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Tags: Donald Trump

Did You Know Terry McAuliffe Took $25,000 From Donald Trump?



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I wonder how Virginia Democrats feel about their gubernatorial candidate, Terry McAuliffe, taking five-figure checks in 2009 from mogul Donald Trump, who publicly argued that President Obama’s birth certificate may not be authentic.

Donald Trump is just one of many big name donors funding Terry McAuliffe’s campaign to win the Virginia governor’s mansion this fall, according to newly released financial disclosure reports — and he isn’t even among the most generous givers.
The New York real estate magnate cut McAuliffe a check for a whopping $25,000 in late March, but that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the largest single donation in McAuliffe’s report — a $251,000 gift from billionaire media tycoon Haim Saban in January. That check narrowly bested a $250,000 contribution the following month from Steve Bing, another big fish in the entertainment industry.
McAuliffe raised $4.2 million in the first quarter of 2009, and thanks to Virginia’s permissive fundraising laws, more than 80 percent of his cash came from donors who live outside the state.

The campaign of Republican nominee Ken Cuccinelli and the Virginia GOP have been pretty relentless in demanding McAuliffe release his tax returns for recent years. The latest from the Cuccinelli team:

Last July, the Virginian-Pilot editorial board called on Mitt Romney to release his tax returns to “provide a consistent measure of transparency” and said not doing so suggested he had “something to hide.”

Last Thursday, in the spirit of transparency, Ken Cuccinelli released eight years of returns. So far, the McAuliffe campaign has been mum on whether they intend to follow suit. If McAuliffe decides not to release his returns, at the very least, he should explain his reasoning. As is the case with any important election, voters deserve more information, not less.

More on the tax-return issue to come . . .

Tags: Terry McAuliffe , Wolf Blitzer , Donald Trump

Trump: ‘I Have a Deal for the President.’



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There’s only one word for Trump’s announcement: YUGE. Yuuuuuge.

Tags: Barack Obama , Donald Trump

I Liked It Better When Trump’s Bombshells Were His Girlfriends



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With his trademarked humility and circumspection, Donald Trump recently boasted he’s about to announce huge news about President Obama, and one rumor has already been reported: “Douglas Kass, a Florida-based investor who appears on CNBC’s talkshow ‘Squawkbox’ where Trump is often a commentator, tweeted to his 48,000 followers: ’High above the Alps my Gnome has heard that Donald Trump will announce that he has unearthed divorce papers between the Prez and his wife.’ “

The fact that the Obamas went through rough patches in their marriage, and contemplated divorce at one time, is not news. Most accounts of the Obamas’ lives attribute the marital stress to financial difficulties.

David Mendell discussed the Obamas’ surprisingly dicey personal finances in his 2007 biography of the then-senator, Obama: From Promise to Power:

He and Michelle were living a middle- to upper-middle-class, white collar existence, going home to a spacious town house in Hyde Park and employing a caregiver to help with child care. But despite their combined incomes, which topped $250,000 a year, Obama had personal debt. He had maxed out his credit card, partly on campaign expenses, and the couple were both repaying student loans from Harvard.

Those campaign expenses came from Obama’s 2000 Democratic-primary bid to unseat Representative Bobby Rush, a four-term incumbent with 90 percent name recognition and a 70 percent approval rating. Obama lost, garnering 30 percent to Rush’s 61 percent. Michelle reportedly thought the campaign was a bad idea, and a new book, Ed Klein’s The Amateur, claims that the stress of the defeat and resulting debt brought the couple to the brink of divorce.

In his book, Klein cites a friend of Michelle Obama who says, “Michelle actually had divorce papers drawn up.” Could those papers have been sitting in some file cabinet all these years? Could Trump’s people have somehow gotten a copy of them?

