tv The Contenders Ross Perot CSPAN September 6, 2020 4:56pm-6:59pm EDT
tuesday. live coverage begins at noon eastern on c-span two. c-span, yourtching unfiltered view of government, created by america's cable television company as a public service and brought to you by your television provider. we are going into debt. an additional $1 billion every working day of the year. while we sit here tonight, we will go into debt and additional 50 million dollars in an hour and a half. it is not the republicans' fault , it is not the democrats' fault . but i am looking for is, who did it? the facts are, we have to fix it. somewhere out there, there is an extraterrestrial that is doing this, i guess. everybody says they take responsibility. somewhere -- somebody somewhere has to take responsibility for
this. >> that was independent candidate ross perot during the second of three residential debates in 1992 talking about the u.s. debt. the alexion biz -- the taxes businessmen won 19% of the vote. he ran a second independent presidential campaign in 1986. tonight, he is our focus on the contenders. thanks for being with us. we are doing this series as a way to look at american history through the lens of presidential candidates who failed in their quest for the white house but had an impact on american history. ross perot is our final 14 people we are profiling. tonight, joining us for our discussion is historian and biographer doug brinkley. as a person who has done a number of powder fees on 20th-century political figures, what interest you about ross perot? >> he has a pioneer spirit in
him. he harkens back to the 19th century. he is not politics as usual. he cares about the country. patriotism has become a cheap word. ross perot is a super patriot. he is less interested in money and politics than he is in doing what is right for our country. this comes from his naval academy background, constant service to his country, looking for pows in vietnam. the clip you just ran tells you -- the national debt. i think we were like $3 trillion in debt. today, we are at 15 trillion. when he was talking about the sucking sound of jobs leaving america due to nafta, it is
probably on the left, the issue that most disturbs the middle-class americans is that jobs have gone overseas, many of our towns in the midwest, south are languishing right now. >> the issues he talked about are being echoed by the tea party people on the right and the occupy wall street people on the left. >> exactly. he is a centrist. you cannot look at ross perot into the paradigm of typical politics. we often want to label people right, left. he is something out of an older american fiber of the wagon trains out west or world war ii or korean war heroes, soldiers, explorers, inventors. . that is what ross perot is really about. his entering in 1992 is not about politics as much as it was public service. you have to say this about ross perot, he put his considerable
amount of money where his mouth was. every season, we have people flirting with third-party runs. ross perot did it. it is quite extraordinary to get that 19% of a vote. it is kind of unprecedented. it came from middle-class people all over america. it is interesting to think back on this united we stand movement that ross perot kind of unprecedented. it came from middle class people all over america. interesting to reflect on this whole united we stand ross perot ran on in 1992 and with the reformed party in 1996. there going to be a third party person. that might ebody enter the mix in 2012. if you look at his platform in 1992, he seems to have been right on key issues including border problems, drugs, violence
texas mexico border. violence, the need for public school education. he has very controversial things like putting a gasoline tax on but all of these issues, if we ross perot, his legacy invigorates the current debate. was perhaps people's introduction to ross perot but he had been on the national stage for a while. in the late 1980's, he began to speak out about these issues he was concerned about. we looked in our video library and our first coverage of ross perot was back in 1987. here he is speaking before the american bankers association that year. let's look at where we are. let's take off the rose colored glasses. i think we've had enough dr. feelfield. i think we're tough enough to take bad news and i think it's
facts. look at the we have a trillion dollar debt by $1988. significantly funded by foreign nations at this point. greatest nation in the history of man doesn't even have national o pass a budget. we continue to pass continuing resolutions that put us ever deeper into debt and we have given up trying to live within our means as a country. there is no correlation between taxes paid in and money spent. we're losing an international business competition. some of our banks have problems. savings and loans have serious problems. wall street is bouncing all over the place. our personal spending habits of our people are as bleak as our federal spending habits. people spend everything they make. all they can borrow and they have no savings. 1987, 24 years ago, and except for upping the numbers and the fact that americans are now saving because of the 2008 crisis almost every one of these
issues could be talked about with the same words today. >> yeah, you know, that's absolutely correct. remember why ross perot could give that speech. he was a genius really at operations. he understood the corporate world. in 1962 he created electronic data systems and ended up it a few years before that speech in 1984 to general became the rguably richest person in texas. e was on the cover of fortune magazine. so he knows how to take a start-up business. the importance of data collection, of companies, he one point invested in apple with steve jobs at one point. he worked, of course, for ibm when he was a young man, so he really wanted the united states in his adult life to be the great country it was of his childhood. the country that fdr brought us through in the great depression
ii, that can-do spirit, it fills him up and the fact that we're losing in the 1980s to japan a lot. of course, today, our problems are competing with china and the fact that so many people in congress seem to be bought and for. the lobbying in washington in getting rid of lobbyists and corrupt politicians was at the core of the perot message. >> this contender series is a call-in program and you make it very interesting and we'll in a our phone put numbers on the screen so you can be involved in the conversation about ross perot, the issues he was involved in then and his legacy in our politics today. in 1993, this book was published. perot and his people, dispute -- disrupting the balance of power. carolyn barta, a long time texas journalist was the author of our book and she's joining us for the rest of our program from her texas. you knew ross perot as a texas
journalist long before many americans knew about him. can you tell us about his upbringing and what shaped the we knew on the national stage. >> well, perot was from texarkana. he had a very average texas childhood. he lived in a strong stable middle class family. as a boy, he broke horses. he traded horses. he was an eagle scout even in i think that he kept all the traits of the eagle scout. objectives for himself, goals, and then try to pursue those goals. he was very much in the texas tradition of the day, and as he grew, he went to the naval started his own businesses. represented, as doug said, can-do spirit of texas. his vision was big. the state was big.
opportunityoundless here. the sky was the limit, sort of thing. he really sort of played into what was sort of the texas mythology, with texas politicians, who were larger life. very successful businessman who made a fortune here. they were risk-takers. they were not afraid to fail, and that was the sort of spirit that he had, that i think got him into this thing. >> it's worth noting that at the academy ross perot was president of his class his last on, he showedearly leadership traits and the ability to galvanize people under his leadership that we would see later in life. just a quick overview of his business career, let's take a look, after the naval academy, navy after four years and went into business as an ibm salesman where he quickly became the top salesman. in 1962 he founded his own
company, which was electronic data systems. in 1984 he sold eds to general for $2.4 billion and stayed on the board for a number of years afterwards. in 1988 he founded perot systems and in 2009 sold that company to dell computers for $3.9 billion. source of his great wealth. he also -- he and his family, are known as fill philanthropists. can you talk about that side of his family. an fortune to ve all sorts of charities here in dallas. nd mr. perot himself has made many anonymous contributions in small ways. he's helped individuals without people even knowing about it. but there is a hospital here named for margo perot, his wife. he's give and let of money to the boy scouts.
