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After Waiting for Perot, Some Supporters are Going for the Dough With AM-Perot-What Next, Bjt

July 17, 1992

Undated (AP) _ Some people who had waited for Perot found themselves going for the dough now that the Texas billionaire decided against a presidential bid. Others expressed a hope that had nothing to do with Bill Clinton’s hometown.

While Ross Perot supporters suddenly found time on their hands, some scrambled to get watches with his likeness on their wrists.

For Larry Barnett, a Tupelo, Miss., barber, the decision meant Perot was no longer going for all the marbles. For more than a month, Barnett had conducted an informal poll using colored marbles: Customers dropped blue marbles into a jug for President Bush, white for Hope, Ark., native son Clinton and, until Thursday, green for Perot.

Since the poll began, 47 people voted for Bush, 32 for Perot and 14 for Clinton.

What’s Barnett going to do with the green marbles now?

″I guess I’ll either play with them or put them in my fish tank,″ he said.

Perot campaign workers in St. Petersburg, Fla., marked up their fast- selling T-shirts from $7 to $12 each, while L.R. Mabry hopes to recoup out- of-pocket expenses by selling 200 Perot campaign buttons and 200 bumper stickers for 50 cents each at next week’s Merced County Fair in California.

In Scottsdale, Ariz., Pat Shindler of Designer Creations said watches featuring a caricature of Perot against an American flag were being snapped up. ″They’re buying them at 10 or 20 at a time,″ she said.

The store had carried the watches for about a week, selling one a day, but sales skyrocketed when Perot withdrew, she said.

″It will be one of those things that in 50 years they will bring out as campaign memorabilia,″ Ms. Shindler said.

Matthew Skews of Everett, Wash., refused to believe the Perot’s decision was irreversible. As he scanned the storefront he had filled with Perot T- shirts, bumper stickers, hats, buttons, books and even Perot neckties, he said would keep his store open.

″It’s not ‘abandon ship’ yet,″ Skews said. ″(Perot) made a deal with the people of the United States, and the people who have supported him are going to continue to support him.″

Skews, a 24-year-old college student, put about $2,500 into his Perot shop. Although he didn’t open it two weeks ago with plans for a big profit, he didn’t expect Perot to quit the campaign.

Perot’s decision made him feel ″like my guts had been torn out from the inside.″

Skews has settled on a new course: Talk Perot back into the race - convince him his slipping poll rankings overlooked the grass-roots support.

Perot’s campaign in Madison, Wis., held a two-for-one sale of campaign paraphenalia and sold $700 worth Thursday night at the Dane County Fair.

The top seller: T-Shirts with a donkey and an elephant and the words, ″Ross Perot ’92. The party’s over.″

Austin American-Statesman newspaper columnist Mike Kelley, saying he feels sorry for disillusioned Perot supporters, offered to take up their banner - for a few bucks. He said he doesn’t want much from them. Just $1 each.

″This will accomplish a couple of things,″ his column Friday said. ″It will give you an even greater stake in our cause than you have now. And it will bring me lots and lots and lots of money ...″

Kelley said he and Perot have many things in common.

″Look, Perot is from East Texas. I am from East Texas. He talks funny. I talk funny. Eerie, isn’t it?″

No. That’s in Pennsylvania.