Unless there’s some sort of genuinely shocking information in that filing that would be pertinent to evaluating Obama today — Drinking? Drug use? Violent temper or mood swings — it’s hard to imagine these papers it would sway voters much in this year’s election. While it’s unlikely Trump’s latest publicity stunt could backfire sufficiently to jeopardize Romney’s standing in the polls, it’s hard to imagine the Romney campaign brain trust in Boston being thrilled with loose cannon Trump seizing the headlines and making the Obamas look like victims. (Clearly high-profile Clinton marital issues didn’t hurt Democrats in the 1998 midterms or Hillary Clinton’s 2000 bid for Senate.)

Having said that, if unflattering details about Obama are revealed to the public because of divorce papers, two men are likely to spend the day laughing: Obama’s 2004 Democratic primary rival Blair Hull and Obama’s short-lived 2004 general election rival, Jack Ryan. Both men had their divorce papers unsealed by suddenly nosy members of the Chicago media, a press corps that never was quite so dogged in pursuit of politicians’ divorce papers since.

Tags: Barack Obama , Donald Trump , Michelle Obama , Mitt Romney

Why Is Trump Bigger News Than, Say, Jon Corzine?



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My views on Donald Trump are clear.

But I’m rather mystified how “The Donald” being “The Donald” somehow represents a major issue or crisis for the Romney campaign.

The AP: “Trump overshadows Romney with ‘birther’ talk”

Reuters: “Trump birther remarks overshadow Romney appearance”

The New York Times: “Romney, on His Big Day, Finds Himself Upstaged”

That’s a lot of overshadowing, upstaging, hijacking, and so on, the day after a holiday weekend.

First, can anyone find a voter who was inclined to vote for Romney, but who is jumping off the bandwagon because of Trump? A single example of this? I’m talking about more than a Romney supporter who isn’t fond of Trump and would prefer the mogul focused on his core competencies, like lines of neckties, board games, and Oreo Double Stuf commercials.

Are the statements of Trump any more or less controversial than those of, say, Obama’s million-dollar donor Bill Maher?

Our old friend Byron York talks about “the repudiation game”:

By one-sided, they mean not only that Obama has not disavowed SuperPAC contributor Bill Maher for a number of Maher’s statements that were particularly insulting to Republican women. They also mean the press, with, as Team Romney see it, questionable associations of its own. Has David Gregory, moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” repudiated his colleague Al Sharpton, the MSNBC host with a decades-long record of incendiary statements and actions? And has, say, the New York Times columnist Gail Collins repudiated her colleague Charles Blow, who once wrote to Romney, “Stick that in your magic underwear”? Romney, his team believes, understands that the calls for him to repudiate Trump over the issue of birtherism — and future calls to repudiate this or that supporter next week or next month over some other issue — are at the core all about politics.

The Obama campaign kept the money Jon Corzine raised while returning his personal donation. Why is Trump a bigger controversy than that?

Corzine’s recklessness cost 3,200 people their jobs — bigger than most of the mid-’90s layoffs under Bain that the Obama campaign insists upon spotlighting in its ads. Why is it more important that Romney repudiate Trump than for Obama to repudiate Corzine?

Tags: Barack Obama , Donald Trump , Jon Corzine , Mitt Romney

In Bad Break for Romney, He Wins Trump’s Endorsement



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A portion of today’s Morning Jolt covers the reports last night that Donald Trump would endorse Newt Gingrich for president. Moments ago, news broke that Trump would endorse Romney.

Sigh.

I believe the first words I wrote about Trump’s latest publicity stunt were:

I Will Not Vote for a Short-Fingered Vulgarian

Is this Donald Trump for president stuff serious? Really? We’re sure this isn’t the latest version of the near-quadrennial publicity stunt (20082000)?

Is it possible this is all stage-setting for some new line of ties coming out? A new book? Reality show? A new board game?

The guy whose dalliances with Marla Maples were the stuff of New York Post headline dreams, who made a large chunk of his fortunes by building casinos and turned Atlantic City into the depressing, pawn-shop-strewn Gotham City it is today, and whose ostentatious taste would prompt Liberace to urge him to “tone it down a little” is going to run for the party of traditional values? The guy who lost money almost as fast as he made it and who once had a personal debt of $900 million is going to carry the banner for the party of fiscal responsibility?

