Perot made impact

Published 8:02 am Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Ross Perot was not a large man: barely 5 feet, 6 inches tall, and maybe 150 pounds. But he was a giant.

Perot died in Dallas (July 9) at age 89. A family spokesman said the cause was leukemia.


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He was a titan in business but had bigger ideas. He became not just a philanthropist, but an evangelist for causes he believed in, and one of those was care for veterans.

In 1969, alarmed by reports of mistreatment of American POWs in Vietnam, he chartered two jets and filled them with food, medicine and supplies.

The North Vietnamese turned him away, but he raised awareness. Even bolder was his rescue effort in 1979 in Iran, where he authorized a commando raid that freed two EDS employees from an Iranian prison


But it was Perot’s foray into politics that has had lasting impact. Perot hated inefficiency, and saw it everywhere in Washington, D.C.

George H.W. Bush was poised to get another four years against the Democrats, who settled on a governor from a small southern state: Bill Clinton.

Enter Perot. Bush was flailing, and while Clinton was a new voice, he wasn’t exactly a fresh one. Perot dazzled a disaffected electorate with his straight talk, his impeccable background and his penchant for success.


A 1996 run was substantially less successful, and Perot more or less gave up his political aspirations. But his impact remains.

— The Boston Herald