Taking a Democrat to task

The author of the Opinion page article "The Republicans and Duke - a Rhetorical Continuum," Dec. 17, seized on a reference I made to Gov. Mario Cuomo's prospects for electoral success in the South as evidence that Republicans are somehow biased.

I'd been asked about the governor's prospects and, in response, paraphrased something I'd read in the Washington Post Magazine. This was the passage: "Another Southern Democrat, former National Party Chairman Robert Strauss, probably got closer to the mark on the barriers of ethnicity when he later kidded Cuomo: 'We don't like Marios in Texas " The same story quoted a Mr. Don Fowler, described as a "fair-minded" Democratic activist in South Carolina, as saying, "There are no Marios in the South."

Perhaps the most succinct lesson here is that quoting Democrats is always a mistake. Sen. Phil Gramm, Washington

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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