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CNN’s Novak Still Benched Despite Apology

Aug 8, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Robert Novak said late last week that he was “sorry” for an outburst on CNN’s “Inside Politics” show. The conservative commentator said “bulls**t” and walked off the set last Thursday during a live debate with Democratic commentator James Carville.

Despite his apology, a CNN spokeswoman said, Mr. Novak will remain off the air indefinitely.

“I apologize for my conduct and I’m sorry I did it,” Mr. Novak said in a statement.

Mr. Novak was already controversial due to an ongoing investigation into who might have leaked the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Mr. Novak identified Ms. Plame in his nationally syndicated newspaper column but has declined to respond to other journalists’ questions about his role or source.

Mr. Novak’s outburst was not about the Plame matter. He and Mr. Carville were arguing over the U.S. Senate prospects of Republican Rep. Katherine Harris, who was Florida secretary of state during the 2000 presidential election.

After Mr. Carville accused Mr. Novak of playing to The Wall Street Journal editorial page and “right-wingers,” Mr. Novak said, “Well, I think that’s bulls**t,” took off his microphone and left the CNN set in Washington.

CNN quickly issued a statement that said: “Bob Novak’s behavior on CNN today was inexcusable and unacceptable. Mr. Novak has apologized to CNN, and CNN apologizes to its viewers for his language and actions. We’ve asked Mr. Novak to take some time off.”

On Friday afternoon the CNN spokeswoman said there had been “no change” in the situation.