Pat Robertson is embarrassed? I'm embarrassed -- to subscribe to a newspaper that would ask a candidate about his marriage date, let alone print his response.

Sure you have a responsibility to inform readers about character flaws you find in political candidates. Examining Sen. Joe Biden's scholastic career, for example, was valid when it became clear that he continued to plagiarize. Gary Hart's apparent infidelity was of interest -- but mostly because it demonstrated what was suspected to be a longstanding inclination. The public had a right to know that these men had not learned from their errors and continued to exercise bad judgment.

Robertson's efforts to obscure his marriage date, however, illustrate nothing but his desire to protect his family. No one is arguing that he has continued to conceive children out of wedlock. As for the argument that his moralistic stands make his personal life fair game -- hogwash! Unlike Biden and Hart, Robertson seems to have learned something from this mistake. Who is better qualified to speak about the unhappy consequences of premarital sex than one who has faced them?

So crucify Robertson for exaggerating his educational, military and professional credentials. Nail him on his early writings. These things are germane. I opposeRobertson's candidacy for these and many other good reasons. But I believe that The Post owes Robertson, his family and your readers an apology.

Maura C. Kennedy

'When Will The Post Wake Up?'

Last Saturday I witnessed a beautiful cross section of American society join together in front of the IRS Building on Constitution Avenue, expressing commitment to the bonding of gay relationships. Around me were four or five thousand other gay men and women from all walks of life, as "typical" a group as you could hope to find in any American city.

What, then, did The Washington Post find to photograph and publish the following day? A flamboyant transvestite dressed in a flowing gown and a clown's mask of makeup. When will The Post wake up and recognize that gay men and women are represented by all types of people, old and young, black and white, conformist and noncomformist?

The Post's portrayal of only the most outrageous of our number was a disservice to the hundreds of thousands of serious-minded, committed individuals who spent an incredible amount of time and energy to come to Washington and fight for our rights and press for a cure for AIDS.

Jonathan P. Streeter


Evans and Novak should be ashamed of their Israel bashing by rumor and innuendo. Their column "Is Israel Selling Arms to Iran Again?" {Oct. 9} contains many rumors -- but not a single implicating fact to support their innuendos. Some of the key words in just half of their column in the order they appear:''. . . suspicious . . . reliable sources {unnamed} . . . difficult to prove . . . suspect . . . may be . . . Iranian source {unnamed} . . . may be . . . U.S. officials {unnamed} . . . Israeli lobby . . . so powerful . . . Suspicions . . . anonymity . . . We suspect . . . If . . .'' and so on.

Columns like that reveal the bias of the authors. As a result, their credibility (which should be their principal asset) is substantially damaged.

Lee Samet

The writer is cochairman of Americans For a Safe Israel, Washington Chapter.

'Zippy': It's Nonsense (Cont'd.)

"Zippy" makes no sense whatever, but it was to be expected that there would be people who would write in support of it {Free for All, Oct. 10}. There are plenty of those who equate incomprehensibility with quality. They think that because they can't understand something, it has to be good.

John E. Vetter

'Infamous' Carter List?

In what sense was President Carter's so-called hit list of ridiculous pork-barrel Western water projects ''infamous''?

Your news story Oct. 2 on the end of the Bureau of Reclamation's dam-building mission (a direct outgrowth of the Carter careful-scrutiny system of management) used this adjective. Shame on you!

The Russians have now taken Leon Trotsky off the nonperson list and restored him to history. You should do the same for President Carter. He is a great man whose wisdom, honesty, lack of pomp and pretense have shone brighter every day since an actor (amiable, inattentive, dogmatic) succeeded this Annapolis-trained, duty-focused submarine officer, who earned a graduate degree in nuclear science.

The ayatollah arranged that change in leadership for us.

-- Maurice F. X. Donohue