|Birth Day:||June 27, 1930|
|Birth Place:||Texarkana, United States|
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He was a Boy Scout, making Eagle Scout in 1942 and receiving the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. He also served in the United States Navy, where he developed the Naval Academy's honor system.
Perot joined the Boy Scouts of America and made Eagle Scout in 1942, after 13 months in the program. He was a recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award.
Ross Perot was born Henry Ray Perot in Texarkana, Texas, the son of Lula May (née Ray) and Gabriel Ross Perot, a commodity broker specializing in cotton contracts. His patrilineal line traces back to a French-Canadian immigrant to the colony of Louisiana in the 1740s. He attended a local private school, Patty Hill, before graduating from Texas High School in Texarkana in 1947. One of Perot's childhood friends was Hayes McClerkin, who later became the Speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives and a prominent lawyer in Texarkana, Arkansas.
From 1947 to 1949, he attended Texarkana Junior College, then entered the United States Naval Academy in 1949 and helped establish its honor system. Perot claimed his appointment notice to the academy—sent by telegram—was sent by W. Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel, Texas's 34th governor and former senator. Perot served as a junior officer on a destroyer, and later, an aircraft carrier from 1953 to 1957. Perot, who had only ever owned one pair of shoes at a time, was shocked to find that he was issued multiple pairs of shoes in the navy, which he would later point to as "possibly my first example of government waste".
In 1956 Perot married Margot Birmingham, whom he met on a blind date as a midshipman docked in Baltimore.
After he left the Navy in 1957, Perot became a salesman for IBM. He quickly became a top employee (one year, he fulfilled his annual sales quota in a mere two weeks) and tried to pitch his ideas to supervisors, who largely ignored him. He left IBM in 1962 to found Electronic Data Systems (EDS) in Dallas, Texas and courted large corporations for his data processing services. Perot was denied bids for contracts 77 times before receiving his first contract. EDS received lucrative contracts from the US government in the 1960s, computerizing Medicare records. EDS went public in 1968, and the stock price rose from $16 a share to $160 within days. Fortune called Perot the "fastest, richest Texan" in a 1968 cover story. In 1984, General Motors bought a controlling interest in EDS for $2.4 billion.
After a visit to Laos in 1969, made at the request of the White House, in which he met with senior North Vietnamese officials, Perot became heavily involved in the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue. He believed that hundreds of American servicemen were left behind in Southeast Asia at the end of the US involvement in the war, and that government officials were covering up POW/MIA investigations to avoid revealing a drug-smuggling operation used to finance a secret war in Laos. Perot engaged in unauthorized back-channel discussions with Vietnamese officials in the late 1980s, which led to fractured relations between Perot and the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations. In 1990, Perot reached an agreement with Vietnam's Foreign Ministry to become its business agent in the event that diplomatic relations were normalized. Perot also launched private investigations of, and attacks upon, United States Department of Defense official Richard Armitage.
In 1974, Perot gained some press attention for being "the biggest individual loser ever on the New York Stock Exchange" when his EDS shares dropped $450 million in value in a single day in April 1970.
In 1984, Perot's Perot Foundation bought a very early copy of Magna Carta, one of only a few to leave the United Kingdom. The foundation lent it to the National Archives in Washington, D.C. where it was displayed alongside the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. In 2007, the foundation sold it to David Rubenstein, managing director of The Carlyle Group for $21.3 million to be used "for medical research, for improving public education and for assisting wounded soldiers and their families". It remains on display at the National Archives.
Just before the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the government of Iran imprisoned two EDS employees in a contract dispute. Perot organized and sponsored their rescue. The rescue team was led by retired United States Army Special Forces Colonel Arthur D. "Bull" Simons. When the team was unable to find a way to extract the two prisoners, they decided to wait for a mob of pro-Ayatollah revolutionaries to storm the jail and free all 10,000 inmates, many of whom were political prisoners. The two prisoners then connected with the rescue team, and the team spirited them out of Iran via a risky border crossing into Turkey. The exploit was recounted in the book On Wings of Eagles by Ken Follett. In 1986 this was turned into a 2-part television mini-series (alternatively titled "Teheran") with the actor Burt Lancaster playing the role of Colonel Simons.
In 1988, he founded Perot Systems in Plano, Texas. His son, Ross Perot, Jr., eventually succeeded him as CEO. In September 2009, Perot Systems was acquired by Dell for $3.9 billion.
In Florida in 1990, retired financial planner Jack Gargan, employing a famous quotation from the 1976 movie Network, funded a series of "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore" newspaper advertisements denouncing Congress for voting to give legislators pay raises at a time when average wages nationwide were not increasing. Gargan later founded "Throw the Hypocritical Rascals Out" (THRO), which Perot supported.
On February 20, 1992, Perot appeared on CNN's Larry King Live and announced his intention to run as an independent if his supporters could get his name on the ballot in all 50 states. With such declared policies as balancing the federal budget, favoring certain types of gun control, ending the outsourcing of jobs and enacting electronic direct democracy via "electronic town halls," he became a potential candidate and soon polled roughly even with the two major-party candidates.
Perot's candidacy received increasing media attention when the competitive phase of the primary season ended for the two major parties. With the insurgent candidacies of Republican Pat Buchanan and Democrat Jerry Brown winding down, Perot was the natural beneficiary of populist resentment toward establishment politicians. On May 25, 1992, he was featured on the cover of Time with the title "Waiting for Perot," an allusion to Samuel Beckett's play Waiting for Godot.
