Robert Novak

WASHINGTON -- Administration sources say UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan misspoke in suggesting to reporters that he asked President Bush, when they met at the White House last Monday, to send U.S. troops to Darfur in the Sudan.

 The meeting with Bush had been requested by Annan, but he did not have much of an agenda. That led to speculation at the White House that the secretary-general merely wanted "face time" with the president to boost his sagging prestige.

 A footnote: Vice President Dick Cheney sat in on the Bush-Annan meeting but ducked out before reporters and cameras were let in at the end. Cheney at that point did not want to face questions about the Texas shooting incident.


 Major political contributors to George W. Bush who have never given a dime to prospective 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain received letters, dated Feb. 8, asking for donations to the senator's Straight Talk America political action committee.

 Obviously using President Bush's direct mail list, the letter signed by McCain asks for $1,000 or $1,500 to support candidates agreeing with McCain on "key issues." It specifically lists "limiting federal spending, immigration reform, military readiness, global climate change, Social Security reform, reining-in lobbyists, reducing the power of the special interests and putting an end to wasteful pork barrel spending by Congress."

 Each recipient received a card to be filled in for McCain's files. "I'm asking you to update your file card," requests the letter, though the Bush contributors had no previous card in the senator's files.


 Although Sen. Hillary Clinton is not absolutely certain to run for president in 2008, former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner is well on his way in preparing his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination as the non-Hillary candidate.

 He has signed Monica Dixon, who was deputy chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore, to run his Forward Together political action committee. After ending his single term as governor at the beginning of the year, Warner has been traveling the country and recruiting staffers.

 Warner has been overwhelmed with offers of support from Democrats since he left office. Friends say he realizes he is a hot article and must be careful not to say or do anything now that will come back to haunt him.


Robert Novak

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

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