LUBBOCK, Texas -- Vice President George Bush is giving tentative support to beleaguered budget director David Stockman, saying Stockman needs to rebuild credibility in both the eyes of the president and the nation.
Bush, touring west Texas and the Panhandle while President Reagan visits the Houston and San Antonio areas, said Friday Stockman was a 'brilliant, computer-minded individual' but had much to learn in dealing with the news media.
'Stockman and everyone else in the administration needs to learn there is no such thing as off the record comments,' Bush said. 'He (Stockman) won't be talking to journalists off the record anymore.'
Earlier in Midland, where he dedicated a museum wing, Bush urged Stockman to shore up his credibility.
'I think there's room for criticism (of Stockman and others) in terms of undisciplined talking to the press,' Bush told reporters.
He also warned of leaks from Cabinet meetings.
'It's normal and proper in a vigorous Cabinet roundtable to have different views on issues. Where we have had problems is when these ideas leak to the press before the president makes a decison.'
In a recent article published by Atlantic Monthly, Stockman suggested the president's tax cut was a 'Trojan Horse' designed to lower taxes for the richest Americans. He said in the article that 'none of us really understands what's going on with all these (budget) numbers.'
The vice president said in Lubbock he also was concerned the author of the article implied Reagan shared Stockman's views and doubted the eventual success of the economic program of budget and tax cuts.
At a Chamber of Commerce banquet, attended by Rep. Kent Hance, D-Texas, Bush also chided Washington-based journalists he said accused the Reagan administration of lacking a foreign policy.
'If that were true, how is it these same people find more than enough policy to criticize the stands we've taken toward El Salvador, Europe, South Africa, East Asia, the Soviet Union and elsewhere?'
Bush said all those are foreign places with a consistent policy attached to them.
He promised that Reagan would 'hang in there' in adhering to his principles in foreign policy, which includes a resistance to communist aggression through a strong national defense.