endless. their philanthropy. >> quickly, you mentioned earlier his involvement with the vietnam p.o.w.'s. can you tell us more about what you know of his interest in that issue and also how it created a divide between him and a later president. he e just mentioned graduated from the u.s. naval academy in annapolis as the president. i mean, that's a big deal, and he was the sort of person in the navy who believed you're only as good as the guy left behind. great leader. a during those years when he was in the navy, he sometimes would soldiers that get were on leave or got drunk in a foreign town and get them back on the ship and it became sort of a hallmark of his life. never leave anybody behind. he was very upset during the vietnam war. rightfully so. that the united states, we issue push the p.o.w. mia enough, and ross perot stepped
very, at fray and did very dramatically, went to back hannel negotiations with vietnam to say we want every one of our guys back, and he's become really a hero of the u.s. for his veterans constant concern about our soldiers and our troops. recently, i gave a talkdown for veterans day in dallas and it was a group called daughters of world war ii. these are the daughters of the world war ii veterans and there were hundreds of world war ii vets there and i got to talk to ross perot over dinner one night. one of the most amazing stories was that recently when our seals team killed osama bin laden, they shipped him, they thought so much of him, or special forces, they shipped him, and he subsequently went to pierce, florida, to the seal museum, which people should
ininitely go visit if you're florida over the holiday because i think our naval seals should be "time"'s people of the year but perot had the stick there with all the seals in attendance of bin laden. tribute to how conscientious he is about getting jobs for former service in his companies, helping veterans whenever he can, and particularly with the special which he thinks represent the best of the best of the american spirit. visited his boyhood home in texarkana. we're going to show that you and at that.looking actually, i would like carolyn barta to talk about his involvement at the behest of the texas governors about issues including the war on drugs and education reform in his home state. appointed to a couple of task forces. by former governor bill one nts, and then another
by former governor mark -- so republican, white succeeded him as a democrat. they both tapped perot and asked him to serve. one was on education reform, and i think it just points out how mr. perot was always one to speak his mind. to say what afraid he thought, and he thought that, in the public schools, there should be special classes for talented kids and for the brightest kids, they should go to better classes. and some of the parents, texas parents thought, well, that's elitism, and maybe we don't want that in our public schools so just very sarcastically said, okay, let's put all the fat girls on the drill team, let's have everybody be the quarterback. and so, it was just sort of an example of how he always spoke
mind. but he was never reluctant to if he was asked to do a job like that, for a couple of governors, it showed that the democrats and republicans both liked him, and for years, his mentioned as a potential candidate for something in texas because he was a leader. and he was also sort of in the time texas old politicians. you know, people like speaker sam -- going back even to sam houston, doug, in the republic of texas, that kind of a speaker sam eader, governor john conley, i don't have clements, who certainly was one to speak his mind, governor ann richards, who was in a class by herself as well. he was so much like some of
these older texans who would just tell it like it is, and didn't mind doing the hard work, if he thought it would help the state or help the country, he didn't mind doing the hard work to do it. >> let me jump in at that point. one more bit of the perot biography building. we want to put this on the creen before we get to his campaign in 1992. workers a number of eds were held hostage. mr. perot was personally involved in the rescue of those, something that was later captured in a book by ken follett, "on wings of eagles," it became a national best seller and later a movie on television. can you talk about how this, and you've watched a lot of politicians, building the personal biography through the telling of stories like this and how he did it effectively. >> this is an amazing story. was 79 jimmy carter president. you had the beginnings of an iranian revolution, and two of
his workers for his company for electronic data systems had been held captive. and he wanted them sprung free. he went in and hired a former special forces people to go in find a way to get them loose, and he ended up -- they ended up using an anti- -- an ayatollah khamenei rally, not just for his two employees who were released, but about 10,000 political prisoners got release had a rendezvous and got a very dangerous trip where, dagger kind ofnd story, but they were eventually able to smuggle out through turkey. so this was a highly successful extraction, you know, maneuver of getting in there and getting and it gets back to what i said earlier, p.o.w.'s
and mia's, ross perot believes in loyalty first and foremost. if you work for him and you're loyal in his company, he'll do anything for you. if you listen to people who know number one t's the trait. personal loyalty to people that he believes in. >> we've got a great photograph from that period, of mr. perot crenna, actor of richard who played ross perot, that was on national lly network television. the beginning of the month of set the stage for us about george h.w. bush candidacy, his bid for re-election and how the public was feeling about him. >> remember george herbert walker bush, number 41, had record in pressive berlin affairs. he saw the berlin wall coming down, reaction of noriega in panama, and in 1991, the gulf war, which most people thought
was a great success of ousting saddam hussein from kuwait but the economy was stagnant and pat buchanan was going after president bush, having a silver spoon in his mouth, was elite, and there was a populist revolt within the republican party. spring you had another insurgent jerry brown coming in. of course, bill clinton gets the nomination, so you've got the new democrat bill clinton and you have george herbert walker bush, and suddenly ross perot goes on larry king on cnn and look, i'm going to run as an independent if i can be on states.ot in all 50 i'm -- if i'm drafted. i'm not going out to run the typical campaign, but the people want my ideas and once we talked outset, at the particularly balancing the budget and the stopping of outsourcing of jobs but also he was opposed to the war in iraq.
the gulf war, because he thought that it was going to be a mistake, and instead, special forces should have gone in and killed saddam hussein. but he launched this amazing third party run and started soaring in the polls and became the darling of the summer of 1992, and then we'll pick up the rest of the story in a little bit. >> let's show that larry king live february 20th, 1992, interview, when ross perot his willingness to run. >> let's go down to grassroots people are e the hurting and everybody is saying why are we in this mess? allfirst thing i would like of america to do is look in the mirror. we're the owners of this country. the owners. like we act like white rabbits coming washington. >> is there any scenario on which would you run for the president? can you give me a scenario, okay, i'm in. >> number one, i don't want to. >> i know, but is there a
scenario? >> if you're that serious, you, the people, are that serious, you register me in 50 states, and if you're not willing to organize and do that, then -- this is all just talk. >> wait. >> i'm playing to the ordinary folks, if you're dead serious, then i want to see some sweat. i want to see some sweat. why do i want to see some sweat? i said it earlier, i you want in the ring. carolyn, let me ask you about ow much of a surprise was it when that announcement was made in february 1992? surprised most people, but the truth of the matter was, he had been out making speeches for, you know, years, but, and particularly leading up to the larry king live interview, he
had, in fact, just a couple of before that, he was in tennessee to speak to a business group, and he was interviewed by a reporter there, and he told him virtually the same thing. that if he saw some skin in the get in theople would ring and get him on the ballot, that he would think about doing it. well, nothing much came of that it was published. nothing much came of it, and perot was talking to a man in tennessee and another one in florida, who were sort of activists and trying to draft him to run and jon jay hooker in pennsylvania, a flamboyant businessman, kept calling him, talking to him, and trying to get him to run, and it got to the point where they started talking about well, where should i announce? considered conventional sources, "new york times," l.a.
times, "wall street journal," liked larry king live. in fact, throughout the campaign, he liked going on talk shows where he could talk, you know, and get his message out. so, anyway, as i was told the john sigenthaler called larry king live, and i'm not whether he set it up or whether he just told them to ask the question, perot said that he was going on larry king live to talk about the economy, and he made an impulsive statement, he never thought it would go anywhere but the truth of the matter is he had been thinking about this for quite a long time and even three months before he made a speech in tampa, to a group called throw the rascals -- throw the hypocritical rascals out, and a man down there, jack gargen, was
trying to do a draft campaign there. were signs draft perot, a thousand, 2,000 people listening to him speak down there, and he was curious about it. how do you get on 50 ballots? he asked some of his staff people to do some research to see how do you get ballot? so he had been mulling it over in his head for a good while. he was a surprise to most of the country, but i think -- i think that he had been thinking about it for a good while. >> and his challenge to his supporters to get him on the ballot in 50 states really the subject of carolyn barta's book, which she contends the people who followed ross perot and how they were galvanized to move outside of the conventional two-party system in support of issues and this figure leading those issues on their minds. we'll talk more about that as the program continues. ut two clips and then we're going to start taking calls. these are back-to-back clips just to give you a sense and flavor. doug brinkley mentioned earlier that ross perot was very
critical of george h.w. bush's prosecution of the first gulf war. about that in an interview he gave to c-span in march 1992. immediately after that also in the spring of 1992 you will hear a clip from a very well known texas journalist molly ivans, who has now passed, but very well known in national and texas politics, and she was asked in the spring to talk about this texas politician that she knew so well. so we'll show you both of those clips and then we'll come back taking your calls. >> they should understand why we're going to war. example you ke the gave me. it was four months before the white house could figure out why we were doing it. jobs.ime it was next time it was oil. finally they got it together. and they had to get rid of nuclear, chemical, bacteriological and hussein. guess what we've still got, your, chemical, bacteriological and hugh indian. didn't accomplish anything -- if i knock on your door and say i
like to borrow your son to go to the middle east so this has got a 0 wives minister for sex to find him a virgin every thursday night, to have his throne back you would probably hit me right in the mouth. >> and then one day i made a real serious mistake about ross column. in my i was writing about that tax reform idea they had during the reagan years where they abolished the progressive income tax and i was talking to my a bad idea. was if you make more than $17,500 a year, you will now be in exactly ross me tax bracket as perot, and then, because my high school english teacher told me to write balanced statements, comma, i wanted to see the disparity between your 17-5, makes more than a million a
year, but i made a mistake. i thought it was a safe plane check.not the next day, it appeared in print and the guys at our business desk in dallas called it, ross makes a million dollars a day. [laughter] >> the phone rang and an operator said, h. ross perot calling collect -- [laughter] >> he really is funny. i like the guy. about that, because -- sure it was olitically incorrect to an extent that would make people's teeth hurt around here but in fact, i do like ross perot. he's a damn hard guy to dislike. to like there. the down side is that basically guys who have made a lot of
money in business tend to have a very hard time working in a system of checks and balances. the other down side is that the man is slightly paranoid which is a bit like slightly being pregnant. presidential the campaign of h. ross perot, 1992 and 1996. our guest here in washington, d.c., douglas brinkley, presidential historian and buy ogagreefer, and in dallas, texas barta, long time who wrote a book about him. let's begin your telephone calls. starting with ralph watching us in chicago. you're on the care. -- from his two rivals heavily compromised in drugs by not calling for a road map to peace on drugs. as successful contenders, u.s. grant and fdr used medical
cocaine and harrison and cleburne used medical opium along with benjamin franklin and jfk used speed medically and jackson n, jefferson, and lincoln used medical marijuana, and each of our last contenders used both grass and coke, medicall medically&recreation nationally. >> what we're getting at is the so-called war on drugs which became a popular phrase really in the 1980s in the united states. the problem sully of these urban centers, all generation of kids were getting addicted to different types of narcotics. he's been a e champion of education. in fact, you know, working for particular, s in and there were public schools that drug gangs were taken over. you couldn't even go into, including in dallas, which was a
very rough city people forget, in the 1980s and 1990s. so perot took a pretty hardline drugs.king down on of course, we had the crack epidemic that starts hitting the united states after that. so i think he was tough on that issue. so if you're somebody who is a libertarian and believes that drugs should be legal in the united states, perot would not be on your side. >> matt is watching from us plano, texas, and you're on, evening, matt. >> caller: good evening, i'm very glad you're having this discussion on h. ross perot. i want to make a comment and a question. he had a profound impact, he ended up moving his headquarters here. because of that i believe dr. person and a few other corporations decided to move here as well. later on he ended up founding -- computers as well. he's had a huge impact where live and i thank him for that. question was about admiral stock dale and his choice for stock dale vice president.
