Perot Takes a Walk

The inside story of how the rookie politician turned into a quitter, leaving his supporters in the lurch

Ross Perot's aura of cranky independence and his refusal to be bound by familiar candidate-craft made him attractive, at first, to voters weary of politicos from central casting. But those same qualities, carried to excess, barred the Texas billionaire from expanding his astonishingly strong start into a durable effort. When he fled the field last week, Perot explained his retreat the way he had justified his invasion in February -- just doing his public duty. Then, in the face of charges that he was deserting the volunteers he had mobilized, he offered to construct a third force that would exert leverage...

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