Texas billionaire H. Ross Perot dies at the age of 89

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Ross Perot, the colorful, self-made billionaire from Texas who launched two unsuccessful presidential bids as a third-party candidate, has died.

When two of his employees were jailed in Iran in 1979 over a contract dispute - just before the Islamic revolution - he financed a private commando rescue in a raid that inspired a book and a film.

In 1992, Perot jumped into the presidential campaign as an independent candidate, challenging President George H.W. Bush and Democrat Bill Clinton.

Perot directly challenged Clinton and Bush's support of the North American Free Trade Agreement during the election cycle, and argued the treaty would cause the loss of American jobs.

He delivered newspapers from the back of a pony during the Depression.

Perot, running as a third-party candidate, managed to win 19.7 million votes and was blamed by some Republicans for siphoning votes away from Bush to the benefit of Clinton.

He championed patriotic causes, and in the late 1970s and 1980s claimed that hundreds of missing U.S. soldiers had been left behind and imprisoned after the Vietnam War.


Perot continued to speak out about federal spending for many years. His father was a cotton broker; his mother a secretary.

He later graduated from the US Naval Academy and got a job in 1955 at International Business Machines, where he became a top salesman.

Perot started out in the computer business in the early 1960s, founding Electronic Data Systems Corp.in 1962 with $1,000 he had saved.

In September 2011, Forbes magazine estimated Perot's wealth at $3.5 billion and ranked him No. 91 on its list of richest Americans.

At the request of the governor, Perot became involved in Texas state politics in the early 1980s by proposing reforms to the public school system.

"In an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes" that aired nine days before the election, Perot said the real reason he had dropped out in July was that he had learned of a plan by Republican leaders, whom he wouldn't name, 'to have a computer-created false photo of my daughter, Carolyn, that they were going to give the press shortly before her wedding to embarrass her.' He offered no proof", Bloomberg News reported.

Perot, a Texas native, is survived by his wife, Margot, as well as five children and 16 grandchildren, according to CNBC. He again ran for president in 1996. "I knew at that moment that we would make it".

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