Robert Novak

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Close-in supporters of Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign are convinced he never will offer the vice presidential nomination to Sen. Hillary Clinton for one overriding reason: Michelle Obama.

The Democratic front-runner's wife did not comment on other rival candidates for the party's nomination, but she has been sniping at Clinton since last summer. According to Obama sources, those public utterances do not reveal the extent of her hostility.

A footnote: Support is growing in Democratic ranks for Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland as vice president. He would bring to the ticket maturity (66 years old), experience (six terms in Congress) and moderation (rated "A" by the National Rifle Association). He is very popular in Ohio, a state Republicans must carry to elect a president.


John Bolton, who as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 2005-2006 became a conservative icon, has not connected with Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign, though he desires to help out.

Friends say Bolton was puzzled when his offers of assistance got no response from the McCain campaign. He did receive a late request to be a spokesman for McCain Tuesday in Winston-Salem, N.C., where the candidate addressed selection of federal judges. However, Bolton got the impression that he was merely being asked to attend the event and declined the invitation.

Bolton's treatment did not appear to signify disrespect for him by McCain but rather disorganization at the candidate's headquarters.


Even strong support from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may not save the Homeland Security Committee chairmanship for Sen. Joseph Lieberman if he goes through with plans to address the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn.

Reid opposes trying to kick Lieberman out of the Senate Democratic caucus (which would cost him his chairmanship) because he has endorsed Republican John McCain for president. But other Democratic senators complain Lieberman would go a step too far if he addresses the Republican convention. Elected as an independent in 2006, Lieberman now designates himself an "Independent Democrat."

A footnote: Lieberman recently approached one prominent supporter of Hillary Clinton with a suggestion that he consider supporting McCain if Barack Obama is nominated.


Republican insiders were surprised when Paul Manafort, prominent in national Republican circles for over 30 years, was passed over as John McCain's national convention manager in favor of a relatively unknown p.r. executive.

Robert Novak

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

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