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David Jackson, USA TODAY

Former presidential candidate Ross Perot is endorsing Mitt Romney, saying the nation can't afford four more years of President Obama.

"The fact is the United States is on an unsustainable course," Perot says in an op-ed for our sister Gannett paper, the Des Moines Register. "At stake is nothing less than our position in the world, our standard of living at home and our constitutional freedoms."

Perot, who sought the presidency as an independent candidate in 1992 and 1996, writes that "we can't afford four more years in which debt mushrooms out of control, our government grows and our military is weakened."

Decrying a "stagnant" economy, Perot writes:

"Economic growth is insufficient to create enough jobs for a country whose population is growing. The result is unemployment stuck over 8 percent for every single month of Barack Obama's presidency. (Oval note: the jobless rate dipped to 7.8% last month.)

"We have 23 million Americans who are looking for work and either can't find a full-time job, can't find a job at all, or who have given up looking. That is wrong. It's not the way America ought to be.

"At the same time, and not unrelated, is the extraordinary explosion of federal deficits and federal debt. In the last four years during Obama's presidency, he's added around $5 trillion to our national debt, more than any previous president.

"This was accomplished by successive federal budgets that each ran deficits exceeding $1 trillion a year. It is this massive deficit spending that threatens to undermine our future standard of living. To pay for our government's massive debts, Washington's profligacy, our children and grandchildren will be paying interest and principal on the nation's debt for untold years into the future. That is wrong. It's not the way America ought to be."

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