Robert Novak

WASHINGTON -- Largely ignored by the mainstream news media, anti-Iraq War protester Cindy Sheehan has declared she cannot support Hillary Rodham Clinton for president until the senator publicly advocates withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

Harsh criticism of President Bush by Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq, was faithfully reported for months. But she was hardly covered last Saturday when she called Clinton "a political animal who believes she has to be a war hawk to keep up with the big boys." Sheehan's criticism was posted on left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore's website.

While desiring to support Clinton for president, Sheehan said to her: "I will resist your candidacy with every bit of my power and strength unless you show us the wisdom it takes to be a truly great leader. . . . Sen. Clinton: come out against this occupation of Iraq."


Robert Byrd, senior U.S. senator in both age and seniority, looked exceptionally frail Tuesday attending an unveiling of the Capitol portrait of Sen. Margaret Chase Smith. Byrd will be 88 years old Nov. 20. He was introduced at the event by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, but did not speak.

Byrd's appearance fueled speculation that he will not campaign much in person as he seeks a ninth term from West Virginia next year but will rely on television ads financed by his massive war chest. Filings showed he collected $924,000 in contributions for the third quarter ending Sept. 30, giving him a massive $2,350,000 in cash on hand.

Republican planners still regard Byrd as a prime target though their first choice to challenge him, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, did not run. Byrd may face either former West Virginia University basketball coach Gale Catlett or West Virginia Secretary of State Betty Ireland.


Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Howard Dean routinely turns down requests from all television networks for traditional joint appearances with his Republican counterpart, Ken Mehlman.

Dean is a former governor of Vermont and was a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination last year, while Mehlman is a former staffer with little past TV experience. Dean may wish to avoid what happened during the last election cycle to then DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe, who consistently came out second best against then RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie, who, like Mehlman, had previously been a staffer.

Republicans grumble that Mehlman gets no reward for accepting the invitations to joint appearances, because Dean ends up going on the air by himself anyway.


Robert Novak

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

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