Perot promises a better America

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Ross Perot and his nominal rival Dick Lamm took turns on Sunday night to shower scorn on the two major parties before a small but enthusiastic gathering of Reform Party volunteers, writes Tim Cornwell in Longbeach.

About 2,000 people at the Longbeach Convention Centre heard Mr Perot promise a better America and denounce Washington for running up a $5,000 billion national debt.

Mr Lamm, the former Colorado governor, accused President Clinton of fear-mongering over cuts in medical programmes for the elderly and called Republican Bob Dole's promise of tax cuts "pathetic and embarrassing".

Mr Lamm announced his bid for the presidential nomination six weeks ago, but Mr Perot is considered the favourite.