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Presidential Candidates

October 11, 1987

In the article on the flap in the Dukakis campaign (Part I, Oct. 1), The Times seems intent on raising questions concerning the governor's "control over his organization and even about his judgment." This, coupled with all the feigned moral outrage over the original Biden "scandal," seems in the era of Reagan to set a double standard of utterly laughable proportions.

The moral tone for political discourse is set at the top, and it is from the high office of the President that we have, since 1981, been treated to an almost ceaseless series of unmitigated whoppers. From the obvious, "We did not, I repeat did not, trade arms for hostages," to the more subtle, "We will never turn tail and run from Beirut," the history of this Administration has been one of prevarication so blatant as to shame P.T. Barnum.

Did Biden exaggerate his law school record and achievements? This too is certainly not without presidential precedent. Reagan has, at various times, convinced himself and tried to convince others, that he participated in the assault on the cliffs above Normandy, witnessed first hand the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps, and listened painfully as a doomed bomber pilot consoled his young crew mate as they rode the plane down together.

The latter, of course, the actor-President had confused with a movie. The other two incidents were pure fiction.

Finally, I know it is a right-wing axiom that the media are all unabashedly "liberal." Still, I must observe that while Biden and Hart have been hounded from the campaign trail, the only thing Reagan has stepped down from is the time-honored custom of holding regular presidential press conferences. Far from being "liberal," it seems to me, the media in the last seven years, have proven not even to be competent.

KEVIN P. SMITH

Newbury Park

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