Perot to finance backers, defers on third party

November 07, 1992|By John M. Broder | John M. Broder,Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON -- Ross Perot, who spent more than $60 million of his own money to promote his independent run for the White House, said yesterday that he plans to continue financial support for his political movement but was not yet ready to launch a formal third party.

In an interview on ABC-TV's "20/20" program broadcast last night, the Dallas billionaire said that formation of a third party was "premature" because the next congressional elections were two years off.

He also said that he would urge his supporters to work within the system to force President-elect Bill Clinton and Congress to reduce the deficit and reform the political process.

Mr. Perot pointedly did not rule out another run for the presidency in 1996. "I would do what's good for the country," he said.

But he said that if his volunteer leaders, who came together under the banner of a group called United We Stand, press him to establish a new political party, he would "urge them to wait. And let's work together for a while."

He said that he would back United We Stand until it becomes financially self-supporting, but would not say how much money he was willing to spend.

During the month of October, Mr. Perot donated about $8,000 to each of the 50 state organizations for operations. That sum was dwarfed by the estimated $40 million that he paid for television advertising on behalf of his candidacy.

The computer services tycoon expressed a willingness to cooperate with Mr. Clinton's new administration, but said he doubted that he would be asked to take a Cabinet post or even a symbolic role as adviser on the economy.

"I've had enough experience around government to know that sometimes they like to use you just sort of as a showcase, you know, for an apparition," Mr. Perot told interviewer Barbara Walters. "I would not want to lend my name to that kind of thing."

In the closing days of his independent campaign, Mr. Perot repeatedly predicted that he would carry all 50 states in a "November surprise" to the political establishment.

But yesterday he said that his boast was merely a way of annoying the news media. They [reporters] all reacted to that. But that was half the fun of saying it, just to get their reaction," Mr. Perot said.

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