organization, now headed by his brother Jim.

 When he failed to win the 2004 presidential nomination, Dean converted his campaign into a continuing political organization called Democracy for America (DFA). Just before he became DNC chairman, Dean sent out a DFA e-mail asking for automatic monthly contributions.

 Since Howard Dean left the DFA, Jim Dean has sent out at least 13 e-mail solicitations. The e-mail sent Wednesday compares Vice President Dick Cheney to "an insecure schoolyard bully at recess" for criticizing Howard Dean.


 Rep. Dan Burton of Indiana, the conservative choice to be the next chairman of the House International Relations Committee, hurt his chances June 8 when he missed a key committee vote by playing in a pro-am tournament at the Congressional Country Club outside Washington.

 Chairman Henry Hyde, retiring from Congress after next year, was furious that Burton missed the vote on a Democratic substitute to Hyde's United Nations reform bill. Hyde managed to defeat the proposal, 24 to 23, by losing only two Republican members.

 Burton told Hyde that he had played in the pro-am event for two decades and had informed the committee staff that his cell phone would be on vibrate to alert him if he was needed on a key vote. No call was made, and Burton said he missed his first important vote in 22 years on the committee. Burton's principal opponents for chairman are Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Christopher Smith of New Jersey.


 Former Commerce Secretary William Daley supports President Bush's uphill fight for Congressional approval of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) but declined a request to phone Democratic members of Congress and solicit their votes.

 Daley managed approval of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Chinese trade during the Clinton administration. But he said a call from a former Cabinet member could hardly counteract organized labor's pressure on Democrats to vote no. Daley agreed, however, to write an op-ed article supporting CAFTA.

 A footnote: Daley believes that CAFTA is in trouble because of intense partisanship in Washington that he said is worse than the atmosphere during the Clinton impeachment.


Robert Novak

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

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