Geroge Bush said yesterday that he has no intention of rolling over and getting out of the way if Gerald Ford decides to compete for the Republican presidential nomination.
With primary campaigns drawing to a close in four southern states, Bush's political director, David Keene, accused Ronald Reagan's organization of capitalizing on a whispering campaign aimed against Bush.
Bush has worked hard for a respectable showing in Saturday's primary in South Carolina and balloting next Tuesday in Florida, Georgia and Alabama.
He addrssed about 1,000 supporters at a beer-and-frankfurter lunch in a hotel ballroom in Orlando. Bush said a Ford decision to plunge into the late primaries would "complicate" Bush's own campaign. Both would appeal to the same bloc of Republicans who consider Reagan too conservative, he said.
Meantime, Keene told reporters that a campaign of unsigned newspaper ads and letters to southern newspapers raising questions about Bush's former membership in the Trilateral Commission bore the earmarks of the Reagan campaign. Keene went out of his way to absolve Reagan of personal responsibility.
The Trilateral Commission, headed by banker David Rockefeller, is a small group of prominent businessmen, professors and public figures who seek to further economic ties linking North America, Japan and Western Europe. President Carter was a member while governor of Georgia.