Key role for Bush -- Reagan's 'partner' in foreign affairs
Washington — President-elect Ronald Reagan's emerging blueprint for conducting the presidency now calls for: * Staying close to Washington for the next year or two while concentrating on economic problems.
* Depending heavily on Vice-President-elect Bush to take the "presidential" trips abroad.
From the warm relationship between the two men that grew out of the campaign, the President- elect has decided early to give priority to utilizing Bush's experience in foreign affairs.
Thus, Reagan is likely to give Bush the important and extremely delicate task of introducing the Reagan presidency's aims and commitments to the world's leaders.
The former UN ambassador and envoy to Peking will be given much of the responsibility for easing the apprehensions that US allies might have about US foreign policy under the new Reagan presidency.
The President-elect is working out the plan for his vice-president's role himself. The transition team, while discussing that role, is not expected to have much to say on shaping it.
"It's between the two of them," a Reagan "insider" says.
But Bush's emerging job description for the vice-president is taking shape. While giving some heed to former President Ford's recommendation that Reagan make Bush his administration chief of staff, the President-elect appears to have decided to have Bush play a strong substantive, advisory role. Thus, like President Carter before him, reagan says his vice-president will be his partner.
While at first pressing Bush into intensive action on the global scene, reagan also intends to keep him busy at home. He feels that Bush can help him cement relations with Congress and assist in pushing his initiatives on Capitol Hill. Here Reagan will be taking advantage of Bush's close relationships with members of Congress, which he put together when he was a Texas congressman.
Finally, the President-elect is understood to be considering Bush for the added role of chief presidential liaison with the Republican National Committee. Bush, one-time GOP national chairman, has a host of friends and supporters among the committee members. the vice-president-elect may well be positioned to run the political arm of the Reagan-headed party, a job that Reagan is not particularly interested in doing himself.
The Reagan-Bush relationship, once quite cool during the primaries, bloomed during the recent campaign in which Bush went all-out for Reagan for 11 straight weeks, six days of each week.
Says one reagan aide, "The two thought they didn't like each other. and the views thought they didn't like each other. And now they all have become good friends.
"No, this isn't a coming together of political convenience. I've talked to all parties concerned, and I'm convinced they genuinely like each other."
Mr. Carter has turned the vice-presidency into a position of prime importance. Walter Mondale acted as an influential adviser on all major issues and presidential initiatives domestic and foreign.
Reagan hopes to make the No. 2 spot even more important, turning his vice-president into an official who carries some of the presidential burden, not in setting policy, but in helping to make it work -- particularly in foreign affairs.