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Perot slated to make private television debut tomorrow Presidential contender to use media at his expense to get message out.


WASHINGTON -- Ross Perot, the presidential contender who has yet to announce his candidacy, makes his private television debut tomorrow from a Florida fairgrounds, marking the first of many ways he plans to use television to reach the voters directly, without filtering by the news media.

Mr. Perot's appearance, estimated to cost up to $50,000, will be broadcast by satellite. Major networks were not expected to pick it up, although C-SPAN, the cable network, was scheduled to air the program.

The event to be televised will feature the Dallas billionaire at the Central Florida Fairgrounds in Orlando, where he will celebrate his success in getting on the ballot there for the fall. Florida volunteers for Mr. Perot collected nearly 250,000 signatures for his candidacy.

Mr. Perot will employ satellite technology to thank his supporters in five other states -- Ohio, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas and Wyoming -- where his position on the ballot has been secured. Mr. Perot has now qualified to run in at least 14 states, but his aides say they will reach their goal of all 50 states.

Jim Squires, Mr. Perot's spokesman in Dallas, said he had "no idea how big the audience will be" for tomorrow's show. Mr. Perot will be "concentrating on congratulating his workers for all they've done," he added. "It's more of a rally than anything else."

Any viewer with a satellite dish can watch Mr. Perot. And C-SPAN's president, Brian Lamb, said his channel will either show the event live or later tomorrow at prime time, depending on activities in the House of Representatives.

When Mr. Perot does enter the race, as he is widely expected to do in the next several weeks, he is likely to try other means of talking directly to voters on television without media interpretation.

Mr. Perot has the money to invest in any innovative scheme he chooses to talk to voters. He has said he would spend $100 million of his own fortune, "or whatever it takes," in the fall campaign.

In recent weeks, Mr. Perot has tangled with reporters on television news programs, who have pressed him for his views on issues such as balancing the budget, seeking soldiers missing in Vietnam and releasing his financial records.

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