WASHINGTON — A key Republican supporter of Robert H. Bork said today that President Reagan vacationed while the nomination burned and White House strategists should be "cleaned out" for their poor lobbying effort.
"The White House decided to take the month of August off," Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa said in an interview published in the Des Moines Register.
Grassley blamed Reagan's "cavalier approach to governing" for Bork's rejection by the committee.
"While Ron and Nancy were riding horses in August, the opposition was organizing," he said.
Grassley said the Bork opposition could have been overcome with a concerted effort by the Administration. "There's no way this nominee could have been defeated with all the power of the White House," he said.
Sen. John B. Breaux of Louisiana, who today became the ninth Southern Democrat to oppose Bork, told reporters he was surprised that the President never called him to ask for support.