Back in the early ’90s, Spy magazine imagined a Donald Trump Saturday-morning cartoon series, and offered a quick glimpse in a special hosted by a then-less-well-known comedian, Jerry Seinfeld. In honor of today’s news, here is that glimpse:

Tags: Donald Trump , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich

‘As Moderator, I Hate Your Answers, So I’ll Run Myself.’



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How often do debate moderators threaten to run against the field of candidates they’re moderating?

Donald Trump makes history!

Donald Trump has once again said that if Republican primary voters can’t pick a candidate he believes will beat President Obama, he’ll run for president himself.

Trump made the comment in an interview with TODAY’s Matt Lauer Monday while promoting his new book, “Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again,” out that same day.

If “the wrong candidate is nominated to run” and “it’s a candidate that’s not going to win and not very good,’’ Trump said he would “certainly think about running as an independent.’’ Despite dalliances with a possible presidential bid in the past, Trump said he has never seriously considered it until this year.

The editors of NR appear to be as incredulous as the rest of us:

We had hoped that after the brief and frivolous publicity stunt Trump branded as exploration of a presidential run, there would be no further occasion to rehearse the many ways in which his sometime association with the Republican party hurts the conservative cause. So we’ll keep it brief: Trump is a tax-hike-supporting, missile-defense-opposing, universal-health-care-advocating, eminent-domain abusing, Schumer-Weiner-Rangel-Reid-donating, long-time-pro-choice economic protectionist who in 2008 called George W. Bush “evil” and lauded president-elect Barack Obama as a potentially “great president” who would “lead by consensus.”

The Trump debate is a sideshow, and those who would be the Republican nominee for the presidency of the United States are, one and all, better than it.

Tags: Donald Trump

Donald Trump Validates His Skeptics and Critics



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Trump’s out. His statement:

“After considerable deliberation and reflection, I have decided not to pursue the office of the Presidency. This decision does not come easily or without regret; especially when my potential candidacy continues to be validated by ranking at the top of the Republican contenders in polls across the country…  I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election. I have spent the past several months unofficially campaigning and recognize that running for public office cannot be done half heartedly. Ultimately, however, business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector.”

Hmm. I can’t help but think of all the readers who wrote in, complaining that I and others at NRO were not taking his candidacy seriously.

I believe the first words I wrote about Trump’s latest publicity stunt were:

I Will Not Vote for a Short-Fingered Vulgarian

Is this Donald Trump for president stuff serious? Really? We’re sure this isn’t the latest version of the near-quadrennial publicity stunt (20082000)?

Is it possible this is all stage-setting for some new line of ties coming out? A new book? Reality show? A new board game?

The guy whose dalliances with Marla Maples were the stuff of New York Post headline dreams, who made a large chunk of his fortunes by building casinos and turned Atlantic City into the depressing, pawn-shop-strewn Gotham City it is today, and whose ostentatious taste would prompt Liberace to urge him to “tone it down a little” is going to run for the party of traditional values? The guy who lost money almost as fast as he made it and who once had a personal debt of $900 million is going to carry the banner for the party of fiscal responsibility?

And now Politico reports: “The move came after NBC officials, whose network his “Celebrity Apprentice” airs on, said they would have an answer within 24 hours as to whether or not The Donald would be back for another season next fall.”

Given a choice between running for president or keeping his television show, Trump chose to keep his television show.

One cannot help but notice that Trump’s CPAC speech, arguably the kickoff to the presidential semi-campaign, came just weeks before the season premiere of “The Apprentice” in March and his statement that he’s not running comes about a week before the season finale. Hey, what are the odds?

Tags: Donald Trump

An F-Bombshell of a Speech



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Is this a big . . . you-know-what deal?

Real estate mogul Donald Trump may, or may not run for president.  But Thursday in Las Vegas, he was sure sounding like a someone who’s ready to jump into the race with both feet.  He did it with enough explicitives to call it a Rated R speech.

Once while discussing Iraq.

