Republican candidate Ronald Reagan allowed himself to be "Searscumcised" in Iowa, New Hampshire's most influential newspaper charged today, as it called for the ouster of Reagon campaign manager John Sears.
The editorial in the Manchester Union Leader, which termed Reagan's Iowa defeat "an unmitigated disaster," said the former California governor should emerge from "the tidy, cellophone-wrapped publicity package in which he has allowed himself to be enveloped," and begin to "express anger" about issues.
The warning -- from a newspaper which strongly backs Reagan's candidacy -- came as political professionals argued and postured over the significance of Reagan's defeat by former ambassador George Bush.
Reagan has been criticized for not campaigning more vigorously both in Iowa and New Hampshire. He has appeared in the Granite State only three times in the last few months. Bush, who was virtually unknown here until now, has made 30 trips to New Hampshire in his year-long campaign for the presidency.
Speaking to 300 students at Timberlane Regional High School in this snowy New Hampshire village, Bush grinned like the Cheshire Cat when asked by a student if he has "clobbered" Reagan.
"I beat him pretty good," he said. But, fearful of raising expectations for the Feb. 26 primary here, he quickly added, "I have a long way to go. I have to redouble my efforts here."
Bush's last New Hampshire poll, taken in late October, showed Reagan, with 51 percent of the vote, trailed by Bush, Senate Majority Leader Howard H. Baker Jr. and former Texas governor John B. Connally, each with 12 percent.
A new ABC News-Harris Survey, taken Tuesday, in the flush of Bush's Iowa victory, shows him running even with Reagan nationwide among Republican and independent voters.
New Hampshire, like Iowa, will be a battle of organizations. Bush sent out a million fund-raising letters Tuesday, targeting early primary states. He has volunteers in all 263 New Hampshire townships.
However, Bush's New Hampshire chairman, Hugh Gregg -- in an effort, perhaps, to counter media hype of Bush's chances -- said today, "Iowa hasn't affected Reagan at all in New Hampshire."
After hearing Bush speak, Alec Porter, now 17, whose parents are Reagan supporters, said "Bush is conservative. I like the fact that he is against marijuana. He's for nuclear power. He's for registering for the draft. I'll probably vote for him."
Although Reagan is expected to spend more time here now, the Union Leader predicted "he cannot win if he continues to mute his style of campaigning."
Reagan "must stop looking at the political polls and 'tiptoeing through the tulips' lest John Sears complain that he might offend this or that bloc of voters," the Union Leader said.
"We would recommend strongly that he get rid of the Sears Catalogue of Jaded Politics, take a leaf out of the book of Harry Truman -- and REALLY 'give em hell'!"