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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

It's His Party: Perot Named Reform Pick

VALLEY FORGE, Pennsylvania -- A day after his Reform Party elected him as its first candidate for president, Ross Perot accepted the nomination with a pledge Sunday to "pass on a better, stronger country to the next generation."


"Thank you for creating a Reform Party," the billionaire businessman told a cheering crowd of about 2,000 at the campaign kickoff rally here. "I am honored and I am humbled that you have chosen me as your candidate to be president."


After the convention, Perot told CNN's Larry King that he would accept the $30 million in federal campaign funds that he qualified for on the strength of his showing in the 1992 election.


His agreement to accept federal funds automatically limits him to spending $50,000 of his own money. Four years ago, when he did not qualify for federal funds, he spent $60 million of his own fortune on his campaign.


For Perot, accepting the presidential nomination of the year-old organization that he created and financed, represents both the end of his ad hoc political ambitions and the beginning of a more formal political movement.


After failing to win the White House in 1992 with his United We Stand, America Inc., a political organization he helped create as a draft movement, Perot has spent the last year setting up the Reform Party's structure in every state.


Perot outpolled former Colorado Governor Richard Lamm by a 2-to-1 margin for the party's nomination. Early into his remarks, Perot complimented Lamm and thanked him for participating. He never mentioned Lamm again.


In his remarks, Perot attacked the Democratic and Republican parties as captives of "special interests" that will not have the political fortitude to balance the budget and bring down the national debt.


"Can we count on the two political parties to solve these problems?" he asked the delegates meeting in this town where George Washington and his Revolutionary War soldiers spent the winter of 1777 to 1778.


"They are the problem," the Texas billionaire proclaimed.


Perot's themes echoed those of his upstart independent campaign in 1992, when he received more than 19 percent of the popular vote, or about 19.7 million votes. Many observers believe that most of those voters would have otherwise chosen the Republican ticket headed by then-President George Bush.


Perot's appeal seems to have waned this year. The party mailed ballots to the 1.1 million voters who signed petitions in the past year seeking a place for Perot on state ballots, but only about 50,000 returned their ballots by mail, computer or telephone.


Perot won about 65 percent of the Reform Party vote, compared with 35 percent for Lamm.


"This is historic," said Richard Toliver, who is on Perot's payroll as a community organizer for Perot's business and political activities. "But I'm not in it for the history. I'm in it because I'm sick and fed up with politics as it's been in this country."


Toliver said he was convinced Perot had a "credible chance" to win the November election.