On both its editorial and news pages July 7, The Post declares Sen. John Edwards vulnerable on the basis of his inexperience in foreign affairs and government generally.

Missing from The Post's analysis is any reference to the simple reality that if we hired presidents and vice presidents on the basis of their professional credentials, America's political history would look remarkably different. If the voters allowed for that kind of weight, an experienced, savvy Richard Nixon would have beaten the callow John F. Kennedy; Lloyd Bentsen's impressive policy expertise would have sent voters running from Dan Quayle; and, of course, the seasoned veteran Al Gore would have won by even more than his margin of half a million votes over the appallingly unprepared George W. Bush. Conversely, if governmental experience was the only reliable indicator of success, then George H.W. Bush would already have gone down in history as one of our very greatest presidents, Lyndon B. Johnson would have been canonized, etc. Underqualified lightweights such as Abraham Lincoln (trial lawyer, state legislator, one-term congressman) and Harry S. Truman (failed businessman, county judge, two-term, low-profile U.S. senator) would have faded into well-deserved obscurity.

In the campaign to come, listen to what Mr. Edwards says. See whether he is more honest, more thoughtful or clearer-headed than his rivals. See if he can handle himself under pressure. Politically speaking, this Edwards-is-inexperienced line is a lot of GOP hooey, and The Post should know better than to give it play.

THOMAS P. CHAMPION

Somerville, Mass.

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Republicans are claiming that John Edwards is too inexperienced in national and international politics to be vice president.

True, Mr. Edwards has been a senator for less than one term. However, during this time he has served on committees and subcommittees, been involved in and has voted on foreign and domestic affairs and budget matters, has worked with other senators and congressmen, and understands the workings of the law (reflecting his education and work as a lawyer). He has stood on his own two feet during his career.

In contrast, George W. Bush came into office with no experience in the workings of our federal government, or in the workings of senatorial or congressional committees and subcommittees, or in foreign, domestic or budget matters. He has not stood on his own two feet during his career.

I doubt that Mr. Edwards would put this country in the bad fiscal or international situation that Mr. Bush has.

SAM SCHOOLSKY

Lake Charles, La.

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How fitting that John F. Kerry picked John Edwards as his running mate on the same day that The Post featured an editorial about the possibility of more doctors closing down their practices because of Maryland's exploding malpractice insurance crisis ["Maryland's Malpractice Mess," July 6]. This country does not need a man in leadership who made a fortune suing doctors and received huge amounts of support from trial lawyers.

What does the presumptive Democratic nominee think qualifies his choice for the second-highest office in the land? Is it Mr. Edwards's oratorical skill, his boyish good looks or his tear-jerking Horatio Alger story?

DAVID SHERER

Chevy Chase

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I remonstrate against the description of John Edwards as "a boyishly handsome senator who was named by People magazine as the 'sexiest politician' in 2000" [front page, July 7]. Such a description degrades the senator and is sexist.

No responsible newspaper would describe a female candidate as "girlishly beautiful." Dignity should be extended to all members of society.

JANE WOO

Rockville