Bob Novak, American syndicated columnist, Died at 78

Dead, Robert David Sanders “Bob” Novak on August 18, 2009 at the age of 78, he was an American syndicated columnist, journalist, television personality, author, and conservative political commentator.

Born in Joliet, Illinois on February 26, 1931, the son of Jane Sanders and Maurice Novak, a chemical engineer, his paternal grandparents immigrated from Ukraine, and his mother’s family was from Lithuania.

Novak’s parents were secular Jews who had little interaction with their local Jewish community and rarely attended religious services.

Neighbours considered Novak’s family to be Polish.

Novak suffered from chronic bronchitis through his early childhood, which led his mother to drive him to and from school instead of letting him walk. Novak’s journalism career began when he was in high school as a student-writer for the Joliet Herald-News, his hometown newspaper, and he received ten cents per inch.

After high school, he attended the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (UI) from 1948 to 1952. His father had attended the college, and he later remarked that “I was an Illini from birth”.

He became a brother of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, at the time a mostly Jewish college fraternity, while attending the University of Illinois.

Novak would later use the group’s ‘secret handshake’ whenever he met fellow alumnus Wolf Blitzer.

During the Korean War, Novak served in the U.S. Army, and he reached the rank of lieutenant.

He later stated that he had fully expected to die in the service.

After serving from 1952 to 1954, he joined the Associated Press (AP) and became a political correspondent in Omaha, Nebraska.

He was transferred to Lincoln, Nebraska and then to Indianapolis, Indiana, covering the two state legislatures in his reporting.

In 1957, Novak was transferred to Washington, D.C. where he reported on Congress.

He left the AP to join the D.C. bureau of The Wall Street Journal in 1958, covering the Senate. He rose to the rank of chief congressional correspondent in 1961.

In 1967, Evans and Novak set up a bi-weekly political newsletter called the Evans-Novak Political Report (ENPR).

They took a more broad approach in this series compared to their column, focusing on forecast elections and predicting socio-political trends rather than on breaking stories.

Regnery Publishing eventually bought ENPR from Novak, but it left editorial control and hiring decisions in Novak’s hands.

In 2006, Timothy P. Carney of Regnery became Novak’s partner in the newsletter.

On February 4, 2009, Novak announced he was ending ENPR’s publication.

This last issue described the implications of Barack Obama’s election as President, which the authors labeled a political ‘paradigm shift’.

Conservative writers such as John Fund, who later worked for The Wall Street Journal, Tim Carney (author of “The Big Ripoff,” “Obamanomics”) and David Freddoso, who later worked for National Review Online, started off as contributors to the ENPR.

His last regular CNN appearance in August 2005 was a memorable one: After swearing on the air, he walked off the set during a political debate with Democratic strategist James Carville.

Novak quickly apologized, but he was to appear on the network rarely after that, in December 2005 while still an employee and on July 27, 2007, to discuss his book.