Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2009

Robert Novak

I first talked to Robert Novak 25 years ago, when I was a newly hired staffer at the Republican National Committee. After introducing himself, he handed down Novak rule No. 1. "In my world, you have a choice," he said. "You can be either a source or a target." I gulped and wisely chose the former. Thus began a lengthy friendship. Novak loved to dish. But he also pushed me to look around corners at what was really happening. He was a factor in Washington for nearly 50 years, first as a reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, then as a columnist. The pundit could be a grouch on camera, but in private he was far kinder. He made me smarter in dozens of ways.

—Scott W. Reed

Reed, a Washington consultant, ran Bob Dole's 1996 presidential campaign