Feature

Robert Novak's farewell column

"The reaction to my disease, mostly compassionate," belies Washington's partisan reputation.

"The main reason I am writing this column," said Robert Novak, who died Tuesday, in a Sept. 7, 2008, column in Human Events, is to answer questions about how I learned I had a brain tumor, and what I've done about it. "But I also want to relate the reaction to my disease, mostly compassionate, that belies Washington's reputation" for vicious partisanship. Before the diagnosis, "I had thought 51 years of rough-and-tumble journalism in Washington made me more enemies than friends, but my recent experience suggests the opposite may be the case." Sen. Edward Kennedy -- about whom I have "had few good things to say" in print -- and his wife, Vicki, "have treated me like a close friend," giving me encouragement as I headed to Duke University Medical Center for an operation similar to one Kennedy had recently undergone. The Kennedys "were not concerned by political and ideological differences when someone's life was at stake," nor was former President George W. Bush, another target of my criticism, who telephoned to express his "prayerful concern" six minutes before I went into surgery. "There are mad bloggers who profess to take delight in my distress, but there's no need to pay them attention in the face of such an outpouring of good will for me."

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