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The President's Response to Hurricane Andrew

Regarding the editorial "Andrew's Aftermath," Sept. 3: I'm surprised that the editorial condoned the inactivity of President Bush after his visit to Florida. Didn't the president, after arriving home, read the papers, listen to the radio, or watch TV for four days? Where was his staff? Why didn't he call the governor of Florida to check on the delay? The situation was and is unbelievable. Nancy Rice, Bakersfield, Calif.

President Bush, selling himself to voters as the man they can trust to act decisively in a crisis, failed to make advance preparations to handle the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew that had been expected for two weeks. The delay didn't help his image of one who wants to be seen as a take-charge hombre. He was more responsive to foreign-relief operations that command worldwide attention.

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Bush's campaign advisers, panicky about losing Florida's 25 electoral votes, hope to turn the despair and skepticism of the beleaguered storm victims to gratitude for belated assistance. The president played Santa Claus with federal funds, promising to rebuild the shattered homes and facilities in the stricken areas while the housing crisis plaguing the rest of the country continues to deteriorate unattended. Florence Fox, La Jolla, Calif.

I cannot help but wonder how far the money spent on campaigns for the presidency and convention balloons would go toward meeting the expense of the hurricane victims. What a notable gesture it would be if either candidate could turn over his campaign contributions to that effort. Joyce Gorman, DeLand, Fla.

President Bush, who has been critical of congressional pork-barreling, has decided to rebuild Homestead Air Force Base, which has been considered for elimination. Mr. Bush has also OK'd planes for Taiwan to save Texas jobs and is considering easing the regulation that would limit ethanol-blended gasoline. This would help Midwestern farmers but weaken the Clean Air Act, which he supported. The president, whose actions are concentrated in states he needs to carry, has pushed for the line-item veto to contr ol congressional pork. But who will control presidential pork? Richard Barsanti, Western Springs, Ill.

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