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Perot, Buchanan Loom Over General-Election Politics

March 21, 1996

DALLAS (AP) _ A coy Ross Perot is continuing to suggest he will run for president _ if asked _ during a five-state blitz of campaign-like satellite TV interviews.

Perot repeated the same refrain with interviewers from Texas, Florida, New Mexico, Nevada and Oklahoma:

``I’ll cut the grass, I’ll take out the trash, I’ll do anything to make sure we solve these problems and pass on a great country to our children and grandchildren,″ he said, urging viewers of KRNV-TV in Reno to sign Reform Party petitions at a local discount supermarket.

Speaking from his hometown of Dallas, Perot said he would serve as the Reform candidate if asked, but he held open the possibility that other candidates might volunteer to run if he can get his party validated in all 50 states.

Perot tuned up his campaign slogans for the fall while taking a dig at President Clinton. He noted in the Key West interview that Florida farmers are hurt by cheap labor in Mexico.

``Promises made, promises broken,″ he jabbed. ``Remember who feels your pain.″

Perot’s aides and volunteers are working to gather petitions to get his Reform Party on the November ballot around the country. His name will appear as a ``stand-in″ candidate on some ballots until a nominee is chosen at the party’s convention, probably around Labor Day weekend.

Perot could clarify his intentions on Friday, when he appears on his favorite public forum, Larry King’s TV talk show on CNN. He first opened himself up to a 1992 presidential run on King’s show.

Sen. Bob Dole, pressed about the implications of a Perot candidacy one day after clinching the GOP nomination, said it ``wouldn’t make it easier″ for him to defeat Clinton.

Republican National Committee Chairman Haley Barbour, for his part, speculated that Democrats ``have worn out two sets of knee pads,″ praying for a Perot candidacy to help Clinton ``slip back in the back door of the White House again with 43 percent of the vote.″

Democratic National Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, appearing with Barbour on CNN, countered that the failure of the Republican-controlled Congress to deliver on campaign finance reform and other issues was ``why Ross Perot is angry and that’s why his people want him to run.″

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