Novak Sorry for Flipping Out

Posted August 5, 2005 at 5:43pm

Perhaps Robert Novak stormed off the set of “Inside Politics” because CNN’s Ed Henry was about to throw the book at him, the gigantic “Who’s Who in America,” in which the famously outed CIA agent Valerie Plame’s name appears. Henry had the book sitting in front of him during Thursday’s show and, before Novak’s spectacular on-air fit, planned to ask the Prince of Darkness something like: Is this where you got Plame’s name? Or did it come from Karl Rove? [IMGCAP(1)]

The question was planned in response to Novak’s column last week in which he defended blowing Plame’s cover. “She could

be identified as ‘Valerie Plame’ by reading her husband’s entry in ‘Who’s Who in America,’” Novak wrote.

In an ever-so-brief and slightly rough-and-tumble telephone interview with HOH on Friday, Novak said, “That’s none of your business!” when asked what his answer would have been to Henry’s planned question. Quivering, HOH summoned up the courage to ask, “Are you going back before the grand jury?”

Novak paused and said, “That would suggest I’ve been there before and you don’t know that.” (HOH wrongly thought that perhaps Novak would be more vulnerable and not so sharp after his on-air meltdown.) He very politely, for Bob Novak, declined to answer the question and said he would not discuss the case. But he did confirm that CNN producers had warned him ahead of time that Henry, who was hosting “Inside Politics” when Novak flipped out, would be asking the P of D how he got Plame’s name. Again, the answer to that question is … none of our business.

Of his outburst, Novak told HOH, “I lost my temper which was not excusable.” He blamed “James’ rudeness” for provoking him. Yes, that would be the Ragin’ Cajun, James Carville. “He went on ad hominem. … I do not go on ad hominem,” Novak said. (Oh really, Mr. Novak?)

Congressional staffers, meanwhile, were chuckling up a storm over the little epithet that wild man radio host Don Imus used to describe Henry, our beloved former HOH columnist. While most accounts of the Novak incident painted the young budding television journalist as calm, cool and collected during Thursday’s bizarro incident, Imus, as staffers recall hearing it, called Henry a “panty-wearing sissy boy.” To which Henry responded, “Bring it on!”

Fight at Capital Grille. Careful whose wife you ogle, fellas. Lest you wind up like lobbyist Oliver Kellman, who was spotted “eyeballing” a very attractive woman outside the Capital Grille who, as it turned out, is married — to former NBA player Sherman Douglas, no less.

Kellman, a Democrat turned Republican, walked out of the high-priced steakhouse at about 10 p.m. Thursday with three others in tow when he spotted Douglas’ lovely wife. None too pleased, according to eyewitnesses, Douglas confronted Kellman and suggested in so many words that the lobbyist stay away from his woman.

One eyewitness said Kellman employed the old “don’t you know who I am” tactic, which didn’t go over so well. Douglas answered, “I don’t give a [bad word] who you are!” At which point Kellman took off his jacket and Douglas shoved him. Two valet parking attendants stepped in and broke it up.

Kellman, who was chief of staff to Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) before he bolted to the Republican Party, called HOH from a golf course Friday to give his side of the story.

“He was mouthing off to me and everything,” Kellman said of Douglas.

“By all means, no one was eyeballing anyone,” Kellman said, adding that he told Douglas he didn’t think it was a good idea for “two people, especially two black people” to be fighting in front of the Capital Grille.

Douglas is no stranger to altercations. He was accused of hitting a U.S. Park Service police officer in the knee with his car in January 2004. For his part, Kellman calls himself a lobbyist, though for what interests he did not specify.

Unlikely 50 Cent Fan. When the Anger Management tour featuring rappers 50 Cent and Eminem rolled into Nissan Pavilion last Friday, Joe Trippi was to be front and center.

Yes, that Joe Trippi, the fast-talking, Diet Coke swilling former manager of Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign who since the good governor’s meteoric crash and burn has turned into a cult figure in the blogosphere.

In a brief phone conversation with HOH last week, Trippi confessed his love for 50, the gang member-turned-millionaire rapper.

“I am going for ‘just a lil bit,’” said Trippi, slyly referencing one of the rapper’s most popular songs. For those of you needing a crash course in 50’s oeuvre, “Just a Lil Bit” can be found on “The Massacre” — the rapper’s second album.

Word on the street is that Trippi also does a mean impersonation of 50; HOH, unfortunately, failed to coax that out of him. More drinks next time!

Heat on Corzine. Who would have imagined that the woman embattled Sen. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) was having cocktails with at the Ritz-Carlton a few weeks ago would wind up being front-page news? Indeed, Carla Katz, president of Communications Workers of America Local 1034, is someone New Jersey Republicans hope to make a household name. She’s the woman Corzine, New Jersey’s Democratic candidate for governor, reportedly gave a $470,000 mortgage as a gift, eventually forgiving the debt.

As HOH reported, Katz and Corzine cozied up on a sofa at the West End Ritz-Carlton lounge two weeks ago, he in a suit, she in jeans and high heels, and had what appeared to be a very serious chat. Perhaps now we know why she appeared so upset. She was seen crying that night, though, as one eyewitness said, it didn’t appear Corzine was the culprit.

Is it possible she knew the mortgage story might soon break, and that she might imperil her ex-boyfriend’s chances of winning the governor’s mansion?

Chris Cillizza contributed to this report.