To see the patriotic decor, to hear the vintage Ross Perot cadence, it seemed as if it were 1992 again and the White House were still an unclaimed prize.
"We can do it! We can rebuild alabaster cities that gleam undimmed by human tears," Perot exhorted about 1,400 followers at the University of Southern California Saturday.At many points during his speech, Perot seemed very much like a candidate and not the leader of an organization he compared to the Salvation Army: a group of "good, honest people who come together to help others - in this case, "a country in need."
"You own this country," Perot told the audience of college students and a number of gray-haired supporters. "Your ownership is expressed by your vote."
Calling on all in the crowd to join the organization for $15, Perot vowed to carry on the fight against wasteful government spending by making a nationwide television appeal March 21 and asking fed-up Americans to turn on their headlights the following Monday morning, March 22.
Perot hurled a few blasts at the defeated Bush-Quayle administration and berated "arrogant" Washington politicians who forget that they're public servants and not "kings and princes."
President Clinton and his economic plan received relatively little criticism from Perot, who gently warned the new executive to "be careful, not reckless, as you experiment with our money. To use an old carpenter's term, measure twice, cut once."