Since 1973, The Heritage Foundation has regularly hosted presidents, members of Congress, Cabinet secretaries, prime ministers and other foreign dignitaries. But perhaps our favorite “royal visitor” was the “Prince of Darkness.’
That was Robert Novak’s nickname in Washington. But those who knew the man knew the title was clearly a joke. Despite his dour demeanor, Bob was a truly affable and giving man. He loved a good joke and could tell one, too. From Bob’s first assignment with AP in the Chicago Bureau under a long-time Feulner family friend, Al Orton, Bob’s mark as a professional journalist was remarkable and consistent. He broke stories, and followed up relentlessly. He was always an honorable and decent man.
His schedule was impossible. News reporting, television commentating, writing books and making public speeches—he did all of it, day after day, at a time of life when most people calmly retire. But “calm” and “retiring” were never his ways. And no matter how hectic his schedule, Bob would always make time to come talk to young people—be they interns interested in conservative ideas, or nascent journalists eager to learn how Washington really works.
True, Bob could be tough, but he was never mean. He always remained true to his principles as both a journalist and a conservative. And it earned him respect from both camps – even if they didn’t always agree with him. He will be missed by the Washington movers and shakers who knew him well, and by the millions who turned to his columns week after week – for more than 40 years– knowing they would get news, and get it straight.