Robert Novak

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Well-connected public figures report that they have been told recently by Rudolph Giuliani that, as of now, he intends to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.

The former mayor of New York was on top of last month's national Gallup poll measuring presidential preferences by registered Republicans, with 29 percent. Sen. John McCain's 24 percent was second, with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich third at 8 percent. National polls all year have shown Giuliani running either first or second to McCain, with the rest of the presidential possibilities far behind.

Republican insiders respond to these numbers by saying rank-and-file GOP voters will abandon Giuliani once they realize his position on abortion, gay rights and gun control. Party strategists calculate that if he actually runs, he must change on at least one of these issues.

DEMOCRAT LIEBERMAN

Supporters of Sen. Joseph Lieberman promise he will continue as a member of the Senate Democratic caucus even if he loses the Democratic primary in Connecticut Aug. 8 and is elected as an independent.

Lieberman's decision announced last week to seek petitions to give him an independent ballot position probably helped businessman Ned Lamont's antiwar Democratic primary campaign. Although Lieberman's support of President Bush on the Iraq war is not popular in Connecticut, he would be heavily favored in a three-way race against Lamont and Republican former state Rep. Alan Schlesinger.

Lieberman's Republican Senate colleagues privately despair of the GOP picking up the Connecticut seat. But they hope Lieberman, if elected as an independent, would be more inclined to vote with Republicans than he is now, even if he still caucuses with the Democrats.

WOOING HISPANICS

Presidential adviser Karl Rove and Sen. Sam Brownback, two conservative Republicans who favor a guest-worker program for immigrants, will address the left-wing Hispanic advocacy group La Raza in Los Angeles this week.

La Raza was active in increasing participation in nationwide work stoppages and demonstrations April 10 after the House passed a tough border enforcement bill. La Raza in Spanish means "The Race."

Former President Bill Clinton heads the list of speakers for the annual meeting of La Raza's national council. The Rev. Jesse Jackson will appear on a panel.

TRIAL LAWYER POLITICS

Although it attracted no news media attention, a subcommittee hearing of the normally bipartisan House Financial Services Committee erupted in partisan furor June 28 when Republican Rep. Richard Baker of Louisiana proposed controls on lawyers engaged in securities litigation.


Robert Novak

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

 
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