11/07/2005 08:16 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Bob Novak Smears John McCain

Robert Novak says that concern over John McCain's age is slowing his fundraising, because tickets to a New York City dinner allegedly did not sell well.

Nonsense. This feels like a line of attack floated by someone who doesn't like McCain, perhaps one of his potential opponents for the 2008 GOP nomination, and happily passed along by Novak—without any attribution.

Novak writes: "Many New York contributors to McCain's 2000 presidential campaign were reluctant to attend this year's event. The fact [that] McCain will be 72 years old for the 2008 presidential campaign was cited to explain lack of enthusiasm, as was the senator's support for the Iraq war."

How does Novak know this? He doesn't tell us.

Among the "many New York contributors" who now don't want to give, can Novak name one? Apparently not.

And who "cited" McCain's age and the senator's "support for the Iraq war" to explain the alleged "lack of enthusiasm"? Novak doesn't tell us that either.

In fact, there's no way to know if the premise of this item is true: that tickets to the dinner are not selling. That phrase "reluctant to attend" is particularly important, because if it turns out that the event [which is tonight] is a success, Novak still has a hedge to fall back on: Well, they attended reluctantly.

Consider this column a nasty little unsourced smear, then.

I know—from Bob Novak? Hard to imagine.