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Steve Otnes, Minot, N.D., letter: Got it wrong about Conrad's mortgages

No one questions Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., has been good for North Dakota. There is reason he is rated among the top 10 U.S. senators. Public service is a thankless job, always under scrutiny of constituents and potential for occupational hazard ...

No one questions Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., has been good for North Dakota. There is reason he is rated among the top 10 U.S. senators. Public service is a thankless job, always under scrutiny of constituents and potential for occupational hazard in every action taken. Learning of an involvement with Countrywide Financial, a leader in the subprime mortgage failure, my immediate reaction as with many North Dakotans was extreme disappointment, much doubt, anger, then scathing public criticism of Conrad.

A shameful environment has existed these past 7½ years in Washington. Americans have grown sick of unending corporate and political scandal. Continued government failures have dishonored America's image and her people. A common symptom of these times, we the people have possibly become quick to judge and condemn all in government. Even the innocent.

News can often become twisted and distorted. Further revelation of all the facts surrounding Conrad these past few weeks, plus his open sincerity in this episode, changed my view. I believe Conrad's statements and retract my previous public criticism. North Dakotans pride ourselves on being honest, God-fearing people with ethical standards above those found elsewhere. But we also are the first to give benefit of doubt and grant a second chance.

Over the years, Conrad has done well for North Dakota. For her people, Conrad has always shown a sincere and genuine interest. I hope others will reconsider their criticism of the senator and give him the benefit of any doubt. Considering Conrad's outstanding record, let us look beyond this one hiccup in his otherwise stellar career representing North Dakota.

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