Perot gags on debate decision
Known for his commentary on international relations and US politics, Rupert Cornwell also contributes obituaries and occasionally even a column for the sports pages. With The Independent since its launch in 1986, he was the paper's first Moscow correspondent - covering the collapse of the Soviet Union – during which time he won two British Press Awards. Previously a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times and Reuters, he has also been a diplomatic correspondent, leader writer and columnist, and has served as Washington bureau editor. In 1983 he published God's Banker, about Roberto Calvi, the Italian banker found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge.
Monday 23 September 1996
On Saturday representatives of President Bill Clinton and his Republican challenger, Bob Dole, agreed to two 90-minute confrontations sandwiched around a vice-presidential debate on 9 October between Al Gore and Mr Dole's running- mate, Jack Kemp.
After recommendations of the bipartisan Presidential Debates Commission last week, neither Mr Perot nor his running-mate, Pat Choate, will take part. The decision was a tactical victory for Mr Dole, based on the calculation that Mr Perot would have split the anti-Clinton vote and attracted support that would otherwise have gone to the Republicans.
For that same reason the White House pressed for Mr Perot's inclusion. None the less, the Republicans' success could backfire, as Mr Perot made clear he would do everything in his power to turn his followers against Mr Dole.
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