A Letter From The Publisher, Sep. 13, 1976

Autumn is a season of bonfires, pep rallies, red-dogs and touchdowns—as well as the time for presidential candidates to make their climactic quadrennial sprint toward Election Day. "Both football and press-the-flesh politics are peculiarly American institutions," says Associate Editor James Atwater, the writer of this week's cover story who has observed those peculiarities at close hand for three decades.

Atwater began his journalistic career on a festive note at age 16, when he put in a summer stint for the Springfield (Mass.) Union. The only staffer on hand at the paper's two-man Westfield bureau on V-J day, he recalls, "I took...

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