WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Robert C. Byrd said today that Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger has lost "a great deal of credibility" in recent months by failing to demonstrate that Pentagon waste is under control.
The West Virginia Democrat's comments to reporters came as other Democratic senators said that the situation has eroded to the point that Weinberger should resign.
"There is a general feeling that the defense budget is padded considerably," Byrd said. "The waste we have seen revealed has hurt Mr. Weinberger.
Byrd said that the Senate acted recently to keep the MX missile program alive "in spite of rather than because of Mr. Weinberger."
He said Weinberger could help himself by taking a tougher stand against waste and overpricing as represented by disclosures the Pentagon has spent $7,400 for a coffee maker or $659 for an ash tray.