NEW YORK — The sudden pull-out of Ross Perot from the presidential race is being watched closely by aides to Bill Clinton, the new Democratic nominee.
Mickey Kantor, a close adviser to Governor Clinton, says the Democratic presidential campaign can quickly readjust to a two-way race.
But Mr. Kantor reminded reporters at a Monitor breakfast on Thursday that Clinton's campaign was similarly "pronounced dead six times, and I would be cautious about pronouncing any of these candidates dead," including Perot.
Party leaders at the Democratic National Convention watched with some amazement this week as Perot's standing in national polls plunged, while Clinton moved 17 points ahead of President Bush in the most recent ABC/Washington Post survey.
Ironically, Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis in 1988 held a similar 17-point lead over George Bush right after that year's convention. Weeks later, Mr. Bush pulled ahead.
Kantor predicted that, within three weeks, reporters will be asking him where Clinton's lead went. "This will be a rollercoaster," he cautioned.
In Dallas, Mr. Perot's exit from the presidential race came with shocking suddenness, and followed reports that his co-chairman, Hamilton Jordan, was also unhappy.
The root of the Perot campaign's problems apparently centers on the Texas billionaire's desire to run his seat-of-the-pants quest for the presidency much as he has been doing, talking informally and directly with the American people through television.
The Rollins-Jordan team was urging Perot to move aggressively with a paid television advertising effort.
They also wanted Perot to release detailed policy statements on his positions on key issues.