News In Brief

O'Neill steps up criticism of Reagan in TV interview

House Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill (D) of Massachusetts makes some of his harshest comments about President Reagan yet in an interview which airs this weekend on Paul Duke's PBS program ''The Lawmakers.''

Speaker O'Neill speculates that Mr. Reagan has perhaps delegated too much power. ''I don't believe he works over 31/2 hours a day. . . . His knowledge of most of the things that he's talking about is merely the paper in front of him that he's reading.''

Mr. O'Neill also contends that Reagan ''has no compassion, no care, no concern for the people today on the lower echelon of society, as far as their finances are concerned.''

O'Neill said relations with the Soviet Union ''are the worst they have ever been'' since the end of World War II. ''I've never felt so badly about anything as I feel right now with regards to the cold war,'' he said.

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