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Novak Takes a Swipe at Possible Obama VP Pick

The Fix is taking it easy on Memorial Day but couldn't resist a short post on a piece penned today by columnist Robert Novak.

Entitled "A Pro-Choicer's Dream Veep", Novak seeks to dismiss the idea that Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) -- currently sitting in the top slot on the Fix's Veepstakes Line -- is a moderate by pointing out her record on the abortion issue during her time as the state's chief executive.

Novak calls Sebelius the "national pro-choice poster girl" and alleges, among other things, that "she is allied with the aggressive Kansas branch of Planned Parenthood in a bitter struggle with anti-abortion activist District Attorney Phill Kline" and that "there is substantial evidence she has been involved in what pro-life advocates term 'laundering' abortion industry money for distribution to Kansas Democrats."

Those are serious charges and, as evidence, Novak details Sebelius's ties to Wichita doctor George Tiller, who has been at the center of the abortion fight in Kansas for the last several decades. (Make sure to read the whole column.)

Sebelius spokeswoman Nicole Corcoran condemned the Novak piece as forwarding his "personal agendas and hyperbole." She pointed out that Novak's column failed to mention the 8.5 percent decline in the Kansas abortion rate since Sebeliushas been in office and added: "Clearly, the people of Kansas don't share Mr. Novak's narrow view of Governor Sebelius, having overwhelmingly voted to re-elect her in 2006 in an endorsement of Governor Sebelius's centrist, mainstream approach."

From a purely political perspective, being attacked by Novak -- a journalist and columnist who makes no bones about his conservative views -- does two things: First, it raises her national profile, and second, it affirms her Democratic bona fides to party activists who might otherwise be concerned about the possibility of Barack Obama picking the governor of Kansas (a ruby red state at the presidential level) as his running mate.

Being attacked by a national columnist may be a new experience for Sebelius, but as a leading member of the veepstakes list she'll need to get used to it. Over the coming months all of the potential picks for both parties will get a close look from the national media, as well as the chosen VP vetters for Obama (Jim Johnson) and John McCain (A.B. Culvahouse).

For more on Sebelius make sure to check out The Fix's interview with the Kansas governor from earlier this year.

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 26, 2008; 11:15 AM ET
Categories:  Veepstakes  
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