Robert Novak

The Republican cloakroom's disdain toward the announced retirement from Congress by Rep. Tom Reynolds of New York was reflected in the terse statement from his successor as National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) chairman, Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma.

Cole did not mention Reynolds's NRCC tenure during the disastrous 2006 cycle, when Republicans lost control of the House after 12 years. Cole inherited from Reynolds an empty war chest and an accounting scandal. Republican colleagues criticized Reynolds for abandoning the national campaign in 2006 when his own seat in western New York appeared in danger. His retirement leaves the long-held Republican district subject to a Democratic takeover this year.

While Republican praise for Reynolds was tepid, his Democratic campaign counterpart in 2006 -- Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois -- telephoned Reynolds to call him a "class act."

Intrigue in Albany

It is assumed in Albany that state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, playing it cool for now, eventually will challenge newly inaugurated New York Gov. David Paterson for the 2010 Democratic nomination.

Political insiders cannot believe Paterson, who as lieutenant governor succeeded the disgraced Eliot Spitzer, will be the automatic nominee after his volunteered admission of sexual infidelities by him and his wife and of youthful marijuana and cocaine use.

Cuomo, the son of three-term Gov. Mario Cuomo, is not prepared to criticize a new governor who is black and legally blind. But the bet is he will hold his fire only so long.

Robert Novak

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

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