Saturday, September 06, 2008

Putting Politics in Perspective

After being told that he probaby had 6 months to live, Robert Novak found friendship, help, and encouragement from unexpected people all along the political spectrum:

My dear friend Bob Shrum, the Democratic political operative, asked Sen. Kennedy's wife, Vicki, to call me. I barely know Mrs. Kennedy, but I have found her to be a warm and gracious person. I have had few good things to say about Teddy Kennedy since I first met him at the 1960 Democratic National Convention, but he and his wife have treated me like a close friend. She was enthusiastic about Dr. Friedman and urged me to opt for surgery at Duke.

The Kennedys were not concerned by political and ideological differences when someone's life was at stake, recalling at least the myth of milder days in Washington. My long conversation with Vicki Kennedy filled me with hope....

Support for me and promises of prayers have poured in from all sides, including from political figures who had not been happy with my columns. I'm told that George W. Bush has not liked my criticism, particularly of his Iraq war policy. But the president is a compassionate man, and he telephoned me at 7:24 a.m. on Aug. 15, six minutes before I went into surgery. The conversation lasted only a minute, but his prayerful concern was touching and much appreciated.

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