Robert D. Novak
By Roger Stone Nationally syndicated columnist Robert Novak often said he gave politicians a choice to be a target or a source for his widely read and influential column. The first time he called me I was quite clearly a target. It was 1977 and I was running for Young Republican National Chairman, the "Reagan" candidate for that office in the run up to the 1980 Presidential contest in which many thought the Gipper was too old for another go at the nomination after his strong bid against Gerald Ford in 1976. Novak was more interested in the clandestine dirty tricks operations I had performed for Richard Nixon in the 1972. With the GOP still reeling from Nixon's exit in 1974, my minor role in the excesses of the '72 campaign became big news and prompted then Republican National Chairman Bill Brock to try to pressure me out of the race, "for the good of the party". But my campaign, under the guidance of Charlie Black and the able management of Paul Manafort, had a lock on the votes and neither would hear of my dropping, even in the face of Novak's withering attack. The last line of Novak's column read, "Republican leaders are less concerned about Stone's past and more concerned about his future." Little did they know. How the Washington Post obituary of this dogged reporter omits his seminal role in promoting the supply-side world view that transformed the Republican Party from a party of eye-shaded bean counters advocating spending cuts and pain, to the party of hope, optimism and economic growth, is beyond me. Indeed, after Reagan's nomination as a tax-cutter in 1980, the "root-canal" wing of the party tried to get the Gipper to abandon the tax-cut proposals of the nomination campaign for his face-off with Jimmy Carter. When Reagan Counselor Ed Meese called Novak to feel him out on what the columnist's view would be such a retreat, the disastrous plan was quickly abandoned. Bob Novak didn't just report the news, he shaped it. Later, when setting up private sit-downs for reporters with former President Richard Nixon, I tried to get the former President to meet with Novak. "A Rockefeller guy - no fuckin' way," said RN, still unable to get past Novak's harsh reporting in the 1968 campaign, long before Novak's conversion to conservatism. In March of 2007, Novak reported that I said on December 6, 2006 that New York Governor Eliot Spitzer would not finish his term. Novak dutifully reported this in his Sunday column. Many New York pols laughed at the time but I knew, and Novak reported it, noting that I predicted Spitzer's fall three full months before his resignation. Bob Novak was a great reporter, a great American and an unabashed patriot to the end.