how did that come about? as we saw later on, he didn't look too good in the v.p. debate, and i think it was a hindrance. i'm not sure how many votes it cost him but it certainly didn't make him look good but i just wanted to ask, what was the thinking and the decision behind selecting admiral stock dale as his v.p. candidate. >> thanks so much, matt. in 1992, he chose admiral stock dale. pat choke an economist. >> admiral stock dale is one of the greatest americans whoever lived. of the most decorated naval officers in u.s. history. of course, he had been a p.o.w. in the vietnam war and had they called the alcatraz gang of how to have a p.o.w. resistance. this guy, i think he won something like 26 medals, stars, medal er of-or winner, admiral stockdale,
later went on to become president of a naval war college. we're dealing with a very serious person and stockdale and ross perot just admired him. he thought this was the type of person that we needed in government, and so he chose him as his v.p., it was an interesting choice. what people forget in 1992, ross perot did well in the debates. he clearly won the first debate bush.st clinton and some people would say he won all three but that's how he got to 19% pre-debates, perot was, you or something , 8% like that. post debates he hit up to 19 so he did well. stockdale struggled. he only had about a week to prepare. debating with dan quayle and al gore and he got out of the gate wrong by making a comments like who am i? because a lot of people haven't heard of him before. he actually got a lot of applause when he did the
debates, stockdale but the media went to town on him and he wasn't ready for it. medial stockdale for that frenzy that you have to expect. it made some people question whether perot could be president, because some people didn't think stockdale had the political skills to be president. on the other hand, admiral stockdale is some energetic u.s. military historian working on a ph.d. should do a biography of man. they don't come any better than stockdale and i hate we remember just his fumbling of a debate question and not remembering what an extraordinary military -- the service of admiral stockdale is almost unparalleled. carolyn barta spring of 1992 progresses into the summer and eople who are enthusiastic about ross perot begin the work of meeting his challenge, of getting his name on the ballot states.0 will you describe to our audience ballot access in this country and as it existed in 1992, and how big a task they
faced. it was a huge task. in order to get on the ballot in any state you have to meet the laws of that state. so if it's a petition that you thousand t a hundred names on a petition, or you pay a thousand dollars, it could be the range of requirements for getting on the petition is just extraordinarily diverse. cases it's very hard because you do have to collect all of these petition names, in most cases, and sometimes you have a very narrow window in which to do it. and so, what happened after larry king live people started calling the perot headquarters saying they wanted to get in the ring with him. whatever they do could do to make him run, and so
they set up a phone bank there at his headquarters in dallas, in and nteers came manned the phone banks, and they having people call from all over the country. they set up a very sophisticated hone bank where, you know, somebody would call in, and if they were from a certain state, did they want to work on the petition drive. did they want to volunteer. did they want to know when perot was going to be next on tv, you know, punch, punch, punch, and it would go to wherever, to answer the person's question. but what then, the perot organization had to do, and perot called in six people from to company, and asked them start figuring out how to do this. how do we get on the ballot in 50 states, and start working with people who are volunteering
and all of these states to find out what the law is in that working to o start do it. and so it was an enormous task. once you get on the ballot, if you reach a certain threshold a ballot position for the future, and perot established a ballot access position in actually 1992, 1996, and then even -- he established it in 1996 so that pat buchanan, reform party ticket in 2000, had the ballot access in all of the states. so it was -- initially, it's impossible, but, i mean, like i said, he never feared doing the impossible, and got his team to work. got leaders in every state to
handle the petition drive. that was needed in that state. >> as spring moved into summer ross perot was in some polls reaching 39% of public approval two parties were really beginning to take this man's candidacy quite seriously. clinton moving toward his nomination as a new democrat, as you said, and the incumbent president, george bush, probably wondering what was happening here with this challenge from ross perot. two texans going against one another. can you talk more about the relationship between the two. 41 is really bush a houston figure. about international companies nd about the oil industry and trading. ross perot was working with, you know, with ibm and then with his own data services company. in different texas industries and different geography. into a terrible feud over the pow/mia's issue so
he really accused bush, and particularly the c.i.a. in general, of being part of a drug trade in southeast asia. they were actually doing slush fund monies by selling and other opiates. >> we should interject george bush was head of the c.i.a. >> yeah, exactly. so it became pretty nasty between the two. there is no love lost between george herbert walker bush and ross perot but that's politics, and, you know, so the bigger question in 1992, as we're talking about this we just heard about this sort of populist campaign but remember, he put $13 here around 12 or million of his own money into the game. maybe more. he was also able to buy these tv time, half an hour television commercials. one half an hour infomercial of ross perot garnered about $10.5
million viewers so he was following no real rules. of course, george herbert walker bush had been head of the republican party and clinton was the darling of the democratic party. perot was filling this vital center and really was trying to champion the middle class every ay american people versus special interests. he's the original anti-you know, money in washington guy, and that's also an issue we're talking about. now, he saw that that was going to be a boom for us. take our next call from indianapolis. perot and when ross bill clinton run, neck and neck, lyndon johnson and roosevelt, you think we need to go back and
about jobs, an do help the economy, talking about the republicans and everything, problem came, when the republicanses and george bush was in the white house, barack obama came, everybody coming people, for the helping the people, and do what they want in the country. people is going bad. >> thank you, jerry. reflecting the comments that brinkley meant about playing to the middle class of america. i'm going to move on to darcel watching us in leland, north carolina. go ahead. >> caller: yes, i was one who signed up for ross perot, and i can say i know was definitely responsible for more than 20 of my friends who i convinced not to vote democratically, to vote perot.ss >> let me ask you, looking back now with the hindsight of 20 years, how did you feel about that whole effort for mr. perot? >> well, first of all, i didn't -- i really appreciate
that he went outside the box, and you guys have to bring that tape out, chicken and chips. known nothing but chicken, and the other one didn't know anything about computer chips, and i thought that was just one of the most laughable moments president bush and now president clinton, had no idea what was going on. they looked sort of dumbfounded. and i was very proud that my sorority sister was head of that. she moderated that debate. but i was somewhat concerned daughter, and i hop you guys mention something about -- hope you guys mention something about his daughter, his daughter was to be assassinated. he was going to leave the campaign. that was a curiosity as well as,
i was not really quite sure his feelings about race. i felt comfortable. turnout in ry large flint, michigan, at the de funk hyatt regency. all kinds of people there, they were very excite about this man because he seemed to be very sincere, and like when he was volunteers, of the you need to put some skin in the game, because he's not going to put all his money in and just see go for naught, but i think he was very responsible for any other third candidate, party candidate to be involved. he was also involved with the anderson thing. >> let me jump in at that point. thank you so much. interesting, and i'm sure we'll hear from other people who were involved with the perot campaign. >> i'm going to ask carolyn barta, she raised a couple of going to get to them but i want you to answer one
aspect of her comments, perot's views on race. >> on race? that's what she asked about. >> are you talking about -- oh, on race. oh. he made a speech at the naacp in the course of the campaign, actually, this was toward, shortly before he got out, and things had not been going well in the campaign. press was determined to put him through a primary, because he hadn't been through one there. been a lot of negative stories about he was conspira r conspiratorial. business, o his everything, his family. anyway, things were not going well. did not like the way the campaign was going at that
point. this agreed to go make speech at the naacp, and in the of the speech, there was a phrase, something like, you and your people. he used the phrase you and your people. reason, after r it was over with, people racist.ted it to be that he was making some kind of racist statement. and it really devastated him because he had this image of great humanitarian who was very, you know, tolerant, racially tolerant, and had no animosity or racial prejudices actually. and he came sounding like a acist and not long after that, he did get out. >> well, we'll pick up the story because, as we mentioned by the summer he was at 39% in the
polls. people working on ballot access had been successful in about half of the states, and then in be exact, 1992, an announcement from ross perot his campaign, and then just 2 1/2 months later, a second announcement. we'll watch a little bit of both right now. >> we have said among ourselves and publicly that we must win in november. win a majority of the electoral votes. we cannot win in november, the election will be decided in the house of representatives. and since the house of epresentatives is made up primarily of democrats and republicans, our chances of winning would be pretty slim. now that the democratic party has revitalized itself, i have concluded that we cannot win in november and that the election will be decided in the house of
representatives. since the house of representatives does not take the president until january, new president will be unable to use the month of november and december to assemble the new government. i believe it would be disruptive for us to continue our program ince this program would obviously put it in the house of representatives and be disruptive to the country. in the states, so therefore, i'll not become a candidate. >> the volunteers know that this is a critical time in our nation's history. neither political party has effe actively addressed the issues that concern the american people. they asked me to run on the issues and to ensure that the problems the american people are concerned with will be dealt with after this election is over. i know i heard many of the volunteers who worked so hard the spring and summer when i stepped aside in july.
