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Strengthen—PR. The correct answer choice is (C)
Here we have a lawmaker who has spoken out against perceived reckless spending on two occasions: previously with regard to the military, and more recently with regard to a psychology department's research grant. When the department wished to send a letter of disapproval, the chairperson refused to sign, because she had offered praise in the first instance, when the lawmaker had spoken out against reckless military spending.
The question stem asks for the answer choice which most strengthens the chairperson's argument for not signing the department's letter. The correct answer choice will likely involve consistency of praise within certain broad contexts.
Answer choice (A): The chairperson did not object to signing the letter on the basis of any lack of careful consideration, but on the inconsistency with her previous praise.
Answer choice (B): This obligation would not have any effect on the legitimacy of the chairperson's basis for refusal to sign the referenced letter, so this answer choice is incorrect.
Answer choice (C): This is the correct answer choice. This principle would lend significant strength to the chairperson's basis for refusal. She has already praised the lawmaker for playing a watchdog role in the past, so she should not criticize a similar response in a context that affects her own professional interests.
Answer choice (D): The chairperson's reasoning for not signing the department letter is not based on an across-the-board objection to academic representatives' publicly passing judgment—in fact, the chairperson has already done exactly that by praising the lawmaker's response to the military spending episode—so this answer choice cannot strengthen her case; it would instead put her in the wrong in the earlier instance.
Answer choice (E): This equivalent responsibility does not strengthen the case of the chairperson, who doesn't want to criticize where her own professional interests are concerned, in a context related to one in which she had offered praise on an earlier occasion.