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Perot's charts show U.S. decline

Using an unusual purchase of 30 minutes of television time, Ross Perot took viewers on a graphic tour of America's faltering economy on Monday night and asked them to choose a president "who will do it, not just talk about it."

Armed with more than two dozen charts and a metal pointer, Perot used virtually his entire presentation to dissect the causes of the recession.

Throughout the speech, the camera never veered from Perot, who was seated at a desk backed by a simple bookcase.

Perot flipped through one chart after the next, showing everything from the increase in the national debt to patterns of federal spending to international gasoline prices.

As he described each trend, Perot virtually sneered in disgust at the state of the nation.

"We used to have the world's greatest economic engine," Perot said. "We let it slip away and with it went millions of jobs and taxpayers. Let's take a little time to figure out what's happened to the engine. Let's raise the hood and go to work. Let's diagnose the problem. I can tell you before we look at the engine, an engine tune-up ain't going to fix it. We're going to have to do a major overhaul."

Perot did not speak at all about his proposed solutions to the country's economic problems, saying he would do that in later presentations.

He also encouraged viewers to read his best-selling book, United We Stand: How to Take Back Our Country, which proposes a number of harsh deficit-reduction measures.

Perot's speech, titled "Jobs, Debt and the Washington Mess," appeared from 8 to 8:30 p.m. EDT on CBS, immediately before the opening game of the National League playoffs.

As is his style, the candidate filled his presentation with homespun anecdotes and blunt talk about the nation's problems.

He never mentioned President Bush or Bill Clinton, but the independent presidential candidate sought to cast blame on both the major parties by highlighting the stalemate between the Republican president and the Democratic Congress.

"The American people are good," he said. "And yet over time we have created a country that's a mess. We have a situation in which our president blames Congress, Congress blames the president, the Democrats and Republicans blame each other. Nobody steps up to the plate and accepts responsibility for anything, including the $4-trillion debt which you and I must pay for."

Perot also decried the practice of government officials profiting from their political connections by becoming lobbyists, particularly for foreign countries.

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