Robert Novak

WASHINGTON -- Former Majority Leader Dick Gephardt, a registered lobbyist for Turkey, failed several months ago to get his successor as top House Democrat, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to withdraw her support from a long-pending resolution condemning alleged Turkish genocide of Armenians in 1915.

The Bush administration had urged Congress not to offend Turkey, a U.S. ally, but the measure passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee Wednesday. Pelosi has pledged House action this year on the genocide resolution that in the past was blocked by Dennis Hastert, her Republican predecessor as speaker.

In addition to Gephardt, the Turkish government also hired a top Republican lobbyist: Bob Livingston, former chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

HILLARY'S ADVISER

Prominent Democrats, while minimizing the revelation that Sandy Berger is advising Sen. Hillary Clinton on foreign affairs, stress that the disgraced former national security adviser would have no role in her presidency.

Clinton says Berger is strictly an unofficial adviser. Berger avoided a prison sentence for illegally removing classified documents from the National Archives, agreeing to a $50,000 fine, 100 hours' community service and two years' probation, along with losing his security clearance.

Berger's role in the Clinton campaign is explained by the senator's supporters as stemming from close family ties forged when he was a senior official in President Bill Clinton's White House.

ROMNEY'S BLUNDERS

Mitt Romney, who tries to come over as a picture-perfect candidate, committed his second off-the-cuff blunder at Tuesday's Republican presidential debate in Dearborn, Mich.

Asked whether he would go to Congress for authorization to take military action against Iran's nuclear facilities, the former Massachusetts governor said: "You sit down with your attorneys and [they] tell you what you have to do." He added that "we're going to let the lawyers sort out" the problem.

Two months earlier in a town hall event at Bettendorf, Iowa, Romney was asked whether any of his five sons were serving in the military and, if not, how they supported the war against terrorism. He replied: "One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping to get me elected."

SEN. RICHARDSON?

Sen. Charles Schumer, the Senate Democratic campaign chairman, is pressing New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson to give up his presidential bid and run for his state's Senate seat held by retiring Republican Sen. Pete Domenici.


Robert Novak

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

 
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