i thought it was the right thing to do. i thought that both political parties would address the problems that faced the nation. we gave them a chance. they didn't do it. but the volunteers on their own forged ahead and put me on the in the final 26 states after july 16. the day we were on the ballot in all 50 states, the volunteers requested that i come back in because the political parties had not responded to their concerns. y decision in july hurt you, i apologize. i thought i was doing the right thing. i made a mistake. take full responsibility for it. here is only one issue now starting today, and that is, what's good for our country? looking back won't solve any of our problems. looking forward, working together, we can fix anything. >> so carolyn barta, you followed this campaign, you
understood the disappoint of the perot. working for what did you come to learn about the reason for hill leaving in july and getting back in in october. i think there were several reasons that he decided to get out and i already mentioned the a ss was -- they were doing lot of investigative stories on him that he didn't like. but another thing was happening in the campaign. he had brought -- they brought help rofessionals in to with the campaign, and the pros had just, in fact, started over. it got really out of hand. ed rollins, he already had ham jereden, who was a carter guy, who had been consultant. then he brought in ed rollins. wanted to do slick tv ads. he wanted to do the traditional kind of campaign. press conference every day, and
perot didn't want all of that. he wanted the very simple kind of campaign. he wanted to do it differently anybody had ever done before. he just wanted to talk to the people when he could on tv. he wanted to do his infoemercials where he would buy time and get on tv with his flip charts and explain what he thought was wrong with america and how to fix it. so the pros came in, were trying up a different kind of campaign. he thought he had lost control of the campaign. it wasn't fun anymore, and so i think for a variety of reasons, he decided, you know, this is not going anywhere. we're not going to win. it's grueling, and we might as well cut it off. then, there is another part to the story. a lot -- his volunteers mostly were devastated. i mean, there were trying.
they were so upset that -- i mean, a lot of these people had put their lives on hold to work for him, to get him on the ballot. and then all of a sudden he's pulling the plug like this, but some of them were sort of smart enough to see through that. he urged the volunteers to go on the ballot im because that would be their leverage. and some of them thought, you know, i think he'll probably come back, and, in fact, when -- he came back and did the kind of campaign he wanted to do all along. to do a short campaign. he always said he thought campaigns should be no longer than five months anyway. but he came back. it was a sprint to the finish. he had five weeks when he came back in october. and he did his infomercials. he went on some talk shows and like ished the campaign a he started it. >> let me jump in there and take a call from mike in minneapolis. mike, you're on the air.
>> caller: great program. i've been watching the whole series. perot, question, mr. during his campaign, used these demonstrations, he bought these commercials on tv and i vividly person, this as a young that he was illustrating all the debt that america had and going i ough all of these and thought those were really powerful presentations. never since then have i seen a candidate use that powerful presentation p. another thing i've heard is that mr. perot had accused the former president, 41, of disrupting his daughter's wedding, and he wanted to take revenge, and that's one of the reasons he also left. today's election for 2012, who would mr. perot be supporting. mike.ank you so much, mike talked about the infomercials and the charts. let's show you a clip of that and come back to doug brinkley to talk about the use of
campaign infomercials. >> tonight, ross perot, plain talk about jobs, debt, and the washington mess. >> good evening. we've talked a lot about the importance of having the american people fully informed so that they can make intelligent decisions as owners of this country. in effect this is our first town hall. i thought it would be a good idea to take the most important first.m that problem is our economy and jobs. >> here's the picture on our country's debt. look at how it's grown over the years. we're now up to $4 trillion in debt. that's a staggering load for our country. fast p you understand how this debt has grown and when it grew, green is the debt we had in 1980. that has the debt been incurred in the last 12
years. we've had an enormous growth in debt and we don't have anything to show for it. okay. here's another headache. it's like the guy that went into the hospital and thought he had had e arm and found out he gangrene. here we are. we're tell people, we can handle it. red. at the 70% of that $4 trillion debt is do and payable in the next five years. folks in washington financed long term problems short term to keep the interest rates down. that's suicide in business. that's suicide in your personal life. that's suicide in your government. >> doug brinkley, did ross perot that politicians would follow with the charts or was this uniquely perot? >> i think it's uniquely perot. you guys at c-span cover capitol hill, you see it happen in congress all the time but this was hitting a very large audience and what's amazing is it still the issue of our time.
he was trying to drive home a point, that we were going to go down as a country if we kept racking up debt. he was a business person and a fiscal conservative and believed you had to keep your books and he ran really to make that point more than anything else. i read he once said, you know, i grew up as a young man wanting i ended up pearl and becoming the irritant, you know, oyster, meaning, he wanted to wake us up toe this, a very large problem, and the reason maybe 10 ago, the debt wasn't particularly after the clinton administration, we were getting a surplus, but in 2011, this pie chart is frightening, and as i said earlier, from $4 trillion when you put that chart up to today's $15 trillion in debt, perot was trying to wake us up paul revere kind of figure that this could be the
doom of the function we didn't address the which problem. >> carolyn barta, we've had two callers that have asked about mr. perot's accusation that is there were dirty tricks concerning his daughter's and that was one of the issues he talked about when he departed the campaign in july. interest of time can you briefly tell the story and what the accusations were. yeah, i don't think he accused bush of doing it, but he hought the republicans were playing dirty tricks, and his daughter was getting married. it was one of the reasons that he did get out. i should have mentioned it before, but i don't know what -- the story was that they were going to put her head on else's body, in a photograph, and sell it to the -- get the tabloids to use it, and, you know, he was very
concerned about his family you know, his family was really special, and his daughters, and the daughter's the thought just, of that happening was too much for him, and it was another reason that he did get out. >> the caller's last question for both of you, is there anyone today who onal stage would be an heir to be perot? >> one of the things when you're watching ross perot is kind of inventing a new type of third party movement. 1948, strom thurmond and the dixie crafts or henry wallace and the progressive party. 1968, george wallace and the american party, but he was really trying to create a centrist movement. hence, why he hired rollins, great republican strategist to work his campaign and hamilton
jurgan, the democrat. i don't think we have anything like that willing to get in the game. bloomberg's name has been evoked. donald trump does all these games for his own publicity. one of the things that he does in the contender's program and perot is that s it.ctually did it's one thing to talk about it and get to the point where you're getting 19% of the american people that perot people, 19% is still the middle class center that both president obama and whoever the republican nominee is fighting for. blue collar lass patriotic tax-paying american citizens in rustbelt towns or in towns in the midwest that are hurting economically. he's talking about a massive reform. he's most like theodore
roosevelt's bull moose party in 1912. they were the two most successful third party for votes, not electoral votes but popular vote of the 20th century. >> carolyn barta, one question we didn't answer from an earlier caller, whether or not mr. perot's strained relationship george bush with was one of the factors in ending his campaign. do you know if that was a factor? well, i think it was a factor ecause, going back to the p.o.w.-mia days, he thought when bush was vice president that the was not doing enough to try to get the mia's and p.o.w.'s out of north thought we then he went into the persian gulf war without a declaration of war. and he also thought that bush was too focused on foreign
affairs and was not addressing the domestic problems of the day. in fact, he thought he didn't understand the domestic problems of the day. and as doug has mentioned the problems are very much like today, there are so many similarities, with the economy and, recession, loss of jobs, people feeling like it was no longer a government by, of, and for the people but it was politically r the powerful and the special interests. so many similarities. that he felt that to thew. bush was not up job, and that was one of the reasons that he wanted to run. but back to the question of whether anybody could do it today, maybe somebody like bloomberg. mayor bloomberg. who does have their own money, who could do a similar
but he was e him, really uniquely positioned to time.t that particular a conservative with a populist touch, and i think what happened to the reformed party over the years shows the difficulty in maintaining this kind of a third party movement. teddy roosevelt in 1912 got 27%. electoral votes. then comes ross perot in 1992 electoral votes. he got almost 20 million votes. votes, no electoral votes. >> carolyn with apologies -- >> they were the most successful. >> we're at the top of the hour with one hour left to go, and doug, you have a quick comment. >> one very important quick comment. i think viewers really need to understand.
when we show the pie charts of talking t and he's about this deficit and the debt, that could be eric cantor today, but what you also need to know what makes him a more complex and different centrist figure, how are we going to make up that money? he says ross perot, let's tax gasoline. let's put 10 cents a gallon for raise billions to pay that off. well, petroleum lobby, oil lobby of texas, does not like this idea of taxing gas, but if we would have done it back then, with this so-called clean, renewable energy evolution, more people paying more for gas may have triggered that new kind of innovation. the left very much likes that so chart, so on the one conservative but on the other hand, something the democrats like, makes perot a true centrist. halfway through our two-hour
look of the contender ross perot 1992 and 1996 elections. our next phone call, gloria you're on. hello. hello.ler: i just loved ross perot. i remember the 1920s, and i would think, what does ross perot think of all through the political spectrum, down through those years, franklin roosevelt, and all of the presidents, and we come to today, a total insanity. i watched the house of representatives. watch the senate. and everything has been turned so that only certain people with a great deal of money, >> thanks very much, gloria. colleen is up next in rutherford, new jersey. hi, colleen, you're on.
