Robert Novak

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Bob Filner of California was so impressed by Al Gore's movie about global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth," that he has volunteered to head any campaign for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination that might be launched by the former vice president.

Although Gore has professed no intention to attempt a presidential rerun, his film-boosting tour has built nationwide party support. Filner, who recently survived a primary election challenge in his San Diego district, is a seven-term congressman who would chair the House Veteran Affairs Committee if Democrats win control this year.

A footnote: Filner was the only Jewish House member among 28 who signed Rep. Dennis Kucinich's resolution advocating a Middle East cease-fire. Filner immediately was contacted by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the pro-Israel lobbying organization.


House Democrat Leader Nancy Pelosi, before hitting Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for criticizing Israeli conduct in the Mideast crisis, refused to sign a House resolution backing Israel.

House Majority Leader John Boehner declined Pelosi's request that the resolution call on both Israel and Hezbollah to minimize civilian casualties. Protracted negotiations between the leaders failed to reach agreement. Rep. Tom Lantos, ranking Democrat on the House International Relations Committee, did sign the resolution, along with Boehner and International Relations Chairman Henry Hyde.

Pelosi was not alone in scolding al-Maliki. After the Iraqi premier concluded his address to Congress, prominent Democrats peppered him with criticism that linked him to President George W. Bush.


Republican senators, in seeking renewed debate on judicial confirmations before the November elections, want to spotlight Sen. Charles Schumer of New York on national television.

Schumer, who heads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, was one of the most aggressive Judiciary Committee members questioning Supreme Court nominees John Roberts and Samuel Alito. During those hearings, Schumer expressed to colleagues frustration with his inability to target the conservative nominees.

In the belief that Schumer's performance hurt the Democratic cause, GOP senators want a high-profile nomination fight. During Tuesday's debate leading to Senate confirmation of Jerome Holmes as a circuit judge, Schumer voted no but uncharacteristically did not speak.


Republican senators at last week's Tuesday luncheon meeting were stunned by news from Ohio of the Columbus Dispatch poll showing Sen. Mike DeWine behind his Democratic challenger, Rep. Sherrod Brown, by 8 percentage points.

Robert Novak

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

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