Republican congressional leaders said yesterday that President Reagan is on a "roll" of victories for their party on potentially damaging issues, notably the bipartisan Social Security accord and Democrats' agreement on a low-cost jobs program to relieve unemployment.
GOP leaders had seen both unemployment and the Social Security financial problems as potentially good issues for the Democrats. Yesterday they were trumpeting the recent agreements on Social Security and jobs as political achievements made possible through bipartisan cooperation led by a Republican president.
The White House released upbeat remarks by the president to GOP leaders who visited the White House yesterday, and offered reporters a quote from Senate Majority Leader Howard H. Baker Jr. (R-Tenn.) only minutes after he spoke to reporters in the White House driveway.
Deputy press secretary Larry Speakes quoted Baker as telling Reagan: "With the stock market up, with the Social Security compromise, with the economy improving, with presidential leadership on the jobs bill and the vice president's and Secretary Shultz' successful trips, Mr. President, you've got a roll going."
Earlier, Baker, who had been briefed with other Republican leaders on the trips of Vice President Bush to Europe and Secretary of State George P. Shultz to Asia and on the progress of the defense budget, told reporters, "The president has achieved a bipartisan approach to major problems confronting this country."
Baker's praises included a compliment for Rep. Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill Jr. (D-Mass.): "I think the president has reached out. I think the Democrats, particularly Speaker O'Neill, have responded and I think that augurs well for the country and I think things are looking better."
In his statement on the jobs bill, Reagan referred to its bipartisan nature, but also got in a pitch for his approach:
"I am hopeful that we can pass on a bipartisan basis a bill that does not contain any make-work jobs . . . ," he said.