President Reagan, convinced that a $87.5-billion highway bill is a budget-buster, asked one of Washington's most prominent husband-and-wife teams today to help make his planned veto stick in Congress.
Senate Republican leader Bob Dole of Kansas and Transportation Secretary Elizabeth Hanford Dole, emerging from a strategy session with Reagan, conceded to reporters, however, that it will be difficult.
The compromise legislation, which includes a provision allowing a new 65-m.p.h. speed limit on rural interstate highways, was approved by the Senate 79 to 17 last Friday and immediately denounced by Reagan as containing "excessive spending."
It is expected to be delivered to the White House on Tuesday.
Elizabeth Dole told reporters that Reagan is "very much concerned about the fact that there are 152 special-interest projects in this legislation."
Bob Dole acknowledged that Reagan's planned veto is "risky."
But the Republican leader also said that while Reagan needs no confrontation, "he needs to demonstrate that he's in charge, and that he's effective and he can't let these big things through, saying, 'I don't want a confrontation. Let's just go ahead and bust the budget.' "