A subscriber for many years, I heartily congratulate you and your staff for bringing us "Great Moments in Campaign History" [January 28-February 4].
This is a highly informative and interesting work by a series of fine authors. It is particularly well-written, balanced and effectively presented. It brings forth many interesting facts, opinions and consequences of past turbulent presidential politics which are not generally known, even by us very senior citizens. I am calling it to the attention of my children and friends.
Robert E. Neiman
Regarding your selections of the dirtiest campaigns in U.S. presidential election history, I believe you were off base on one and failed to select the most vitriolic. First of all, to paint Thomas Jefferson as largely passive in his response to Federalists attacks is absolutely spurious. Jefferson was often directly involved in slandering political opponents with little regard for truth. He employed publishers and editors to conduct his dirty work in campaigns in 1796, 1800 and 1804. Secondly, the swift boat attack ads pale in comparison to the 1824 and 1828 election contests between John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson.
The statement "Jefferson did father at least one child with Hemings" in "Sex, Lies, and Major Headlines" is misleading. While some historians may have concluded this to be so, there is no scientific proof that Thomas Jefferson fathered a child by Sally Hemings and U.S. News should have made that clear.
In contrast to the way he is portrayed in "A Mudslide Aimed at Jefferson," Thomas Jefferson was hardly an innocent victim. He engaged in negative campaigning and went so far as to hire "journalist" named James Callender to slander John Adams. I recommend reading a terrific book, Adams vs. Jefferson : The Tumultuous Election of 1800, by Dr. John Ferling.
The last thing I needed at merely the half-way point of a two-year election cycle was your special "Great Moments in Campaign History" issue. This year my vote will go to the party whose standard-bearers make the strongest commitment to trimming future election cycles back to a reasonable four or, at most, five months.
Charles E. Collier
When I read "The Mother of All Put-Downs," I recalled what I thought would happen during the debate between Dan Quayle and Lloyd Benson. Dan Quayle would make some comparison between himself and Jack Kennedy. Benson would deliver the (expected) put-down. But then, Dan Quayle would turn his whole body toward Benson, look him straight in the eye, and say, "You're right Senator Benson. I'm no Jack Kennedy." Then he would look toward the audience where his wife was sitting, and say, "And, Marilyn, you can count on it."
Your "Great Moments in Campaign History" issue could be used as a classroom text. I'm 84 and some of it was déjà vu for me. Thanks for the nostalgia trip!
Edward T. Codey
Phoenix , Ariz.