President Reagan yesterday expressed sympathy for the recent political travails of Vice President Bush and said the intensified contest for the 1988 Republican nomination is a good reason to repeal the 22nd Amendment, which limits a president to two terms.
Reagan said he was not advocating repeal of the amendment for himself, but that it should be considered for a future president.
Asked about the jockeying to succeed him between Bush and Rep. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.), Reagan said, "See, that's what's wrong with having a 22nd Amendment. Everybody automatically, the minute the '84 election is over, everybody starts saying, 'What are we going to do in '88?' And focusing the spotlight on it. I think that it's almost forced on anyone if they are interested in that direction. But I don't know what we can do to change it."
Bush, in a recent speech to the New York State Conservative Party, took on that state's Democratic governor, Mario M. Cuomo, for "telling us to be ashamed to stand up and say we're proud of this great land." The vice president made the remark after Cuomo had publicly vented anger at "ethnic slurs" that he said have cropped up in newspaper columns disparaging the idea that an Italian could be elected president. The Bush address brought criticism from syndicated columnist George Will, who said the vice president was emitting the sound of a "lap dog" -- "a thin, tinny 'arf.' "
Asked if he agreed with Bush's remarks, Reagan said he would not comment and "reopen a feud." But he added that he is "very satisfied with the conduct of the vice president."