Robert Novak

Sen. Bob Casey was considered a big loser in the Pennsylvania primary April 22, where his endorsement did not prevent Sen. Barack Obama from suffering a severe defeat. But the event has propelled him to Obama's short list for vice president.

Until Casey delivered his unexpected support, he and Obama had not known each other well. But Obama, 46, and Casey, 48, established a friendship as they campaigned together around the state. Casey, a social conservative who is anti-abortion and pro-gun, balances the much more liberal Obama.

Casey's endorsement was widely interpreted as part of his political feud with Gov. Edward Rendell, Casey's Pennsylvania intra-party rival, who worked hard for the victorious Sen. Hillary Clinton.


California Republicans are divided over whether the GOP, for the fifth straight presidential election, should make a substantial investment of time and money in the nation's most populous state. Republicans have not carried California for president since 1988.

Sen. John McCain's campaign is inclined to make a serious effort in California, especially targeting the big Latino vote if Sen. Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee. But other Republicans in the state urge McCain not to engage in another costly but fruitless California effort.

A footnote: McCain's chances in California may depend on the popularity of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is a strong supporter of McCain. Schwarzenegger, though still the state's most popular politician, faces a decline during a battle of the budget that may involve his asking for tax increases.

Robert Novak

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

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