Ross Perot, Brash Texas Billionaire Who Ran for President, Dies at 89 – The New York Times

While Mr. Perot had done business with every administration since Lyndon B. Johnson’s, the federal government was one of his favorite targets. Washington, he told its own denizens, “has become a town with sound bites, shell games, handlers, media stuntmen who posture, create images, talk, shoot off Roman candles, but don’t ever accomplish anything. We need deeds, not words, in this city.”

Improbably, he surged in the polls while the Republican incumbent, George Bush, and the Democrat, Bill Clinton, trained their fire on each other. Polls showed that Mr. Perot’s support came from across the spectrum, from Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals, mostly from the middle class. Citizen drives got him on the ballot in all 50 states. He was on the cover of Time magazine.

But at the peak of his popularity, he unexpectedly dropped out of the race. Months later, he jumped back in, saying his withdrawal had been prompted by Republican “dirty tricks” to sabotage his daughter’s wedding with faked compromising photographs.

He did surprisingly well in three presidential debates, often mocking the “gridlock” in Washington. “It’s not the Republicans’ fault, of course, and it’s not the Democrats’ fault,” he said in the second round. “Somewhere out there there’s an extraterrestrial that’s doing this to us, I guess.”

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