>> hello. i have a really good question. but he just want to make a comment and i'm glad i came after the woman who lived -- the phone call prior. living in the 1920's. my early 20's in the 1990's. and ross perot was the equivalent of a ron paul. the young people loved ross perot. i used to run home and couldn't wait to watch his pie charts. i learned so much from him. and it's almost -- i almost forget bill clinton in those debates. because it really was -- ross perot really was the rock star for the people in their 20's. he had a huge following. i went to go see him in monmouth county but my question is he was very good friends with john and from what i understand, he lost touch with john mccain, i think when john left his first wife. but he recently called a reporter from "the new york times" when john mccain was running for president. and i believe that reporter
wrote an article, because ross perot made a personal phone call to him. that's my question. do you know anything about his falling out with john mccain? >> well, he was for mitt romney, ross perot, for the republican nomination the last presidential election. not mccain. it's part of that just fueds that ross perot has. we've got to really understand, this is -- mr. perot is not somebody playing right-left politics. he's not what we get on our cable talk show fest and even what's happening in washington, d.c. and so anybody who he thinks is abandoning principles on, for example, doing away with p.a.c.'s or super p.a.c.'s and you can see that the mccain was willing to start compromising on a lot of this integrity and principles. and so perot, you know, abandoned him at that point. and i also want to say, the side
of ross perot is about action. it's whatever it takes to fix the problem. he's not really about talk. i think there's a famous quote that's in their family or one of his favorite things is i don't want to hear about people that say the river is dirty. i want people that are going to clean the river. get out there and do things. and he's enigmatic in certain ways. you can't pigeonhole him. he's mercurial. he's a texan that wants strict gun control. and he is for pro-environmental protection agency. he's pro-choice. yet, he's tough on issues about corporate america and outsourcing of jobs, tough on the war on drugs. you can go around. what you get is sort of an old style can-do american who believes in american exceptionalism but feels we're losing our edge. that somehow after world war ii, americans got lazy.
and not the everyday working people in america, but we've stopped, and everybody is looking for leisure time and perks instead of kind of fixing the country. the country comes before corporation to ross perot. and i think he's diagnosing in 1992 and 1996 that americans' politics are broken and the financial system is broken. the military is not broken. and he's questioning how do we fix the other two? and he still feels that way today. >> the caller mentioned as a young person in her 20's watching the debates and cheering on mr. perot, and our next set of clips, we're going to do a montage from two of the three debates, presidential debates that happened that year. >> these young people, when they get out of this wonderful university, will have difficulty finding a job. we've got to clean this mess up. leave this country in good shape and pass on the american dream to them. we've got to collect the taxes to do it. if there's a fairer way, i'm all ears. [laughter]
but, see, let me make it very clear. people don't have the stomach to fix these problems. i think it's a good time to fix it in november. if they do, then they will have heard the harsh reality of what we have to do. i'm not playing lawrence welk music tonight. you have to -- the nafta, $1 an hour, and have no health care, no retirement, no pollution controls etc., etc., and you're , going to hear a giant sucking sound of jobs being pulled out of this country right at the time when we need the tax base to pay the debt and pay down the interest on the debt and get our house back in order. who can give themselves a 23% pay raise anywhere except congress? who would have 200 airplanes
worth $2 billion to fly around? i don't have a free reserve parking place at national airport, why should my servants? i don't have an indoor tennis court and a place where i can make free tv to send to my constituents to try to blame washington and to try to get them to elect me the next time. and i'm paying for all that for those guys. >> ross perot in three moments from the debates in the fall of 1992. and for the incumbent, george h.w. bush, there was a tough moment in those debates. you will recall he was captured looking at his watch. during one of the debates. that became emblematic. we got a photograph of it, his campaign. do you remember that moment? >> of course i remember the moment. and look, george herbert walker bush had a tough year in 1992, everything was going wrong. remember when james carville said it's the economy, stupid. and he sort of felt this was getting beneath him. we forget that debates haven't been always there.
1960, we had the kennedy-nixon debates but we didn't have presidential debates all the way until 1976. and there was some feeling particularly by george h w bush that debates were a waste of time. that it was all about owning a sound bite and not about building an organization or running the country was about. but it didn't help president bush to be looking -- glancing at his watch in that regard. and i think it cost him in the election. perot and clinton did better in these debates than bush. >> how did ross perot fare in the debates in the eyes of the public? >> well, i thought, you know, i agree with doug that he probably won the debates. and when george bush looked at his watch, it sort of reinforced the idea that people had that he was not really engaged in the campaign. the debates were critical for perot. and when the debates were over, he had risen back up to maybe 21%. in 1996, he was not in the debates.
and it made a big difference. i think he only got maybe 8% in 1996. so i think going back to the question, could anybody else do it today? the problem might be getting on the debates. because now the commission on presidential debates has such stringent requirements. somebody would have to meet a 15% threshold in i think maybe five different polls before they in the -- before they would be allowed in the general election debates. so the debates were very critical for perot, the success that he had. at getting his message out. >> carolyn joining us from dallas who wrote a book about ross perot's 1992 campaign and the people who helped him get on the ballot in all 50 states. let's take our next call for carolyn and doug.
it's from houston, texas. gregory, you're on the air. >> hi. good evening. i had a couple of quick questions. first was besides having the most popular votes since t.r., what similarities do you see with mr. perot and teddy roosevelt in terms of their views -- teddy roosevelt in terms of their views and outlooks and politics? who were some of the role models for ross perot? he seems to have followed the mantra of william jennings brian, harry s. truman, the buck stops here. >> douglas brinkley has written a biography about teddy roosevelt. you'll take that question. >> when i got to talk to mr. perot he has two evergreen , heroes and it's theodore roosevelt and winston churchill. and he takes a lot from them. we forget now that both of them were considered in t.r.'s case a damn cowboy when roosevelt became president, he was just -- mckinley was assassinated. and the republican party of mark
hanna and the old mckinley machine didn't trust t.r. he was considered an iconoclast and individualist and the cowboy notion. ross perot grew up in texas, and his father was a cotton broker. but he also broke horses, went to cattle auctions, considered himself a bit of a texas cowboy. and everything about theodore roosevelt is impressed in ross and i think gave him courage, if t.r. can do a bull moose party, why can't i run in 1992? and churchill, it goes without saying, anybody who loves grit, winston churchill is your figure and the two people he admires most. in his office a portrait of george washington and talks about the founding fathers. but which founding father ross perot is like, i thought about in today. patrick henry. we always talk about the other founding fathers, the ones who become president. but this is about the contenders.
and how do you have an american revolution hader -- figure like patrick henry, an irritant? those are the type of people that ross perot admires. >> next is a call from ron watching us in everett, washington. we're talking about ross perot. hey, ron. >> good evening. and i would like to challenge dr. brinkley a little bit. i think the comparison was t.r., even though perot may have idolized him, is heavily overdrawn. and you mentioned just a few minutes ago that -- if i understood correctly, that perot favored a flat tax. and of course that's the antithesis of progressism. i think t.r. was way out there to the left. in the liberal, progressive tradition and even of course obama this week was -- speaking on the 100th anniversary of a t.r. speech there. and i don't -- even though he may have supported oil tax, i don't think he really was a wilderness warrior the way -- >> nor is he winston churchill. one is not suggesting that.
those were his heroes and people -- t.r. is known as -- edward morris and myself, many sided americans, a lot of people see in theodore roosevelt what they want to see in theodore roosevelt. but this ability to -- with t.r. and his love of the navy and wrote the two volume war of 1812 and ross perot's devotion to the navy his entire life, and a naval academy graduate and can't go to the naval academy and not admire theodore roosevelt, and in the navy and also as i mentioned, the cowboy side of t.r. but no, when you're getting with the bull moose party platform versus ross perot in 1992, there's many, many, many differences and many decades apart. but it's the boy scout part. theodore -- you mentioned ross perot's eagle scout. theodore roosevelt is the original champion of the boy scouts. so it's harkening back to that kind of view of america. but in politics, great differences and i wouldn't compare him -- the way you're
suggesting to t.r. or winston churchill or anybody. it's just -- those are the people he admires and collects books on and likes to read about and have inspired him in the same way henry ford and thomas edison were people that inspired him in business. >> taylorsville, illinois. this is ed. hello. ed, are you there? >> yes. from taylorville, illinois. >> yes, sir. >> i voted for perot in 1992. and i believe that's how clinton got elected and bush didn't seem like he cared whether he got elected or not. >> thanks very much. do you think that ross perot was responsible for the election of bill clinton, carolyn? >> i do. and i think there were two impacts. one is he -- similar to teddy roosevelt, he split the
republican vote. and in that way, roosevelt denied taft a second term. perot split the conservative vote. and denied bush a second term. but he did another thing, i think, by getting in the race, and beating up on bush all along the way, kind of softened him up for clinton to come in and make the kill. so i think it was sort of a two tiered effect there. and i do -- i'm not sure how the campaign would have played out without him. but i certainly think that part of the impact of his being in the race was clinton being elected. >> hey, rick, you're on the air. >> glad to be here, folks. i'm going to assert that ross
perot last time he ran was exactly what the united states needed. and now there is no question, much stronger, is exactly what the united states needs. and i would like to ask -- i'm not too well on what's going on, why is he not in the 2012 race? and also, why in the world are neither the republican or democratic candidates making a run in ross perot's image? i don't see how anybody running like that could help but win. >> why haven't we heard from ross perot in this cycle? >> i think the time has passed him, and he had all of it he wanted in 1922, 1996 and was really sort of a reluctant candidate in 1996. and i think that he is older now. i just think he's not interested in getting back in the fray.
