President Bush expressed amazement Tuesday at Ross Perot's report of a Republican plot to disrupt his daughter's wedding, and denied that there was any truth in it. He said Perot's massive spending of his own money in the campaign was "a little bizarre . . . strange, strange."
Perot in recent days had described his suspicions that the Bush campaign was preparing to smear his daughter's reputation and disrupt her wedding. He said he accepted the GOP denials but did not rescind his charges.Bush was asked on NBC's "Today" show Tuesday if he agreed with his spokesman, who ridiculed Perot as a "crazy man."
"I agree this recent incident is crazy and the allegation that we would wittingly or in any other way try to break up a man's daughter's wedding . . . what in the world would be the reason for that?" Bush responded.
Perot first made his allegations to the Boston Herald and on "Sixty Minutes," and then repeated them Monday at a surprise appearance at a daily news briefing where he said he wanted to "get a few things straight" concerning why he shelved his campaign in July.
The Dallas billionaire exressed suspicions that Republican campaign operatives planned to embarrass his daughter with a fake photo and later considered tapping telephone lines used by his computers.
In the interview Tuesday, Bush said of Perot: "To his credit, he has accepted the fact that it didn't happen." But Bush noted twice that Perot had done that only "after going on a national program and making all sorts of insinuations."
As for Perot's spending of perhaps $75 million of his own funds on the campaign, Bush said: "I find it a little bizarre. . . . But let me put it this way - don't worry about him, he's got plenty left."
On Monday night, Perot telecast a new half-hour campaign commercial in which he dispensed advice for running a business. The ad, which was finished just a few hours before being broadcast, emphasized Perot's status as a non-politician but stayed away from his dirty-tricks suspicions.
Democrat Bill Clinton said he didn't know what to make of the Perot-Bush exchange but said he wanted to win back Perot supporters who may have strayed from the Democratic ticket.