August 18, 2009

Political columnist Robert Novak dies at 78

Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

In this Feb. 12, 2007, file photo, syndicated political columnist Robert Novak leaves federal court in Washington. Novak, who was a central figure in the Valerie Plame CIA leak case, has died.
(Full-size photo)

WASHINGTON — Political columnist Robert Novak, a diehard conservative and pugilistic debater who became a household face on TV, has died after a battle with brain cancer.

His wife of 47 years, Geraldine Novak, told The Associated Press that he died at his home in Washington, D.C. early Tuesday. He was 78.

Long known as the co-host of CNN’s “Crossfire,” Novak had been a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times for decades.

He was diagnosed with a brain tumor in July 2008, less than a week after he struck a pedestrian in downtown Washington with his Corvette and drove away.

In recent years, Novak ended up actually being a part of a big Washington story, in ways he likely never intended, becoming a central figure in the Valerie Plame CIA leak case. Novak was the first to publish the name of CIA employee, and he came under withering criticism and abuse from many for that column, which Novak said began “a long and difficult episode” in his career.

“I had a terrific time fulfilling all my youthful dreams and at the same time making life miserable for hypocritical, posturing politicians and, I hope, performing a service for my country,” Novak wrote in his memoir, “The Prince of Darkness.”

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