>> and 81 by our calculation. born in 1930. kalamazoo, michigan. connor, you're on. >> does ross perot have any opinion on jesse ventura? fellow reform party? >> i don't know his opinion of him personally but did not get behind jesse ventura who was a little surprising because ventura being a naval -- navy seal, and of course the reform governor of minnesota, but ross perot didn't really get behind him and his efforts very much. so there's a little bit of a schism there. i think by 1996, ross perot felt like he did what he wanted to do. again, i stress for people, this notion of being an irritant. he was always trying to just make us pay attention to issues. i know when we talked about running, you're talking about winning the white house. but ross perot, more than personally becoming president, and probably wouldn't have picked stockdale if that was his sole intention in 1992 was to remind people of duty, honor, country, old style american
values and to grapple with that debt issue which he as a business person, he found repulsive, a bad road for america to take. >> we have referenced several times that ross perot won 19% of the popular vote and no electoral college votes and let's look on the screen over this next telephone call how the incumbent president george h.w. bush and the victor, bill clinton, governor of arkansas, in the final tally and we will listen to judy from ogden, utah. you're on, judy. >> one guy that got us all interested in politics back then. he got us with the nafta agreement. we used to go to the meetings he had with his helpers and we tore that nafta agreement apart. and we would all take a chapter home and read it and come back and discuss it. and boy, people ought to read that someday and see the fiasco they did on it. and what i was wondering is can you see anybody around at all in the future that would be anybody
like him? thank you. >> thanks very much. we have a question for -- is there anyone in the wings? >> i think they have to come out of the military today. i mean, there is this -- we used to be to be -- to be president you had a military background. but ross perot is part of that tradition. so maybe somebody out of -- an admiral or general someday will come in and run a third party movement. but i don't see anybody out there that's ready to get -- put skin in the game right now that's taking seriously. buddy romer, he's no ross perot. you got to have i think the money to really do a third party. and as previously mentioned, it's hard to get into the debates and -- in the way the system is set up today. but america always produces unusual people at key moments. and i'm sure there will be sometime in the future a serious third party candidate. >> americans seem to have something of a flirtation with business people as presidents. but get so far. for example, ross perot, there was some talk about herman cain
being in earlier this year, also mayor bloomberg was mentioned as a businessman who might solve america's economic issues. we get so far as an electorate with them. and then not all the way to the finish line. can you talk a little bit about the kinds of people americans seem to want as leaders. >> i think that's a wonderful point. we like the idea of somebody who is not part of washington. somebody who is going to do what's right for the country. and not be beholden to the democratic party or the republican party. we elect people from the military or corporate people and somebody who runs a company and would know how to run the government. and yet, once you have to start going on all the tv shows and traveling, and every aspect of your life gets investigated, i don't know how many people that want to run anymore. it's become pretty brutal for -- you basically have to run for two or three years nonstop. i mean, president obama and i'm sure republican romney or
gingrich or whoever it might be have to raise about $1 billion. and it's very off-putting in america and i think we need to really investigate how we can shorten this nonstop running. because the president has very little time. they get elected and are running another election in this country all the time. i don't see how it's helping us. >> that caller mentioned ross perot's involvement in nafta. the north american free trade agreement. which was hallmark of the clinton administration. ross perot got very involved in the debate about that after his unsuccessful bid for the white house. and our next clip is a very well watched debate about nafta with then vice president al gore. again on the "larry king live" , program on cnn. >> i didn't interrupt you. >> guys -- >> we got to have a climate in this country where we can create jobs in the u.s.a. one way that the president and vice president can do for us and they're not.
>> excuse me. i would like to say something about that. that's a direct political threat against anybody who votes for this. >> colin powell -- >> he is a great soldier and doesn't know anything about business. >> i don't want to sit here and listen to you just take shots at president clinton. >> if we keep shipping our manufacturing jobs across the border and around the world, and the industrializing -- deindustrialized our country, we will not be able to defend this great country. and that is a risk we will never take. >> he started off as head of the united we stand and i'm afraid he's going to end up as head of divided we fall. everything that he is worried about will get worse if nafta is defeated. this is an historic opportunity to do that. >> thank you both for this historic evening. >> carolyn barta, body language in that clip from "larry king
live" is really interesting to watch. we looked at some reporting. and it suggests that support for nafta before that debate was about -- was only about 34%. and after, i'm not sure directly related but after it went up to 57% among the american public. what was the view of how ross perot fared with this issue? >> you know, i really can't say. i don't recall -- i just remember that he had the debate with gore. and i did not realize that he -- that he lost that debate as decisively as you have just said. i thought a lot of people agreed with his position that, you know, the giant sucking sound or the jobs going away. and in fact, i think he's proved to be pressurient about that. that's what's happened. >> next call is from larry in the florida keys. you're on the air, larry. >> hey, how are you doing? i appreciate the opportunity. i just wanted to ask, this t.r. setup, it's not the first. the national wildlife refuge is down here in the florida keys to protect birds, who were being
poached for their feathers. does that ever come up in any of the debates in that year? i am all, -- i am old, but not that old. >> ok. thanks very much. do you recall that conservation issues were very much at the forefront in 1992? >> no. but ross perot as we -- when you hear about that anti-naest is very worried about -- anti-nafta is very worried about the environmental degradation going on in mexico. he was somebody who wanted corporations regulated. as i mentioned earlier, pro-e.p.a. andd caller is talking about theodore roosevelt in florida had protected pelican island, florida off vera beach created our first wildlife refuge and went in and saved part of the ding darling national wildlife refuge so t.r. was very much in bird protection and protecting of wild florida. i would not put conservation in that way high on ross perot's list.
but i put him on the side of being a conservationist. he was simply in that climate in 1992 to be pro-e.p.a. in the way that he was. and in this election, many republicans don't like the e.p.a. and ross perot did because he did feel that companies needed to be regulated. >> in 1994, the g.o.p. had an historic retaking. house of representatives. newt gingrich who is a candidate for president this year around was looked upon as the architect of that and became speaker. -- speaker of the house and set , the stage for a huge debate over the size of the debt leading to a government shutdown , that very much pitted the two men, president clinton and newt gingrich, against one another. how responsible was ross perot's highlighting of the debate issue for those subsequent events? >> that's a good question. i think it was quite important. i think it started making people worry about the deficit. but again, remember, ross perot is talking about paying for it
with a gasoline tax which you don't hear republicans talking about. but it became a big worry of the people by the time of -- throughout the clinton era. and i might also add when we're looking at that famous gore-perot clip, remember, nafta became popular with both democrats and republicans. it was al gore and bill clinton were pro nafta but also george herbert walker bush, republicans were pro nafta but also george -- it was only labor unions were opposed to it. and here you have ross perot probably more right center than left center. deeply opposed to it for the reasons he said. i think the outsourcing of jobs more than anything else is what perot was focused on in the mid 1990's. >> carolyn barta, you told us about this story before but in 1995 ross perot started to organize the -- what became the reform party. can you tell us a little bit
about the effort? and how the reform party took shape. >> well, the people who had worked on the perot campaign in 1992 wanted to remain involved. and for a while, even, were very active as, you know, shadowing their congressmen and sending letters and so forth. so, the reform party was organized to try to create a vehicle that would be a stable political influence of third party. and then there was -- in the convention of 1996, perot and dick lamb, who had been the governor of colorado indicated an interest in running on the reform party ticket. and perot re-emerged to lead the ticket. so, that probably was the high point for the reform party.
after that came jesse ventura was elected governor of minnesota in 1998, i believe. and then in 2000, pat buchanan was the nominee, the presidential nominee for the party. and buchanan was a firebrand conservative but also a populist. but he certainly could not motivate the reform party people like perot did. and the party was sort of found -- it initially was established with the same kind of priorities that perot had set in his first campaign. reducing the deficit. term limits. some of these issues that ended up being in the contract for america. so i think there was definitely an impact. and you saw the republican party co-opt some of those issues.
term limits was never passed. but it was part of the contract. gingrich's contract. so i think that -- with buchanan in 2000, the party was struggling to find its core. what was it all about? and a lot of people thought that buchanan, did not really represent them. did not represent their interests very well. and i think what's happened since then, the party really has sort of fizzled. there's still a few state affiliates that are trying to be active, maybe hatch a dozen or so. -- half a dozen or so. but their presidential candidate got a handful of votes the last time around.
