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To Friends, Hardliner Novak Was a 'Pussycat'

Hard work made him 'the ultimate insider journalist'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2009 2:11 PM CDT

(Newser) – Bob Novak called himself a “rough and tumble” journalist, “but to his friends and colleagues, he could be a pussycat,” writes Eleanor Clift in Newsweek. Despite their widely divergent views, Novak—who died today at 78—helped Clift get a spot on the then-all-male McLaughlin Group. When the cameras went on, he’d “lunge forward” and “wag his finger in my face.” But offscreen, the two felt like “buddies.”

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Novak “wrote thousands of columns, and yet he will be most remembered for his role in revealing the identity of a covert CIA operative,” Clift notes. The incident cost him “his standing in the journalistic community,” a position he’d toiled to achieve. Being a newsman was his only dream, and by committing to “long hours, traveling, working the phones, cultivating sources,” he became “the ultimate insider journalist.” (Read more Robert Novak stories.)

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