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Perot Advises Voting for GOP to Give Party Its 'Turn at Bat'

October 06, 1994| From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Ross Perot says Americans should let Republicans "have a turn at bat" by giving near-blanket support to GOP candidates for Congress and handing Republicans control of both houses.

"I'm saying give these guys a chance," the Texas billionaire and 1992 independent presidential candidate advised.

Perot vowed that if Republicans win control of the House and Senate and don't deliver, then he would form a third party that would. He sidestepped whether he would run for President again.

Not surprisingly, his advice was loudly denounced Wednesday by the White House and Democratic leaders. They don't expect Perot's words to turn many votes but are too nervous about the midterm elections to risk letting them go unanswered.

Republicans were gleeful.

"We welcome it. I was pleased by what he said," said Haley Barbour, chairman of the Republican National Committee. "When Perot called for the election of a Republican Congress, he was accurately reflecting the views of the 20 million people who voted for him in 1992."

Using a favorite forum, CNN's "Larry King Live," Perot suggested Tuesday night that voters support Republican candidates for the House and Senate across the board.

White House and Democratic leaders were quick to accuse him of trying to create mischief.

"My hope is that people will vote their self-interest, vote on the issues (and) not take Ross Perot's advice on this," said Democratic National Committee Chairman David Wilhelm. "I think people are smart, and they are not going to vote blindly for anybody. They are not going to do it because Ross Perot suggests it."

Analysts questioned whether Perot's comments would have much practical effect.

"I think the number of people who would be swayed by the statement is smaller than many people think. Many of the 1992 Perot voters are already inclined to vote for Republicans," said Stuart Rothenberg, an analyst and political newsletter publisher.

Democrats control both chambers but are bracing for midterm losses, particularly in light of President Clinton's sagging approval ratings.

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