so i think it just shows us that it's really very hard -- i thought that it was going to be a stable political influence. and that once established, that it would be a challenging party in years to come. but that's not happened. it certainly has just fizzled. and actually, i think sort of re-emerged in the tea party movement. so i think maybe these movements just have a short-term life. >', texas. joe is watching. >> yes, hello. >> yes, sir. >> well, you know, first of all, i would like to really, really thank c-span because every now and then people call in and say, you're on one side or you're on the other. but by and large, you're probably the most unbiased media available. and the greatest asset to being able to understand what's going
on in our political situation that we have. and i really appreciate the way -- so many people on from both sides. and i think it's a wonderful, wonderful thing to watch. and ask all these questions. >> thanks for your kind words. do you have a comment about mr. perot? >> i do. first of all, i'm from texas. so we got really, really involved when ross perot was running. and he said so many things that made so much sense. and a lot of people got behind him. and first of all, i don't think that the balanced budget would have happened had not ross perot not been up there having all those charts and graphs to educate people. i would like to hear david brinkley's comment on that. and one more comment. and that would be that when they talk about teddy roosevelt, teddy roosevelt was the one that broke up standard oil in new jersey. and i can't imagine ross perot
ever being someone that would condone breaking up a large corporation. teddy roosevelt was kind of in a league of his hone but i would like to hear david's comment. >> it's doug brinkley who is our guest tonight and probably happens to you pretty frequently. >> it does. >> teddy roosevelt seems to have struck a chord. >> he is in the air now. president obama talked about the new nationalism. a couple of things i would like to mention. i'm reflecting on what we've been talking about here. one of the big things to keep in mind with ross perot in 1992 is that you had the soviet union collapse. the cold war ended in 1991. when perot is entering in 1992. the question, there was a lot of jubilation with that. we've been fighting the cold war from harry truman on down, taxpayers had built up this huge deficit to win the cold war. and the fact that perot was being this sort of irritant in the 1990's, worrying about our
-- a deficit and everybody was running up deficits. all over the world. he seemed a little more erratic than maybe -- today, we hear these bytes and he seems prescient on a lot of things. but he was a fly in the ointment of 1992-93 when america was looking -- the buzz word was globalization. and also, political correctness became a great term. well, he wasn't keen on globalization. he was about america first. and he was kind of a curmudgeon in many ways on a lot of issues. so i'm not sure we could have even done this sort of retrospect on mr. perot like we're doing tonight, maybe even a decade ago. he would have seemed a little more of a quirky, offbeat character. but there are those sides to him in his biography. but his central premise of the points he raised are really -- they resonate with people right now. again, with theodore roosevelt, all -- the point about t.r. is
only one. and that's about service to country. that's what t.r. was all about. you don't lie. you tell the truth. you stay loyal to your friends. and the service to the country. and that's that -- it's in the american grain. it's americanism. and that's what spoke to ross perot. not every issue that t.r. took on all this, but it was the character of the man. >> in 1996, the economy was getting pretty robust. the tech bubble was part of our economic fabric. bill clinton was the incumbent president seeking re-election. the republicans had nominated long-time senator from kansas and senate leader bob dole. and the big difference our guest said was during the fall campaign, ross perot was not permitted to take part in the debates. on the screen right now are the results on election night. 1996, with president clinton achieving 49% of the votes. 379 electoral college votes. bob dole, 169 -- excuse me, 159
electoral college votes so just 40% of the vote. ross perot, zero. and different showing than his four years earlier. just over 8% of the popular vote in the 1996 elections. our next clip is ross perot on election night, 1996, talking about the future of the reform party. >> we're going to keep the pressure on, on the major issues. i think they've gotten the word on campaign finance reform. don't you? [cheers and applause] they've repented and been reborn . my dream is they will go to heaven because they do what they say they will do, right? and it's done. it's done. but that's got to stop. we have got to get that done. and we have got to get campaign reform in terms of the time for campaign and all that done. we must set the highest ethical and moral standards for the people who serve in our
government. and all of that has got to be changed from rules to laws in the next four years. and we're going to have to stand at the gate and keep the pressure on. and we will. [cheers] we will not let our children and grandchildren pay an 82% tax rate, which our government forecast they will. we have got to have a balanced budget amendment. we've got to have the plan to balance the budget. and all the things that you have fought so hard and so long for. and we've got to stand at the gate to make sure that happens. if we want to pass on a better, stronger country to our children. we will make the 21st century the best in our country's history. but you and i have to stay on watch. we have to keep the pressure on. and as i've said a thousand times to both parties, when they say what does it take to make all of you people go away?
[cheers] and the answer is, do all this and then we don't have anything to talk about, right? it's done. thank you. you've worked night and day. you've done a tremendous job. take a little break and then we'll climb back in the ring and keep the pressure on to see that everybody keeps those promises, right? [cheers] >> ross perot on election night in 1996. doug brinkley, he talked about the need for the people to keep the pressure on. but without a galvanizing figure, you often pointed out to us the truth that now our national debt is three times what it was when ross perot was talking about it in 1992. what happened to the spirit and the energy of the people in that middle who were the perotites or the reform party members? >> i think they're out there. i think they're called swing voters right now. i think many of them are independents. we have a lot of people that are independent. and many people that don't really want to be associated with the democratic or
republican party. and perot's legacy speaks to that. at the outset of the program, you mentioned occupation wall street. people protesting on the left and tea party on the right. it's about grassroots people getting engaged, getting involved. making themselves heard. so it's just not a group of money people kind of running our democracy. there's a spirit to ross perot. i've never been convinced he was dead serious about winning the white house in 1992 or 1996. i feel that what he was trying to do, which many of these contenders have tried to do, some of the ones that weren't -- just to stir things up. to get people to talk about issues. and he succeeded in that regard. you didn't have to win the white house to make a difference. it's about getting into the arena. and he took -- got beat up some. but he picked himself back up. and today, he's probably the first citizen of dallas with his business interests. and he created -- just recently, sold dell, not recently, a few
years back, for a fortune. some of his business innovations. and if you can't be in dallas without being touched by his philanthropy and you can't be a veteran of american wars and not have a debt to ross perot, too. so he's made a difference. and that's why he was sent the walking stick of bin laden or the navy seals. >> we will take our next telephone call from robert in ohio. robert, you're on. good evening. >> yes. thank you for c-span. i remember the 1992 election well. and ross perot, he was a viable candidate. he was prescient on the deficit. he seemed to speak common sense. he was a patriot. he went to the naval academy. but tell me if i am wrong, he was basically unelectable because he was mercurial and started a company, e.d.s. that benefited from government contracts. he selected james stockdale for his vice president.
and that debate was a gunfight and his candidate was not prepared for that. he dropped out of the race, claiming dirty tricks by the republicans and re-entered the race. he also had previously opposed mya lindh for the vietnam war memorial and did it in a relatively nasty way. so, you say he wasn't a candidate who wasn't trying to win, but i don't think he could have won. what do you think? >> i agree with that. i'm not sure it was possible to win in 1992 or 1996 against bill clinton and the democrats and an incumbent president who had just won the gulf war and saw the breakup of the soviet union, german reunification, and many other policy issues. so he was, as i've said a few times now, somebody trying to raise consciousness level on issues that he thought were important for the country. and the reason he's important to history is some of those issues
that he raised in 1992 are still with us today. and only in more of a fashion than 1992. you can look at policies, things that william jennings bryan said that happened in the new deal or something that charles evan hughes said that later reflected on the eisenhower era. perot raised some issues we are still grappling with and always a reminder that we have a third party option. that maybe sometime that if these other parties get too arrogant, there will be some voice from the heartland or of america that comes up and strikes a different chord. and i worry that the debates make it very hard for a third party candidate to get into the mix. so perot in that regard may be one of the last to have been able to pull that -- something like that off. >> carolyn barta mentioned ross perot in the summer of 1992 had hired ed rollins and hamilton jordan, to political operatives,
to be involved in his campaign. after the 1992 election, ed rollins, who continued in his political work and is still active today, talked a bit about his view of the perot candidacy. we have a clip of that right now. >> the bottom line, it wasn't that perot was difficult to deal with. it's that perot never wanted to run that kind of a campaign. he always wanted to do what he did, run the last 30 days. and i think the reality -- that's all he thought he had to do. why should i waste all my money early when it really doesn't matter until the end? he never understood getting defined in a negative way during the summer. obviously the guy has a lot of paranoia. as they always say about paranoia, you only have to be right once to make it all worthwhile. [laughter] but the bottom line is it just -- he didn't understand the political system. had a disdain for it. so that made it more and more difficult. when we were trying to argue
what you had to do to -- deal with the media and lay out your issues and define yourself, he saw that as traditional politics and he was against traditional politics. well, in the end, he ran a very short-lived traditional campaign in which he ended up getting very negative in the end. and won 19% of the vote. if he would have run a real campaign, there was a very serious chance of this man being a very viable candidate for president. drawing an awful lot of support from both george bush and bill clinton. >> carolyn barta, you hear ed rollins' analysis after the fact. do you have anything there that you agree or disagree with in his summation? >> well, yeah. i think that at one point, perot was a very viable candidate. but i think that he was, as the
caller said before, he was quirky. he was mercurial. and as people got to know more about him that they were -- they questioned whether or not he was temperamently suited to be in the white house. and i'm not sure even that perot thought that he was suited to be in the white house. and perhaps the sentiment that's been expressed that he didn't really want to be president, he wanted to stir up the american people, he wanted to be the nation's civics teacher. he wanted to make democracy work again for the people. so i think that he resisted traditional politics in many ways, and for good reason. he thought that the way that political campaigns are run today are really silly. i mean, flying around from place
get words out there, ideas out there to the people. and we've talked about tonight, is innovating in the format or going on larry king, larry king was free media. and many politicians use that but buying these -- and keep in mind, he's -- it's hard to create another ross perot. he's just a maverick. he's an iconoclastic candidate and a billionaire and had the money to do what he did. and he would have enjoyed being president and would have served the people well but i don't think his heart was in it in 1992 or 1996. it was really about getting the democracy and the people back -- he -- his core, he disdains
lobbyists. and washington is a town filled with lobbyists. >> ross perot not only took advantage of paid media, but benefited from the popular culture coverage of his campaign. next is a series of clips from "saturday night live" whose regular program on saturday nights took great advantage. ross perot candidacy in 1992. let's take a look. >> and because we at abc feel it is important for you to hear his views, and ross perot is with us from houston. mr. perot, do you feel that you have been blackballed by the two major political parties? >> it's like this. the other two candidates, they are not addressing the issues. >> thank you, mr. perot. >> my reform party is going to have a convention and volunteers want me, that's fine. but see, larry, this is not about me. it's about the american people plain and simple. >> ross, what about this commercial that aired last week?
