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I found error in some of the statements issued by Mike Rosenhan concerning the 18-year incumbency of Sen. Orrin Hatch, particularly his belief that Hatch's victory in 1976 was a result of the "liberal" views of Sen. Frank Moss (Forum, Aug. 15). I was there, and that is not the way I remember it.

Moss raised the white flag of surrender following his renomination, coming home for very few fund-raisers and conducting a quiet campaign. After three terms in office, Moss was tired of the fiasco that personifies Washington, D.C. There was nothing "liberal" about Moss in the pejorative sense that Rosenhan would have you believe. Moss passed a bill to ban television cigarette commercials. Moss was "liberal" in the sense that he believed in working people and independently fought in that vein. Even in his ambivalence, Moss lost by a very narrow margin.The simple fact of the matter is that no Utah senator - regardless of party affiliation - has ever served beyond three terms. The great Sen. Reed Smoot, possibly the most popular senator in state history - even after passing the tariff that flushed this country into depression - was turned out of office after 18 years.

Hatch did in fact win on a watered-down term-limitations platform, or perhaps I misinterpreted him when he said, "No disrespect, Sen. Moss, but 18 years is long enough." Maybe I didn't understand when he said, "We need new faces, new blood, new thinking. We used to have statesmen in the Senate . . . now we have expedient politicians."

Rosenhan believes that Pat Shea will "have no influence if Republicans win control of the Senate." It will be a very cold day when the mainstream voters of this nation support a Republican Party that has adopted principles of the radical right and continues to preach elitism.

I have supported Hatch at the polls for his entire career and am first to commend his fine service. But I will not take part in allowing the senator to trample the standard that he sets for his political opponents.

Arlen S. Craghead

Salt Lake City

Editor's note: Actually, three U.S. senators from Utah have served longer than three terms: Reed Smoot was elected by the Legislature in 1903 and 1909 and by the public in 1914, 1920 and 1926. William H. King served from 1917 to 1941 and Wallace F. Bennett from 1951 to 1975 - 24 years each.