A group of leading American thinkers has criticized President Reagan's attacks on liberalism and called it one of the noblest U.S. traditions.
In the past and at its best, liberalism had sought the institutional defense of decency and opposed tyranny in all forms, the 62 signatories declared in a full-page advertisement in Wednesday's New York Times.
During the 1988 presidential campaign, Republicans, including Reagan, have used the word liberal as a pejorative term in denunciations of Dukakis.
"At our country's founding, the spirit of liberalism suffused the Revolution, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. These principles, thus embodied, have inspired the respect of much of the world," the advertisement said.
The signatories include investment banker Felix Rohatyn of Lazard Freres, credited with revitalizing a near-bankrupt New York City in the 1970s, former World Bank President Robert S. McNamara and former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance.