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First Lady's Role Is Hers to Define

July 18, 1993

Re "Redefining the Perfect Political Wife" (June 30):

I'm afraid I must take small exception with Robin Abcarian's position that we should now redefine the role of the First Lady to more closely match that of Hillary Rodham Clinton for its more liberating example.

I think that the definition of the role of the First Lady should simply be opened up to conform as closely as is practical to the personal style and abilities of each succeeding First Lady or First Gentleman.

There is still a large proportion of graceful, influential and accomplished women in this country who strongly prefer the role of a wife whose "first duty is to help and encourage her husband in the career he has chosen."

I do not think that such women should be compelled by precedent to conform any more to the role as defined by Hillary Rodham Clinton than she should feel compelled to conform to the role as defined by Pat Nixon.

PHILIP W. LYON

Los Angeles

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