Team-player Bush wins plaudits from former Reaganite detractors
Washington — The rising star of Vice-President George Bush now is being noted both within and outside administration circles. * GOP political leaders all around the United States are hailing Mr. Bush of the way he has conducted himself in the vice-presidency thus far.
Many of these are conservative Republicans who have been suspicious of the vice-president but now are expressing enthusiasm about a man they considered a little too liberal when he was seeking the presidency.
Further, some of these conservatives are saying that, should Ronald Reagan somehow decide not to run in 1984, they now could support Bush for president.
What has turned them around?
They speak of Bush's "loyalty" and his all- out advocacy of Reagan programs.
But most of all they like the way the vice- president insists on staying in the background except when the President gives him specific assignments to represent him.
* At the same time the vice-president, very quietly, is establishing himself as a particularly influential adviser to President Reagan, particularly on foreign affairs.
The President, with his eye on Bush's impressive credentials in the foreign field -- US ambassador to the US, chief US liaison to Peking, and director of the CIA -- is using him for very important missions abroad.
Thus, the vice-president now is off to Europe to confer with French President Francois Mitterrand and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Then, after reporting on this visit to the President, Bush will be off to Manila for the inaugural ceremony of President Marcos.
Bush also was chosen to lead the White House crisis-management team -- an appointment that Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig obviously wanted for himself. And the vice-president sits on National Security Council briefings whenever he is in Washington.
* Within the White House, Bush is viewed with ever-increasing respect and admiration.
"Bush earned his spurs in the aftermath of the shooting," one top aide of the President says, referring to the attempt on Reagan's life. "He was nonassertive and dignified. He did it just right."
This aide adds: "Bush makes an effort to reach out to the conservatives -- to go out into their areas and help them with raising funds. He's winning them over, no doubt about that."