Robert Novak

WASHINGTON -- Publication of Rudy Giuliani's secret campaign plan has so embarrassed Florida's new Gov. Charles Crist that supporters of Sen. John McCain fear it might backfire against their campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

The 140-page dossier was found on a Crist aircraft during his campaign for governor when former New York City Mayor Giuliani was in Florida supporting him. With an early 2007 test scheduled for Florida, Crist's support could be critical. McCain has been considered the early favorite to win his backing.

Some McCain supporters fear Crist might be offended by efforts of John Weaver, McCain's political adviser, to take advantage of the misplaced Giuliani document. "I thought it was a security company," Weaver said of Giuliani's consulting company. His comments prompted speculation that Weaver was responsible for making the dossier public.


Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who has gone public with criticism of President Bush's Iraq policy, is caustic in private about the proposed "surge" of 30,000 additional U.S. troops.

Powell noted that the recent congressional delegation to Iraq headed by Sen. John McCain heard from combat officers that they wanted more troops. "The colonels will always say they need more troops," the retired general says. "That's why we have generals."

A footnote: Senior Republican senators are trying to get word to the president that any troop surge would be DOA (dead on arrival) in Congress.


During his family vacation in Park City, Utah, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney met with former Bush administration officials who comprise his economic policy team to discuss a tax reform for Romney's presidential campaign.

The meeting included Glenn Hubbard, former chairman of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) who is co-chairman of Romney's economic policy council. Also on hand were former Bush economic policy officials Brian Reardon and Cesar Conda. Gregory Mankiw, another former CEA chairman, is Romney's economic co-chairman but could not attend the Utah meeting because of a knee injury.

Romney, seeking to contrast himself with Republican presidential front-runner John McCain on taxes, has surrounded himself with architects of Bush's tax plan. Vice President Dick Cheney had to cast a tie-breaking vote on the 2003 tax cuts because Sen. McCain had voted against them.


Sen. Joseph Lieberman is making clear that, after losing the Democratic primary in Connecticut and being elected as an independent, he wants henceforth to be listed as an "Independent Democrat."

Robert Novak

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

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