Perot backs Romney, says US ‘can’t afford’ another Obama term

Billionaire businessman and one-time presidential candidate H. Ross Perot on Tuesday endorsed GOP candidate Mitt Romney. 

Perot, whose 1992 independent bid for the presidency captured close to 19 percent of the vote, praised Romney in an op-ed in the Des Moines Register, saying the GOP nominee would restrain the growth of government and “keep it from acting as a brake on economic growth.”

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The national debt has been a signature issue for the 82-year-old Perot and his endorsement comes after an interview earlier this month where he declined to back a presidential candidate, accusing both candidates of doing little to address the nation’s fiscal challenges. 

In his Tuesday op-ed, Perot says that in the 2012 presidential race, the stakes are “nothing less than our position in the world, our standard of living at home and our constitutional freedoms.” 

“We can’t afford four more years in which debt mushrooms out of control, our government grows and our military is weakened,” Perot says.

Perot accuses Obama of shouldering the nation with unsustainable debt: “In the last four years during Obama’s presidency, he’s added around $5 trillion to our national debt, more than any previous president.

“It is this massive deficit spending that threatens to undermine our future standard of living,” he adds.

But the Texas businessman cautioned that efforts to rein government spending should not weaken the nation’s military. “Even as we have engaged in runaway domestic spending, the country has been put on the path to massive cuts in the defense budget.

“History teaches that the price of military weakness always exceeds the price of preparedness,” Perot continues. “And yet at a moment when turbulence is sweeping critical regions of the world, we are increasingly unprepared.”

In explaining his support for Romney, Perot touts the former Massachusetts governor’s record working with a Democratic-legislature and his tenure as head of private equity firm Bain Capital. 

“He has spent most of his career in the private sector. He understands how jobs are created. He understands how government can get in the way of that process,” says Perot.

Perot had backed Romney in 2008 over the eventual GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCainJohn McCainOvernight Defense: Congress overrides Obama 9/11 veto | Pentagon breathes easy after funding deal | More troops heading to Iraq McCain comments won't derail Bergdahl case Senators already eyeing changes to 9/11 bill after veto override MORE (R-Ariz.).