James Stockdale, Dead at 81:
Vice Admiral James Stockdale, Ross Perot's running mate in 1992, has passed away. The New York Times obituary is here. (Hat tip: Crescat)

  Admimal Stockdale may have been the most unusual vice Presidential candidate of a major nominee in recent history. In an interview with Jim Lehrer in 1999, transcript available here, Stockdale told the remarkable story of how he came to be Perot's running mate:
  Well, first of all, I was asked by Ross Perot on a telephone call in March of 1992 if, since he had committed on the Larry King Show to becoming a candidate for president, to get on all 50 ballots, he said, now, he said, you know, "I just now came across the information, and about half the states have to have, or demand to have the - the candidate's name at the start." Each state runs its own show on that, I'm sure. But anyway, he said, "What I want to ask you is for a favor." He said, "Would you let me put in your name as a stand-in candidate, and then as soon as I can get a real politician to join me, I'll let you know and we'll erase your name." And we got stuck in the mud somewhere.
  Perot never bothered to tell Stockdale that he would be participating in the vice Presidential debate (in which Stockdale famously asked "Who am I? Why am I here?"). Stockdale found out he would be in the debate about a week beforehand, when he happened to call Perot and mentioned the debate in passing. From the transcript of the interview:
  ADMIRAL JAMES STOCKDALE: . . . [A]bout a week before the debate I called Ross. I seldom called him, but in this case I said, "You know, I'm in luck. Nobody has ever mentioned that debate, and it's too late to invite me, and I think that's as it ought to be because I'm not a politician." He said, "Oh, Jim, I forgot to tell you. Your invitation came here about three weeks ago and we accepted for you, and I forgot to tell you." So that was the preparation.
  JIM LEHRER: So you never sat down with briefing books, or didn't discuss this with Ross Perot in any way whatsoever?
  ADMIRAL JAMES STOCKDALE: I never had a single conversation about politics with Ross Perot in my life; still haven't.