Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and his wife, Adele, met with a group of reporters Jan. 23 to announce that he would have a heart valve replaced. That press availability -- at which one of his cardiologists also answered questions -- was held within 24 hours of the senator receiving his diagnosis.

Graham didn't learn that his surgeon had also opted to perform a double bypass until he came out of anesthesia. He again took the initiative to disclose that procedure himself; his first opportunity was a conference call with reporters on Feb. 20.

To suggest that he has been anything less than forthcoming about his health [editorial, March 5] is unfair and inaccurate.

Oh, by the way, his recuperation is going great, thanks.

-- Paul Anderson

The writer is Sen. Graham's

deputy chief of staff.

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Contrary to the view of the editorial "Health Matters," neither the press nor the American public has a right to know about the personal health of a candidate or potential candidate before the candidate's family does. Both Bob Graham and John Kerry should be applauded for their openness in discussing their health issues nearly one year before the first primary voter goes to the polls. Let us not make it so difficult to run for office that no seasoned individual who has led a real life will ever do so. A brilliant man or woman in office for three years might be better for the nation than a healthy dunce for eight.

-- Peter D. Rosenstein