The Republican civil war over the White House's handling of the budget talks intensified yesterday as President Bush sought the removal of a top party official who had urged GOP candidates to run against the president and Republicans privately complained that the White House had put the party at risk to protect Bush's reelection chances in 1992.

As budget negotiators neared agreement on a deficit-reduction package, the White House turned its attention to mopping up the political damage Bush and other Republicans have suffered during the long negotiations. But Republicans outside the administration warned that "blistering anger" in the GOP may take months to heal.

Bush reportedly was furious with Edward J. Rollins, co-chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) for a memo in which Rollins said GOP candidates should oppose the president in their campaigns because of Bush's abandoning his "no new taxes" pledge.

The NRCC, an arm of the House Republican leadership, works to elect Republicans to the House. It is not directly connected to the White House.

After watching an NBC television report about the Rollins memo that included critical comments from Republican consultant Douglas Bailey, Bush, according to one source, told a meeting of GOP leaders at the White House Wednesday night that while he did not control Bailey, he did "control Ed Rollins" and wanted him fired.

Another source said the president did not directly demand Rollins's resignation, but did tell Rep. Guy Vander Jagt (Mich.), chairman of the NRCC, that it would be impossible to work with the committee as long as Rollins was dispensing such advice. Vander Jagt reported that he was "black and blue" from the meeting.

White House press secretary Marlin Fitzwater said it was "the understatement of the decade" to describe the Rollins memo as unhelpful and, pointedly saying that Rollins worked for the NRCC, added, "I think the National Republican Congressional Committee will be able to take charge of this situation."

"I don't plan to resign," Rollins said yesterday. "I plan to work hard the next few months to get through this." He added that he would continue "doing everything I can to elect Republican incumbents."

GOP strategists started to concentrate on propping up candidates whose poll numbers have fallen in recent weeks, with some pointing at Bush's budget performance as a principal liability. "If the Nov. 6 results are as bad as they appear, the consensus will be that George Bush blew it," one strategist said.

A senior administration official, briefing reporters yesterday, said that Republicans should not be so alarmed, insisting that at best the Democrats have gained only a short-term rhetorical advantage. "What the president is going to do is go out and campaign strongly for Republican congressional candidates, and we think that there's a strong plus to Republicans across the board on that basis," the official said.

He said party strategy for months has been designed to tap into anti-incumbent sentiment in the country by trying to make Congress look bad.

"They understood," the official said of nervous Republicans, "that creating a congressional vulnerability was a good thing, and it makes it tough on Republican incumbents, but I think they feel strong enough to withstand it."

But outside the White House, Republicans interpreted such remarks as a sign that the budget agreement was aimed at calming the economy to help Bush for 1992, regardless of the immediate impact on the party. "He took care of himself and he sacrificed us," was the way one Republican put it.

The controversy over Rollins reflected finger-pointing at the White House for producing an agreement that a majority of House Republicans and many in the Senate are expected to oppose. "It's obvious they're in something of a bunker mentality," another Republican strategist said of the White House staff.

The senior administration official said Bush knew all along he would have to expend political capital to get an agreement with the Democrats, an agreement that he said also would be good for the country. "He knew he had to lead and it would be a very rocky road to success," the official said.

At the same time, he made it clear that Bush "has 10 days" to go out and campaign against the Democratic congressional majority for forcing him to accept higher taxes, hoping to put distance between himself and the agreement.

Beginning the attack yesterday, Bush said, "We've been bludgeoned by a bunch of demagogic attacks from the Democrats for months. And I've been relatively sanguine in the face of that, because we've been trying to get something done. But as soon as we get this finished with . . . I will then be free, as will everybody here who've been working on this, to have our say."

"We're the party that's trying to keep the taxes down, and they {Democrats} talk about taxing the rich," Bush said. "They're talking about taxing the working men and women of this country."

White House officials were telling Republicans around town yesterday that Bush would be able to recoup the lost ground with the anti-Democratic blast. But many Republicans were incredulous that the public would accept a mixed message saying the budget agreement is good for the country but the Democrats are bad.