>> vote for me. i'm ross perot. i'm running for president. vote for me, please. would you vote for me? please, please, please, vote for me. [applause] >> this whole thing fascinates me, really. see, you don't have to be a ph.d. at harvard to know that our kids are going to to inherit a $4 trillion deficit. and that's just a crime, see. now, if i'm president, we start cleaning up this mess on day one. it's going to take some sacrifice, no doubt about it. but i know the american people are ready and prepared, this is your country, let's take it back.
>> a clip from saturday night live in 1992 and 1996 and all but the first was dana carvey portraying ross perot. we have about 10 minutes left in our contenders discussion of ross perot and his 1992 and 1996 bids for the white house. let's take our next phone call for our two guests. from pleasantville, new york. tony, you're on the air. >> hi. good evening, susan, how are you? >> great, thanks. >> when ross perot in the spring of 1992, when ross perot was at about 32%, they had -- there were three books written about ross perot before most people even knew him. one was you mentioned wings of eagles. there was an autobiography by a dallas news reporter called ross perot and the best of the three at the time was doron leven's book irreconcilable differences, ross perot versus general motors. in may as i said, in may, after he had announced when he was at 32%, i watched sam donaldson on "this week with david brinkley"
make a statement about ross perot, the conversation around the roundtable was basically this guy is at 32%. do you think he can win? and donaldson made a statement something to the effect of what do we know about this guy? he came out of nowhere. now, at that time, the three books were in print already. donaldson noted for being a big mouth covering the white house, making probably $500,000 a year to make a statement like that about ross perot, had not even read the books, probably, to make a statement. mr. brinkley, what do you think about and ms. barta, what do you think about abc news allowing sam donaldson to make a statement like that and not following it up? >> well, there's also -- i believe ken gross on perot, if anybody watching wants to read a real fine book, he was a new york journalist and it's an excellent book on perot. i don't know the moment you're talking about. sam donaldson i thought was a great and exciting commentator.
certainly during the reagan years, he was always sticking the questions to president reagan. and they ended up becoming great friends. he's really a journalistic legend, sam donaldson. so i wouldn't want to say anything negative about him and i can't see the context of what you're talking about. but the spirit of it is i understand, and you're making a good point. sometimes the washington media people think that nobody is accomplished at their -- if they're not part of a kind of new york-washington-boston axis. and here's ross perot, a legend at that time, and in texas, which everybody in texas knew quite a bit about. because he had worked on education reform and most well- known person in the state of texas. so it just seems to be donaldson -- the spirit of it is what you're saying. just screwed up. >> carry lynn barta, from 19 -- carolyn barta, from 1996 after
he lost the second time how involved was ross perot? did he exit from the national stage or did he stay involved? >> pretty much exited, i think. he was not -- not particularly involved in issues or in the reform party after that. i think -- 1992 was really the unique time. because of the -- the sense of alienation that people had with government. the dissatisfaction with government. the economic problems. and then 1996, as you said earlier, when things started to come back, the political climate didn't exist anymore. and he did not -- he wanted the people to stay active. and involved. but the climate didn't exist for the kind of perot phenomenon to happen again as it did in 1992. and i think that was sort of
his swan song. he got out after that. >> sacramento, hello, to jason as we talk about ross perot. you're on. >> yeah. i just want to ask, how do you feel perot would do in the 2013 election currently if he was on the same wavelength that he was on in 1992? and another question, if you don't mind, was i believe it was -- we said 19% of the vote in 1992 or something. >> that's right. >> i recall it being in the millions. i forget the number. but i know it wasn't too far behind for a third party. it was a -- there you go. my question is how is it possible that he didn't win one electoral vote? i know it's how electoral process works. but i find it just amazing that not one vote, not one state, he had the majority in, not even a small state. just amazing to me with the numbers that he has. just very shocking and shocking
in 1992 when i voted for him and it was shocking to look at the numbers again now. >> jason, your first question about how he would do in the 2012 election, mr. perot is in his early 80's. are you seriously interested in bringing him back into the process at this point? >> thank you. of course not now. but if it were 20 years later when he actually was -- if he was the same as 1992. how would he do now? >> if can you take ross perot of that period and drop him into our current time frame, how would he do? >> he came in second in 1992 in utah and maine. did not win a state. and it just tells you that is where his support was. this was -- very hard for a third party candidate to track against a democratic party and the apparatus and when you have -- at any given time, half of congress and half of the senate on your side and analysts there were really ultimately a two- party system. once in a while, a third party movement comes in there and it's a slap in the face to the other two parties.
the seminal question which we can't answer that historians can debate but we'll never have a definitive answer is who did perot help and hurt in 1992? if he had not run, could george herbert walker bush beat bill clinton? did he actually serve as a spoiler for president bush? or as some people suggest his support came from liberals and conservatives and it was a wash. in a way, that 19% wasn't that relevant. because he drew -- he was so center oriented in many ways. radically center if you like but took from both right and left. and we can't really clearly answer that question. but most people would say he hurt george herbert walker bush. that he was more conservative perot, he came from texas and that challenge hurt bush a lot. because he was the incumbent. so bill clinton was helped by perot in 1992. >> some analysis of the numbers of supporters suggest that 70%
of the perot voters had voted for george bush in 1998. >> 1988. 1988. excuse me. we have a couple of minutes left. to the second caller, the caller's second question. i want to pay a clip and this is our last one of the evening. this is one from ross perot's infomercials that he purchased before the 1992 election. and the 30-minute commercial in october, the first one he did, october of 1992, and he looks ahead from 1992 to the year 2020. let's listen. >> let's look at the growth of federal spending and see if there's a trend here. go on to 1950, there's obviously a trend here. we've gone up to 25% of our gross national product. that's excessive. and hold on to your hat. if you and i don't aaction now as owners of this country, the forecast shows that by the year 2020, federal spending will be 41% of the gross national
product. we can't take 25%. we certainly can't take 41%. it's like having willie sutton in charge of the bank, folks. he was a famous bank robber and i asked him, why do you rob where the money is. well, our bank is being looted big time and we'll get down to how in a little bit. >> ross perot in his 1992 campaign. we have 30 seconds, doug brinkley, what was the ross perot candidacy all about? >> when i saw that pie chart, remember, preinternet even. preemailing. when clinton became president in 1993 nobody used email by the time he left office three billion emails going around the world and an antiquated moment. ross perot made a difference and reminded people of old fashioned american values and reinvigorated the notion that a third party candidate can get into the mix. rausm nader made a difference -- ralph nader made a difference in 2000. he's a legend in the third
party movement and just i think a person who is part of the contenders. >> carolyn barta, last 30 seconds, did ross perot make a difference? >> oh, absolutely. i think he was a wake-up call. he put issues on the agenda. and the deficit ended up being a surplus. the budget was balanced during the clinton years. so now maybe that tea party people think that we need another wake-up call. yes, he definitely had an impact. >> as we close out the series, two special thank you's to the producer of this series and a guiding light. and to richard norton smith who has been our consultant in this project and really the brainchild behind it when we first got started thank you both for all your hard work. we close our last program with
eventsday, a campaign with president trump at the winston-salem north carolina airport. nebraska u.s. senate candidates incumbent republican ben sasse and small business owner chris jenna sack participate in a debate hosted by the states public radio and television stations. groupr sasse is part of a of congressional republicans who have vowed not to campaign for president trump's reelection. in june, nebraska's democratic party withdrew its support after he made sexually explicit comments about one of his campaign staff members in a group text that included her. ♪