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How Perot '92 Will Affect Election 2012

We're coming up on Feb. 20, the anniversary of when Perot announced his candidacy on Larry King. With two-year presidential campaigns slowly becoming a norm, is a late entry for a third-party candidate still possible and could a candidate start campaigning even later?

Barta: One of Perot's issues was that the way we elect our president is so foolhardy: Campaigning for two years to do it when we could do it in a shorter period. He thought a couple of months was plenty of time to let people know what you stood for. In part, he was trying to show that you could get out of the race, get back in and still get his message across.

A lot of these candidates in 2012 have been taking money since last spring and certainly last summer leading up to Iowa. Feb. 20 is not too late to start campaigning, though, and wouldn't be too late this year.

Given what we're seeing with people's dissatisfaction with these candidates, if there's an alternative out there he can jump in and make a big splash. The political consultants will tell you otherwise, but if you're running a nontraditional campaign and had money to fund it, you could start now.

Here, you had a candidate who jumped in on Feb. 20 and by May was polling as well as the major-party candidates.

Posner: When my wife and I interviewed him in 1996, he said he felt that one of his mistakes was coming out too early and that the process was built to chew you up and the earlier you're out, the more you get eaten up. You obviously have no choice if you're a Democrat or Republican and you have to run for those nominations forever, but as a third-party candidate he felt that if you had the money and somebody putting your name on the ballot, you could come out in the spring for the first time and make it a three- or four-month race at the very most.

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