- The Washington Times - Friday, July 20, 2007

Novak’s musings

Veteran journalist Bob Novak yesterday said President Bush is one of the worst presidents he’s seen in his lifetime, but surmised that when he dies people will go out of their way to find some way to praise him.

“I couldn’t believe the reviews Ford got; he was a terrible president, and he dies and people are saying he saved the country,” Mr. Novak said at a breakfast meeting with reporters.

Truman was a horrible man, he drank, and until his dying day he denied that Alger Hiss was a spy; he screwed up the [Korean] War and refused to understand the communist threat. So I assume that what they’ve done for these others they will do with Bush and tell a lot of lies about him.”

At 76, Mr. Novak has taken some time to think about his life, a life he says he is “lucky” to still be living and put down on paper in his new book, “The Prince of Darkness: 50 Years Reporting in Washington.”

He expressed disappointment in colleagues who beat up on him and called him a liar throughout the Valerie Plame case, none of whom he said has called to apologize.

And on Congress he said that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, has surpassed his predecessor Sen. Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican, as “at least the most incompetent majority leader I’ve ever seen.”

Cunningham’s lies

Disgraced former U.S. Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham lied to fellow lawmakers on a House ethics panel to disguise kickbacks from a defense contractor, according to a summary of an interview between the congressman and federal investigators.

Cunningham said he asked the House ethics committee in 2001 to review a sale of his yacht “Kelly C” to the defense contractor to avoid arousing suspicions when, in fact, there was no sale.

He fabricated the transaction and lied to lawmakers about it to “cover his bases” and make $100,000 in kickbacks appear legitimate.

Cunningham, a Republican, has not spoken publicly since going to prison in March 2006. He pleaded guilty in 2005 to taking $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractor Brent Wilkes and others in exchange for millions of dollars in government contracts. As part of his plea deal, he agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Mr. Wilkes has pleaded not guilty to bribery, fraud, money laundering and conspiracy.

Cunningham detailed the arrangement in two interviews with prosecutors and government agents at his Tucson, Ariz., prison in February, a week before Mr. Wilkes was indicted, the Associated Press reports.

Liberty’s limits

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