Novak Political Report: Rove's Fund-Raising

Rove’s Fund-Raising

While colleagues express concern that presidential adviser Karl Rove could be indicted in the CIA leak case, he continues to be scheduled for private fund-raisers by the Republican National Committee (RNC).

Rove was listed for such a money-raising reception Friday (Oct. 14) in New York City, the same day he was to testify for the fourth time to a federal grand jury. Rove was scheduled for an RNC fund-raiser Monday (Oct. 17) in Greenwich, Conn. Earlier, he appeared at such events in Lexington, Ky., and Indianapolis on Sept. 26.

A footnote: President Bush is scheduled to raise money at a reception and dinner in Los Angeles Thursday (Oct. 20). That ignores the request by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that the president stay out of California prior to the Nov. 8 election on several propositions favored by the governor.

Starr’s Choice

In choosing Kenneth Starr to vouch for the social conservative credentials of Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, Dr. James Dobson picked a man who 24 years ago as a Justice Department official did the same for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Former Whitewater prosecutor Starr, now law school dean of Pepperdine University, appeared on conservative activist Dobson’s radio program Wednesday. Starr called Miers "a very, very strong Christian [who] should be a source of great comfort and assistance to people in the households of faith around the country." In 1981, Starr advised President Ronald Reagan of O’Connor’s pro-life stance and ignored her pro-choice record in the Arizona Senate.

The talk with Starr on Wednesday’s program was overshadowed by a long segment in which Dobson denied receiving inside information from the White House about where Miers stands on Roe v. Wade.

McCain’s Influence

The 90 to 9 Senate vote Oct. 5 adopting Sen. John McCain’s amendment prohibiting harsh treatment of captured enemy combatants followed a closed-door conference of Republican senators who heard emotional pleas for the defeat of the administration-opposed proposal.

Sen. Ted Stevens, president pro tem of the Senate and a longtime supporter of the military, delivered an impassioned address against the McCain amendment. He was followed by Sen. Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and several other senators making the same points.

Later that day, however, the Senate voted overwhelmingly for the McCain amendment, with all members of the Republican leadership in support. That reinforced a growing belief that McCain today is the most influential senator.

Republican Switchers

House rules have officially shielded the identity of several House Republicans who switched their positions to permit passage of the energy bill Oct. 7 after a prolonged delay in announcing the vote total.

Republican leaders kept open the voting for around 45 minutes to pass the bill by a single vote against blanket Democratic opposition, but it was technically a "five-minute" vote. That meant members could use their electronic badges to change their vote without it being recorded in the congressional record.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer later identified two of the secret switchers as Wayne Gilchrest of Maryland and Jim Gerlach of Pennsylvania. Also named as switching was Bill Young of Florida, former Appropriations Committee chairman.

Vulnerable in Virginia

An internal memo by the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) staff suggests that Sen. George Allen, a leading 2008 Republican presidential prospect, would have been vulnerable for next year’s Senate re-election from Virginia if Democratic Gov. Mark Warner had run against him.

The memo defends the widely criticized recruitment of Senate candidates for the current cycle by Sen. Elizabeth Dole as NRSC chairman, calling her performance "superb." Citing "the Democrats’ miss in Virginia," it asks: "Is that not as big as our miss in North Dakota?"

Dole failed in an aggressive effort to get North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven to run for the Senate as the only realistic chance to defeat Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad.