Former U.S. ambassador and CIA chief George Bush, making no attempt to conceal his ambitions for the 1980 Republican presidential nomination, last night accused President Carter of "pulling the rug out from under the shah of Iran."
In a "nonpolitical" speech at Georgetown University. Bush stopped short of saying the shah's government could have been saved. But, he said, Carter's "on-again, off-again statements" about Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi "did much to hasten his departure."
The statements, he said, were typical of Carter's foreign policy of "splendid oscillation" and are "slowly, inexorably breaking the links between the United States and its friends abroad."
Bush's speech was his first major address in Washington since he began traveling around the country almost a year ago trying to build support for a 1980 presidential bid.
He is the eighth Republican presidential hopeful to visit the city in the last four days.
In visits with Congress members earlier and in his Georgetown speech he left little doubt that he is on the verge of officially announcing his candidacy. When a student asked him about his presidential plans, Bush said, "I was afraid that question would never be asked... I'm keenly interested."
Bush, a former Texas congressman and an official in the Nixon administration, also lashed out at Carter policies on human rights, China and the strategic arms limitation treaty (SALT). Specifically, he said:
On China -- He supports recognition of the People's Republic of China but "we gave all and got nothing in return" in withdrawing recognition from the noncommunist government in Taiwan.
On SALT -- "The president has unilaterally given up so many bargaining chips -- the B1 bomber, the neutron bomb, naval modernization and the rest -- without winning anything in return."