Bob Novak and the Horse’s Mouth

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Bob Novak, the columnist affectionately known among Washington journalists as the prince of darkness and author of the Valerie Plame scoop, hosts an Off The Record luncheon from time to time with high officials, such luminaries as Dick Cheney, John Bolton, Condi Rice, Colin Powell, Al Gore, Bill Frist and so on. You might think these people are inaccessible, but for Novak they talk, answering questions, participating in the conversation. For a moment, however brief, you are on the inside track.

But, like all good things, there is a hitch. Novak only takes 70 people into his off the record briefings so there is a real scramble to get a seat. To obtain a seat at his April 26 lunch costs $595. (You can bring guests for $395 per person.) The affair is sponsored by the conservative paper Human Events.

The result: “I was able to get the straight scoop on the economic forecast,” says Fred Jones, former president of Citicorp, in one blurb. “With that guidance, I was able to make the correct business decisions in the following months — saving my company millions.”

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This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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