Reagan's political skills winning ground for his economic package
Washington — President Reagan, while stll not working full-day schedules, is showing that he has lost none of his skill as a political maneuverer. For example:
* As a device to split the Democratic majority in the House, Mr. Reagan has joined up with the conservatives in that body by endorsing their $689 billion spending program for the next fiscal year.
This proposal differs somewhat from the Reagan proposal -- but a reagan aide says the difference is "not at all substantial." And, by moving to this compromise, Reagan has found a method whereby he may be able to put much of his economic program through the House.
* At the same time, the President is actively wooing the Republican senators who, in a recent committee vote, helped forge a preliminary defeat for the Reagan economic proposal.
Also, White House insiders say they are convinced that a few "discussions" between the President and other senators who may have reservations about the Reagan program will keep the GOP's Senate majority from moving away from support of this economic package.
* He is keeping heat on any Democrats intending to defeat his legislative initiatives. The President is making a number of phone calls to Democratic congressmen in which, by implication, he delivers this message: Follow me, or else the voters --who support my plan -- may become so unhappy about your performance that they might vote for someone else two years from now.
On Tuesday, the President conferred with several governors -- five Republicans and one Democrat.
These state leaders told the press afterward that they were going to talk to congressmen from their states who are expressing opposition to the Reagan program.
Republican Gov. William Clements of Texas, when asked what he would do in his conversations with these congressmen, laughed and said, "I'll do some arm twisting."
Meanwhile, at a breakfast with reporters, Lloyd Cutler, often referred to as the "wise man" on President Carter's White House staff, was saying that Reagan "has had a very good 100 days" and is "in style more like Franklin D. Roosevelt than any other President I can think of."
Here Mr. Cutler was underscoring Reagan's personal style and political ability to work with others and get things done.