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03/31/92

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Stockdale to be Perot's interim running mate

Hoover Fellow and retired Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale has agreed to serve as "interim" vice-presidential running mate for H. Ross Perot, the Texas entrepreneur and billionaire who is an independent candidate for president.

Stockdale told reporters at a March 30 press conference in Stauffer Auditorium that he doesn't expect to be Perot's final running mate but he probably would accept if the position were offered.

"I'm not here for me. I'm here for Ross Perot. There's no budget, no arrangements, no phone bills - nothing," the 68-year-old registered Republican and Congressional Medal of Honor winner said of his agreement with Perot.

In several television appearances over the past month, Perot has said he would run for president if volunteers put his name on the ballot in all 50 states. His 800-number has logged more than a million telephone calls, presumably from would-be volunteers, since his March 16 appearance on the Larry King show, the New York Times reported on March 29.

In a March 30 press release from the Perot Petition Committee of Dallas, Texas, Perot said he was naming Stockdale as his interim running mate to meet requirements in 28 states that a running mate be identified on petitions circulated to add his name to the November ballot. Perot said he would announce a final running mate by the time of the Democratic and Republican party conventions this summer.

He called Stockdale "an outstanding American patriot who has served his country in peace and war."

Stockdale is a highly decorated combat pilot who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his self-sacrificial efforts to protect other prisoners of war during his eight-year captivity in North Vietnam. Perot became known to many Americans in 1969 when he spent $1.5 million to take mail, medicine and Christmas meals to prisoners in North Vietnam.

Stockdale, the author of several books, including A Vietnam Experience: Ten Years of Reflection, told reporters he had "a wonderful job" and was not "heartsick" for the vice presidency.

"I'm not the least bit anxious to change occupations," he said.

He said he agreed to work for Perot's candidacy because "he's honest" and "he knows human nature."

Asked if his political stands would match Perot's, Stockdale said he had not had a chance to hear all of Perot's public statements.

"I'm pro-choice, not opposed to gun control," Stockdale said. "I'm a registered Republican by nature but at these [Perot volunteer] meetings, there are a lot of Democrats."

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