Tuesday morning, in an op-ed in the Des Moines Register, businessman and former presidential candidate Ross Perot declared his unequivocal support for Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
"President Obama promised a great deal. He has had his chance," Perot wrote. "The results are visible for all to see. It is time for a new beginning. It is time for Mitt Romney."
Complaining of Obama's policy writ large, Perot echoed the GOP challenger's campaign slogan, writing that America "can't afford four more years in which debt mushrooms out of control, our government grows and our military is weakened."
Going on to praise Romney's conservative principles as well as his record as governor of Massachusetts, Perot argues that the former Bain Capital CEO would address and rectify the current president's shortcomings.
"He has spent most of his career in the private sector. He understands how jobs are created. He understands how government can get in the way of that process," Perot writes. "As a president, he would do what this administration has been unable to do, which is reform our federal government, pare it back and—most critically—keep it from acting as a brake on economic growth."
The endorsement may come as a surprise to some. In recent weeks, Perot went on record as disapproving of both candidates' negligence of an impending "fiscal cliff" and the country's massive debt. In an interview with USA Today, he said, "Nobody that's running really talks about it, about what we have to do and why we have to do it. They would prefer not to have it discussed."
This bipartisan rejection was Perot's first explicitly political statement in years, ever since his Reform Party dissolved in 2000 and he began to fade from public view.
The former third-party candidate, known for his use of charts and graphs in political ads, did not explain his shift in attitude toward the Republican ticket in the op-ed. It's possible that the outcome of the first presidential debate may have tipped the scales for him, as his initial remarks were made a few days before the former governor re-energized his campaign with a strong performance onstage.