Well, that settles that: NYT 1, Bob Novak 0. Bush evidently didn’t find out until the day after and wisely chose to put it in his pocket lest an Election Day bombshell lead to nutroots screeching about the ultimate November surprise forever after.
The more I think about it, the more I think the CW is wrong that the GOP would have fared better if they’d dumped Rummy a week or two before the election. That would have looked like what it was, a naked pander to anti-war sentiment that would have been sniffed at by the center as a cynical vote-grab and rejected by the GOP base as a concession to the left. If they were going to bring down the hammer, the time to do it was earlier in the year when it could be plausibly denied as an election move with enough lag time to let the base recover before the vote.
So, er, why didn’t they do that?
Exit question counterfactual: 10 p.m., the night before the election, the White House announces that Rumsfeld quit. Are you more or less motivated to vote Republican the next day?