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Billionaire Ross Perot, who ran twice for president, dead at 89

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July 9 2019

Self-made billionaire Ross Perot, who ran for president in 1992 and 1996, has died at age 89 after a five-month battle with leukemia, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Perot, who won19 percent of the vote as a third-party candidate in 1992, died early Tuesday at his home in Dallas surrounded by his family, family spokesman James Fuller said.

As a boy in Texarkana, Texas, Perot delivered newspapers from the back of a pony. He earned his billions in a more modern way, however — by building Electronic Data Systems Corp., which helped other companies manage their computer networks.

Yet the most famous event in his career didn't involve sales and earnings; he financed a private commando raid in 1979 to free two EDS employees who were being held in a prison in Iran. The tale was turned into a book and a movie.

Perot first became known to Americans outside of business circles by claiming that the U.S. government left behind hundreds of American soldiers who were missing or imprisoned at the end of the Vietnam War. Perot fanned the issue at home and discussed it privately with Vietnamese officials in the 1980s, angering the Reagan administration, which was formally negotiating with Vietnam's government.

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After his failed Presidential run, he just dropped off the face of the earth.

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Ross Perot, a Morning Star of Trumpism

His folksy-billionaire style and working-man sensibility provided a model for Gingrich, Trump, and others.

Ross Perot died today, and there is no doubt that he changed the course of modern American history. In 1991, at the end of the Gulf War, President George H. W. Bush had stratospheric approval ratings and seemed a shoo-in for reelection. Perot had opposed the Iraq War, and his subsequent run for the presidency contributed heavily to Bush’s defeat.

Perot ran against the developing consensus politics of Washington, D.C., in 1992 and 1996 just as that consensus was becoming aware of itself. In some ways, he was running against the consensus of mass democracies. He ran on raising taxes and lowering spending. He ran against waste. He opposed NAFTA, memorably describing “the giant sucking sound” of American jobs moving to Mexico.

With Perot running outside the two-party system, his candidacies became the repository of frustrations from every corner of American life. “I don’t have any experience in running up a $4 trillion debt. I don’t have any experience in gridlock government, where nobody takes responsibility for anything and everybody blames everybody else,” he said in a debate. The U.S. debt is now over $22 trillion.:snip:

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Rick Perry: Now that Ross Perot is gone, I can tell this story

This week, the nation remembers Ross Perot for his success in business, his two independent White House bids and his no-nonsense, straight Texas talk. His love of country, larger-than-life personality and generosity are all part of his legacy that will live on. But there is another little-known part of the life of Ross Perot that should be told now that he is gone. He was a tireless, but private, supporter of our wounded veterans.

During my time as governor of this great state, I had the honor and privilege of knowing countless warriors who stepped forward to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan and returned home with horrific wounds of war. U.S. Army Cpl. Alan Babin Jr. is one such hero.

While serving in Iraq in 2003 as a medic in the 82nd Airborne, Alan was shot in the abdomen while tending to a fallen comrade. While Alan survived his injury, he faced a long and difficult road to recovery, complicated by the onset of meningitis and a stroke-induced coma that left him confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

On the one-year anniversary of his wounding, I joined Alan and his family for a small gathering. He was still in very bad shape, neurologically and physically incapacitated. When I asked his mother, Rosie,  what I could do to help, she said she was eager to get him out of the hospital and back home, but struggling with the prospect of transporting Alan to his many medical visits.

I knew there was one person to call: Ross Perot. What happened next still amazes me to this day. The next morning, Ross personally called Rosie and made arrangements for his plane to pick up the Babins in Austin and fly them to Dallas where Alan could be seen by leading neurologists at Zale Lipshy University Hospital.:snip:

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