In the third paragraph of the June 25 news story "Cheney Dismisses Critic With Obscenity" was Vice President Cheney's purported four-letter word in all its glory. Yet later the story shied away from printing a different expletive.

When discussing Sen. John F. Kerry's own foray into cursing, the writers scaled back and avoid repeating the word. They noted George W. Bush's 1999 experience with swearing by using the term "F-word." The confusion is compounded by the writers' apparent belief that Mr. Cheney was speaking "French" on the floor of the Senate.

I think the summer heat has affected The Post's reporters.

DARIN BARTRAM

Kensington

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What I find more disturbing than Vice President Cheney's use of profanity is his response to it. While many of us have said things in anger that we regret afterward, we usually say so. Mr. Cheney, on the other hand, proudly defends his actions [news story, June 26].

Apparently when the vice president said he was looking forward to restoring "a spirit of civility and respect and cooperation" to Washington, and that "we take seriously the responsibility to be honest and civil," he was simply paying lip service.

JOANN C. DAVIS

Germantown

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What wonderful object lessons for our children and students, with whom we work daily to achieve a level of decency and civility. For Vice President Cheney to justify his remarks and actions as part of the rough and tumble of partisan politics is craven at best. He deserves a timeout.

JAY ROUDEBUSH

Headmaster

National Presbyterian School

Washington

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If a public official uses profane language in public, newspapers should report precisely what was said. Disguising the word modifies the truth.

Readers who complained about the potential damage to their fragile children's ears (or eyes) from seeing such a "bad word" in print [Free for All, June 26] should put their energy elsewhere. Isn't it worse that children are exposed to graphic depictions and photographs of gruesome violence, reported in newspapers nationwide every day?

MARK MANLEY

Somerville, Mass.