No doubt about it: When Bob Novak hung up his gloves, America lost its hardest-hitting and most influential journalist.

Launched in May 1963, Novak’s column was the nation’s longest-running political column. It was also the most powerful. Columns by others may appear in more newspapers, but nobody has Novak’s clout.

Why? First, because he works so hard at it. He never stops. Until now, he never took a break. He had more sources, and better sources, than any other journalist.

His column was also so powerful because Bob Novak is much than just a political commentator. He’s an old-fashioned, deep-digging, relentless reporter. He never just gave his opinion. He reported news. And he often made news.

Novak, of course, is a proud conservative. That’s why we called him “The Prince of Darkness.” But, as I point out in my new book, Trainwreck, unlike other so-called conservatives, Novak always remained true to his conservative principles and was never sucked in by the imperial ambitions or big-government excesses of the neocons.

For six years, I was Novak’s co-host on “Crossfire.” While we disagreed on almost every issue, I came to respect him greatly for his hard work, his determination, and his professionalism.

During that time, we also became good friends. Today, I wish my friend Bob Novak all the strength he needs for this, the toughest battle of his life.

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