Robert Novak

A rationale for Dodd's inaction was the absence from the Banking Committee until recently of ailing Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson. However, Dodd has been on the campaign trail all year on a presidential campaign financed in large part by banking interests.


Catholics United, which routinely criticizes Republicans, is running radio ads against 10 anti-abortion House members -- including five Catholics -- for voting against the expanded State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

"That's not pro-life," the ad says. "That's not pro-family. Tell Congressman (blank) to vote for health care for children."

The five Catholics are Joseph Knollenberg and Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan, Steve Chabot of Ohio, Ginny Brown-Waite of Florida and Gene Taylor of Mississippi (the only Democrat among the 10). Others targeted by Catholics United are Tim Walberg of Michigan (non-denominational Protestant), Michele Bachmann of Minnesota (Lutheran), Sam Graves of Missouri (Baptist), John Peterson of Pennsylvania (Methodist) and Thelma Drake of Virginia (United Church of Christ).


One underlying reason for bright Republican prospects in Louisiana's statewide elections Oct. 20 is the departure from the state of an estimated 173,000 African-Americans, dependable Democratic voters, after Hurricane Katrina.

New Orleans is still 58 percent African-American according to a Brookings Institution survey, compared with 67 percent prior to the storm. But migration of blacks, mainly to Houston and Atlanta, loses the recent Democratic hard core in Louisiana.

Republican Rep. Bobby Jindal polls around 50 percent in the non-party race, with his two closest competitors, Democratic State Sen. Walter Boasso and Republican businessman John Georges, around 10 percent each. Republicans may hold at least five of seven statewide offices after the Oct. 20 voting.

Robert Novak

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

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