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The White House has accused Reagan of carrying his attack beyond the bounds of political fair play in accusing Carter of jeopardizing US defense security for his own political ends.

"I think he's greatly overstepped the bounds of acceptable partisanship," White House spokesman Jody Powell said.

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Carter has rarely been more angry, according to Powell, than following Reagan's charge that making the details of the "Stealth" bomber public was a compromise of US security for political advantage.