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Ross Perot has a lot to say at OSS Society dinner -- but not about politics

Ross Perot at Saturday's annual dinner of the OSS Society. (Chad Evans Wyatt for The OSS Society)

We've been thinking a lot about Ross Perot these days -- hasn't everyone? -- what with elections coming up, and a certain splinter group that wants to take back America and such. But before the billionaire stormed the barricades of the two-party system with his 1992 independent presidential campaign, he was, of course, a businessman, a Navy man, a ferocious advocate for POWs, wounded soldiers and vets. So, no surprise that he practically glowed Saturday night at the Mandarin Oriental in the presence of the military brass and retired spooks at an OSS Society dinner gathering.

"I wish I could get all of the presidents and CEOs of all the companies to come here," Perot gushed in his ever-folksy way, "and learn from you how to treat their factory workers."

The Texan, now 80, received the William J. Donovan Award from the OSS Society, an only-in-Washington-type event honoring the short-lived 1940s precursor to the CIA. (Yes, it's an older crowd. The joke Saturday, said president Charles Pinck, was that they're launching a new cologne: "Old Spies." Slogan: "Smell like an old man, man.") Perot regaled the room with old adventures -- rescuing Hmong refugees, deploying top doctors to Bahrain -- many anecdotes involving a military man saying, "Don't worry, Perot, we'll take care of it." Also, this common theme:

"You've heard enough stories from me, but . . ."

"I'm going to close with just one brief story . . ."

"I absolutely promise to finish with this! . . ."

What a chatterbox! Maybe a good night to ask him about the "tea party," and how he views its long-term prospects? He smiled politely at us: "I don't want to talk about that tonight."

By The Reliable Source  | October 4, 2010; 1:03 AM ET
Categories:  Parties, Politics  
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