PHOENIX, OCT. 9 -- Former Arizona senator Barry Goldwater has criticized Gov. Evan Mecham's first 10 months in office and said the embattled fellow Republican should resign.

Goldwater also said Arizona Secretary of State Rose Mofford (D) is "one of the greatest women that ever got into politics" and added that "if the governor was smart, he'd quit and let Rose be governor."

Mofford would succeed Mecham if the governor resigned.

Goldwater, 78, spoke Thursday to about 75 students at Arizona State University. "I don't like some of the things he's done," Goldwater said of Mecham. "I think until you understand the man better you can't understand why he does these things. He's a very, very religious man, and I think he honestly feels that he has an 800-line straight up to God.

"I told him one morning, I said, 'Ev, before you use that line, why don't you call some of us . . . that were in this business and find out what we think and then get the word from upstairs.' "

Mecham, who is the target of a recall drive, has been criticized for his stands on a variety of civil rights and other issues.

Ken Smith, Mecham's press secretary, said today, "There seems to be almost a feeding frenzy of calls for resignation without a close look at the support he has. It doesn't make sense."