Ross Perot, billionaire who sought US presidency, dead at 89

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A nationwide Gallup poll in July 1992 found Perot to be the front-runner for president with 39 percent, Bush at 31 percent, and then-Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas at 25 percent.

Ross Perot, the colorful, self-made billionaire from Texas who launched two unsuccessful presidential bids as a third-party candidate, has died.

"The ground-breaking businessman and loving husband, brother, father and grandfather, passed away on July 9, 2019, at his home in Dallas, surrounded by his devoted family".

In the 1992 campaign, Perot exposed and exploited the rift inside the Republican Party between establishment leaders and a more fervent base. Perot drew almost 19% of the vote, the biggest percentage for a third-party hopeful in 80 years. After his unsuccessful lobbying efforts, Perot made a decision to run for president, launching historical changes in third party politics.

His second campaign in 1996 was less successful.

Perot was so gung-ho that when two of his employees were jailed in Iran in 1978, he organized a team of commandos from his employees and hired a former Green Beret colonel to break them out.

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Henry Ross Perot was born in Texarkana on June 27, 1930. Although Perot did not win a single Electoral College vote, he was the most successful third-party candidate since Theodore Roosevelt in 1912. In 1968, Fortune magazine called him the "fastest, richest Texan" and put him on the cover. According to The New York Times, Perot took 19% of the popular vote, drawing Republican ire for taking numbers from George H.W. Bush and tilting the race toward Bill Clinton. Perot coined the phrase "giant sucking sound" as the result of good American manufacturing jobs being shipped off to Mexico (not the other NAFTA partner, Canada). Perot had firsthand knowledge of how inefficiently IBM's customers were using their system, so he set out to change that.

H Ross Perot was an American original.

In 1984, he sold control of the company to General Motors Corp for 2.5 billion United States dollars and received 700 million dollars in a buyout. Throughout his lifetime, Perot championed the cause of American military service members and prisoners of war.

"Ross came to the prison one day and said, 'We're going to get you out, '" one of the men, Paul Chiapparone, told The Associated Press. A self-made billionaire with a penchant for plain-speaking in his clipped north Texas twang, he built a reputation as a savvy technology entrepreneur and spent a small fortune helping U.S. veterans and attempting to free American hostages overseas.

In Texas, Perot led commissions on education reform and crime.

Ross Perot and his wife Margot had four children, Ross Jr., Nancy, Suzanne, Carolyn, and Katherine, and as of 2012, 16 grandchildren.

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