Perot denounced Congress for its inaction in his speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on March 18, 1992; he said:
In the 1992 election, he received 18.9% of the popular vote, about 19,741,065 votes, but no electoral college votes, making him the most successful third-party presidential candidate in terms of the popular vote since Theodore Roosevelt in the 1912 election. Unlike Perot, however, other third-party candidates since Roosevelt won multiple electoral college votes: Robert La Follette in 1924, Strom Thurmond in 1948, and George Wallace in 1968. Compared with Thurmond and Wallace, who polled very strongly in a small number of states, Perot's vote was more evenly spread across the country. Perot managed to finish second in two states: In Maine, Perot received 30.44% of the vote to Bush's 30.39% (Clinton won with 38.77%); in Utah, Perot received 27.34% of the vote to Clinton's 24.65% (Bush won with 43.36%). Although Perot did not win a state, he received a plurality of votes in some counties.
Based on his performance in the popular vote in 1992, Perot was entitled to receive federal election funding for 1996. Perot remained in the public eye after the election and championed opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). During the campaign, he had urged voters to listen for the "giant sucking sound" of American jobs heading south to Mexico should NAFTA be ratified.
From 1992, Perot was a pro-choice activist, and a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood. He stated that poorer women in particular should have access to abortions via federal funding. From 2000, he was pro-choice reluctantly.
Perot tried to keep his movement alive through the mid-1990s, continuing to speak about the increasing national debt. He was a prominent campaigner against NAFTA, and frequently claimed that American manufacturing jobs will go to Mexico. On November 10, 1993, Perot debated with then-Vice President Al Gore on the issue on Larry King Live with an audience of 16 million viewers. Perot's behavior during the debate was a source of mirth thereafter, including his repeated pleas to "let me finish" in his southern drawl. The debate was seen by many as effectively ending Perot's political career. Support for NAFTA went from 34% to 57%.
In his 1993 book Not For Sale at Any Price, Perot expressed support for giving tax cuts for small and medium-sized enterprises, as opposed to larger corporations. Additionally, Perot supported a balanced budget amendment, stating, "spending should not exceed revenue for 27 consecutive years." On trade, Perot stated that NAFTA caused the trade deficit between Mexico and the United States and a loss of manufacturing jobs. His position on free trade and NAFTA became his defining campaign principle of both the 1992 and 1996 presidential elections. Perot argued: "We have got to stop sending jobs overseas. It's pretty simple: If you're paying $12, $13, $14 an hour for factory workers and you can move your factory south of the border, pay a dollar an hour for labor, ... have no health care—that's the most expensive single element in making a car—have no environmental controls, no pollution controls and no retirement, and you don't care about anything but making money, there will be a giant sucking sound going south."
In 1995, he founded the Reform Party and won their presidential nomination for the 1996 United States presidential election. His vice presidential running mate was Pat Choate. Because of the ballot access laws, he had to run as an Independent on many state ballots. Perot received 8% of the popular vote in 1996, lower than in the 1992 race, but still an unusually successful third-party showing by US standards. He spent much less of his own money in this race than he had four years prior, and he also allowed other people to contribute to his campaign, unlike his prior race. One common explanation for the decline was Perot's exclusion from the presidential debates, based on the preferences of the Democratic and Republican party candidates. Jamie B. Raskin of Open Debates filed a lawsuit over Perot's exclusion years later.
In the 2000 presidential election, Perot refused to become openly involved with the internal Reform Party dispute between supporters of Pat Buchanan and John Hagelin. Perot was reportedly unhappy with what he saw as the disintegration of the party, as well as his own portrayal in the press; thus, he chose to remain quiet. He appeared on Larry King Live four days before the election and endorsed George W. Bush for president. Despite his earlier opposition to NAFTA, Perot remained largely silent about expanded use of guest-worker visas in the United States, with Buchanan supporters attributing this silence to his corporate reliance on foreign workers.
In 2005, Perot was asked to testify before the Texas Legislature in support of proposals to extend access to technology to students, including making laptops available to them. He supported changing the process of buying textbooks by making e-books available and by allowing schools to purchase books at the local level instead of going through the state. In an April 2005 interview, Perot expressed concern about the state of progress on issues that he had raised in his presidential runs.
In January 2008, Perot publicly came out against Republican candidate John McCain and endorsed Mitt Romney for president. He also announced that he would soon be launching a new website with updated economic graphs and charts. In June 2008, his blog launched, focusing on entitlements (Medicare, Medicaid, Social security), the US national debt, and related issues. In 2012, Perot endorsed Romney for president again. Perot did not give any endorsements for the 2016 election.
Perot and his wife Margot (née Birmingham), a graduate of Goucher College, had five children (Ross Jr., Nancy, Suzanne, Carolyn, and Katherine) and 19 grandchildren. With an estimated net worth of about US$4.1 billion in 2019, he was ranked by Forbes as the 167th-richest person in the United States.
Perot died on July 9, 2019, less than two weeks after his 89th birthday in Dallas, Texas, from leukemia. He was buried at the Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery and a memorial service was held at Highland Park United Methodist Church, with 1,300 invited guests.
Currently, Ross Perot is 91 years, 3 months and 25 days old. Ross Perot will celebrate 92nd birthday on a Monday 27th of June 2022.
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