Perot tosses homey homilies around faster than snow melts on a hot Julyday

ROSS SPEAK

October 23, 1992|By Susan Baer | Susan Baer,Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - Even if he finishes a distant third, packs up his pie charts and retreats to the comfort of his billions, independent presidential candidate Ross Perot will have made a vital contribution to the world of politics.

Great one-liners.

In this year of RoboCandidates and vice presidential attack dogs, Americans owe the tart-tongued Texan a debt of gratitude for enlivening the political discourse.

Often, campaigns have been built around a single catch-phrase: Walter Mondale tossed around "Where's the beef?" Ronald Reagan happily hurled "There you go again!" at his opponent. George Bush, of course, will forever be linked with his telltale lips.

Mr. Perot, it seems, has an endless arsenal of quirky, colorful quips, some of which have been repeated so often they've become part of the political lexicon.

What follows is a compilation of Rossisms - and their translations - that, for better or for worse, have turned election year '92 into a Silly Putty, Froot Loopy kinda thing.

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I'll be like a mechanic who's under the hood, working on the engine.

Ross Perot as Mr. Goodwrench, a hands-on deficit repairman.

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If you just want Lawrence Welk music, wunnerful, wunnerful, I'm not your man.

His solutions to economic problems will be more painful than accordion music.

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Fine man, fine family

Someone he strongly dislikes, such as George Bush.

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Never give in, never give in, never, never, never!

The Winston Churchill quote with which he closed his campaign rallies in the first round of his campaign. Has never uttered it once since quitting in July. Never!

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World-class campaign

What he pledged to deliver if Americans put his name on the ballot in every state - now understood as 30-minute sessions with Professor Perot, pie charts and pointer. ("World class" also describes families, wives, children, Secret Service agents, teachers, books, health care programs.)

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The crazy aunt we keep down in the basement.

The national debt, holed up in the Bates Motel.

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That's just another one of those little Froot Loopy things.

Any unflattering charge about him.

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99 percent of these stories are just elves floating across the ceiling.

Syn.: Froot Loopy.

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It's just another little spitball flying though the air.

Syn.: Elves across ceiling.

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This is goofy stuff.

Syn.: Spitball.

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It is Silly Putty, folks..

Syn.: Goofy stuff.

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What you see is what you get.

No spinners, handlers, speechwriters or veteran campaign managers need apply.

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You completely misstated my positions.

His response to questions by journalists who are not Larry King.

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We're going to go down in the trenches.

Let's get specific. (Often paired with getting under the hood.)

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They're just trying to prove their manhood.

Why female journalists, in trying to go down in the trenches or get under the hood, ask tough questions.

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4 Do you want to fix the problem or sound-bite it?

His favorite sound-bite. Used when 1) he's being interrupted or 2) he doesn't have a handy answer.

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I'm just kind of, you know, a cur dog here.

But watch out for his sound-bite.

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Warp speed.

Trekkie Perot promises to get things done faster than Mr. Spock can say "Beam me up, Scotty."

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Slow-dancing.

The Washington waltz. Opposite: warp speed.

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Congress and the White House will be dancing like Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire used to.

But who will lead when they're dancing "cheek to cheek" in the Rose Garden?

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4 There will be a giant sucking sound going south.

Bill Clinton may not have inhaled, but with a free-trade deal, Mexico will take a deep breath and suck up U.S. jobs.

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If the American people send me up there. . . :

If there is a giant sucking sound going north and the Texan wakes up on Jan. 21 at 1600 Pennsyvlania Avenue.

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I have a theory that Marie Antoinette thought everybody had cake when she said 'Let them eat cake.'

Just like George Bush, equally out of touch, at the check-out counter.

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Major dumb

What Washington officials assume Americans are; not to be confused with TV sitcom.

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Five-star migraine headache

Any major problem. Used most recently to describe wealthy Middle Eastern countries seeking nuclear weapons. (Four-star headache: Gridlock. Three-star headache: "Meet the Press." Two-star headache: Lobbyists. One-star headache: Polls. Irrelevent: Arkansas.)

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No place to run, no place to hide.

No discernible meaning. Substitutes for an exclamation point. Usually follows, "no ifs, ands, or buts."

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We bought a front row box seat, air-conditioned, and we didn't get to see the show.

The health care follies.

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Now, all these fellows with thousand dollar suits and alligator shoes running up and down the halls of Congress that make policy now,. . . they'll be over there in the Smithsonian.

In a Perot administration, lobbyists become tomorrow's dinosaurs.

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If you just want to keep the music going. . .

If you want to just stay the course - which of course would be major dumb.

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Talk is cheap. Words are plentiful. Deeds are precious. Let's get on with it.

Untreated Ross Perot.

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I just find it fascinating. . .

The way he starts many of his sentences.

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It's just that simple.

The way he ends many of his thoughts.

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