TOPICS > Politics

Where They Stand: Ross Perot

October 24, 1996 at 12:00 AM EDT


ROSS PEROT, Reform Party Candidate: Thank you very much. Great to be with you. Well, nothing much changes. There’s good news. I still don’t charge for speaking. And the bad news is I still write my speeches. (laughter among audience) That’ll be painfully obvious to you pretty soon. It’s great to be with you again. I want you to all understand, I love this great country. I love the people in this country. I love the principles on which this great country was founded, and I don’t like to see those principles violated, and believe me, they are being grossly violated at this point in our country’s history by the people at the highest levels in our government.

I never thought I would live to see a major drug dealer give 20,000 bucks in Florida and then be invited to a big Democratic reception by the Vice President of the United States, Al Gore, and then be invited to the White House for a reception. Now keep in mind you can’t get into the White House unless the Secret Service clears you. This guy had been convicted, arrested twice in the 80’s. It’s in the computer. Forrest Gump on the Secret Service–and they don’t have one–would have picked that up, right, but every now and then the White House just overrule ’em and say let ’em in anyhow. I promise you that if I’m ever your president, drug dealers will not be invited to the White House. (applause) And I am personally offended that the president is now selling the Lincoln Bedroom to any $100,000 a night contributor. I think that’s absolutely wrong when you think that plumbers, electricians, people working third shift provide that White House for our president, and it should not be for sale for any price.

Now, here’s the next one. The Indonesian connection, which maybe you’ve read more about than you want to, but I never thought that a family in Indonesia and his wife would be able to give nearly 200,000 bucks to the White House during the presidential campaign and what did they get in return? A man named John Wong was given a position in the Clinton administration overseeing trade policy. Now doesn’t that make you feel good if you’re working second shift in a clothing mill somewhere down South? This guy is influencing trade policy, and where in the world do they abuse child labor more than Indonesia? Nowhere. And if you’ve questioned it, go there. And if you can’t find it, call me, and I’ll have you taken on a tour. In addition, this man was given a top secret security clearance. I can remember when that met something. And finally, only in America, when he left the Ryadis to go to work for the government, he was given a $780,000 departure bonus. If this doesn’t seem corrupt to you, then you and are on two different planets. So then he left the government to raise money for the Democratic Party. He raised $250,000 from a Korean corporation, and they just took it, were thrilled to death. The Los Angeles Times nailed them; they had to give it back. Now, if I steal your car and give it back, does that make me innocent? Think about it. Then we go down to Alonzo Vonhugle. He is a Cuban national with a Spanish passport who lives in Florida and has a $500 million sugar empire. His country gave $244,000 to the Republican Party. He is the vice chairman of the Dole Campaign Finance Committee. He and his family have given another $44,000 to the Republican congressional candidates and $100,000 to both parties, all for this election. He’s classic. He doesn’t care who wins. He’s played cards on both sides, right? Okay. What did he get in return? Sugar subsidies championed by Sen. Dole worth $65 million a year. Say, oh, what the hey, Ross, boys will be boys. That’s because you don’t think it through. Who buys sugar? Hard working people. They’re paying a premium for it because of this deal, and that is rotten. That’s not bad, that’s rotten. Is there no sense of decency left in this country? Is there no sense of outrage left in this country? Have we deteriorated to a country where the most–the weirdest thing that happens is the only thing that’s news? Is there no sense of honor? Is there no sense of shame left in our great country? This kind of campaign finance and all of the corruption that we have just started to tolerate and apparently almost enjoy, just wondering what more obscene thing can come up, here’s what it’s brought us.

We’re $5 trillion in debt. You notice neither party discussed the debt in the debates. That is the cancer that can wreck our country. Why won’t they discuss it? Because they both created it. Now neither party takes responsibility. Each party blames the other party, right? My philosophy is this. There was nobody else around. I guess they both did it. Can’t blame anybody else. Just two of them there at the table. We’re $5 trillion in debt. Nobody can understand that. But we don’t have $5 trillion of currency in print, so if we rounded up all the currency in print, we couldn’t pay the debt, and Forrest Gump can understand that.

QUESTIONER: Did you speak with Mr. Dole directly either immediately before or after news of the withdrawal plea became known? Did you or anyone in the Reform Party give the Dole camp any reason to believe you might be receptive to their request that you drop out and endorse Dole?

ROSS PEROT: When people ask me to have private conversations, I honor their commitment. Now, you say Ross, after a few years in Washington, why would you do that? I think I would just like to leave all of this in the hands of the Dole camp. But if something weird and totally inconsequential pops up like this thing yesterday, that is really big news, right? But the point is, am I in this for the long haul, yes. Do I intend to campaign to the bitter end? Yes.

QUESTIONER: Was Bob Dole’s request to you to drop out of the race a sign of desperation on his party?

ROSS PEROT: In no way do I want to do anything to harm another candidate’s constructive campaign.