Private Life, Public Office

What must voters know about a candidate for President? Abandoning his race for the White House, Gary Hart complained that he had in effect been put under a microscope and then dissected, like "some extraordinary creature." Just so. In selecting a President, voters must judge not only a man's resume and policies but also his character. Yet what constitutes character? When is an inquiry into a politician's private behavior valid, and when is it an intrusion that says nothing about his abilities?

George Reedy, press secretary to President Lyndon Johnson

"What counts with a candidate for President is his character, and...

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