Open Primary Market on Display at CPAC

by Kathryn Jean Lopez

Move over Mitch Daniels, et al., Donald Trump is now speaking at CPAC:

Donald Trump is telling friends and advisers that he is seriously considering jumping into the Republican presidential race in 2012. To make his point, he has accepted an invitation to appear with other potential candidates at a gathering of conservative activists in Washington.

Mr. Trump is a last-minute addition to the roster of speakers at the Conservative Action Political Conference, organizers said, and is scheduled to address the 10,000 attendees on Thursday afternoon. His appearance would mark the first campaign-style event that Mr. Trump has participated in as he explores whether to begin a political career by running for president.

For weeks, Mr. Trump has been engaged in not-so-quiet discussions about making a potential White House bid, but he has taken few visible steps, beyond television interviews, to test his support and demonstrate his seriousness. By accepting an invitation to appear at the event, Mr. Trump is once again fueling speculation about his political future — and generating maximum exposure in the process.

“Obviously, it’s a tremendous forum to espouse his views and to express the fact that he is legitimately contemplating on this run,” said Michael Cohen, the executive vice president of the Trump organization, who confirmed his attendance at the forum. “He is seriously considering doing this because he’s disgusted with how the country is being run.”

Mr. Cohen, a special counsel to Mr. Trump, has started a Web site, www.shouldtrumprun.com, to serve as something of a draft movement. But the Web site is far from an organic outpouring, considering that it is run by people on Mr. Trump’s payroll.

Advisers to Mr. Trump say that he will decide by June whether to go forward with a Republican presidential bid. The timing is built around his television program, “The Apprentice,” which is scheduled to end by June.

I knew it when I heard him on Laura’s show

Someone pass me an iPhone — I need to confess I may have inadvertently encouraged this