Professor Charles Lipson rather daintily remarks that there is a growing perception that "the White House maintains an arms-length relationship with the truth" ("Downward spiral of Obama's presidency," June 17). I wouldn't be so kind.

An active follower of politics since the second Dwight D. Eisenhower administration, I'm no stranger to presidential deception. I heard Ike lie about U-2 spy missions over Russia, President John F. Kennedy lie about closing Jupiter missiles in Turkey to get Nikita Khrushchev to back off during the Cuban missile crisis, and President Lyndon Johnson lie about what happened in the Gulf of Tonkin to trigger massive escalation in Vietnam. I heard President Richard Nixon say "I am not a crook," President George H. W. Bush promise, "Read my lips: no new taxes," and President Bill Clinton claim that he never had "sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky."

I can't recall, however, an administration in which so many different high officials either outright lied or willfully misled the public or Congress. President Obama's, "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan" was judged lie of the year by the Washington Post, which also listed two of his other whoppers among their top five.

Attorney General Eric Holder misled Congress about his knowledge of Fast and Furious activities and about spying on journalists. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied about the National Security Agency's gathering of intelligence on Americans.

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and her boss, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, told what they had to know was a silly story about the attack on Benghazi resulting from an anti-Muslim video.  Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner claimed she hadn't done anything wrong at the IRS. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius repeatedly misled the Congress about the pre-launch readiness of the Affordable Care Act.

The administration's casual regard for the truth was implicit in Hillary Clinton's outburst during testimony on Benghazi: "What difference, at this point, does it make?" The cherry atop this mendacity sundae is the news that the emails of Lerner and six other officials implicated in the IRS targeting of conservative organizations have simply disappeared.

Given this record, whenever this administration officials speak, it's probably prudent to remember Lily Tomlin's wry observation: "No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up."

— Bob Foys, Chicago