“We build a school, we build a road, they blow up the school, we build another school, we build another road they blow them up, we build again, in the meantime we can’t get a f***ing school in Brooklyn,” Trump says.

To the audience’s approval, while talking oil.

“We have nobody in Washington that sits back and said, you’re not going to raise that f****ing price,” he says.

And finally, while speaking about taxing Chinese goods.

“Listen you mother f***ers we’re going to tax you 25 percent,” Trump says.

Perhaps the GOP presidential candidate should pick Donald Trump as his running mate, just so he can debate Joe Biden in the vice-presidential debate and the pair can drop more F-bombs than Eddie Murphy in Raw.

Dennis Miller can moderate.

Tags: Donald Trump , Joe Biden

Club for Growth Dismisses Trump as ‘Just Another Liberal’



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If Donald Trump wants to be taken seriously as a candidate, the Club for Growth is happy to oblige:

 The Club for Growth assailed potential presidential candidate Donald Trump today as a tax-hiking liberal whose open flirtation with single-payer health care and warm embrace of protectionism disqualifies him from consideration by conservatives.”Donald Trump for President? You’ve got to be joking,”  said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola. “Donald Trump has advocated for massive tax increases that display a stunning lack of knowledge of how to create jobs. His love for a socialist-style universal health care system and his alarming obsession with protectionist policies are automatic disqualifiers among free-market conservatives. This publicity stunt will sputter and disappear just as quickly as the ’The Apprentice’ is losing viewers.”

Donald Trump: Just Another Liberal

Trump: “We must have universal healthcare”: We must have universal healthcare. Our objective [should be] to make reforms for the moment and, longer term, to find an equivalent of the single-payer plan that is affordable, well-administered, and provides freedom of choice.  (Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.206-208 & 218)

Donald Trump favors a massive tax hike on Americans that would kill jobs and investment: I would impose a one-time, 14.25% tax on individuals and trusts with a net worth over $10 million. For individuals, net worth would be calculated minus the value of their principal residence. That would raise $5.7 trillion in new revenue, which we would use to pay off the entire national debt [and shore up the Social Security Trust Fund].(Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.170-74)

Trump: The King of Protectionism:

Trump wants a 25% tax on all Chinese imports: “Twenty-five percent tax on China, unless they behave,” he told O’Reilly. ”You’re threatening China with a trade bill. Twenty-five percent tariff. That’s big,” O’Reilly retorted. ”No, they’re threatening us. They’re going to make a three hundred billion dollar, let’s call it profit, this year on the United States.” (Source: Fox News, 4/1/11, http://politics.blogs.foxnews.com/2011/04/01/trump-tax-china-25-0#ixzz1JKlujJYV)

Trump: “I’d love to have a trade war with China. If we did no business with China frankly we’d save a lot of money.”: In a Fox News interview, Trump said “I’m a big free trade believer by the way.” A few minutes later he said “I’d love to have a trade war with China. If we did no business with China frankly we’d save a lot of money.” (Source: http://www.therightscoop.com/donald-trump-id-love-a-trade-war-with-china/)

Tags: Club For Growth , Donald Trump

Who Was the Donald Trump of the 2008 Cycle? Well...



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As Trump-mania continues, recall that at this point in the past cycle – April 2007 – the leading contender for the Republican nomination was a pugnacious New Yorker with a combover, whose past marital problems had entertained city the tabloids and Spy magazine since the 1980s, who had a reputation for larger-than-life tough talk and combativeness, who was making big money in the private sector and who was ubiquitous on television for a while. Oh, and Darrell Hammond played him on Saturday Night Live.

That contender, of course, was Rudy Giuliani, who ended up winning a single delegate. So as the former mayor will tell you, the lead in April the year before the primaries isn’t always worth all that much.

(You can see video of Trump putting the moves on Giuliani in drag in a short, comedic sketch shown at a mayoral dinner here. You, er, may not want to watch that.)

Tags: Donald Trump

Perhaps a Trump Candidacy Fits Our Culture and Times



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In this morning’s Jolt, a look at budget cuts that aren’t as big as they seem and a strikingly sensible assessment of the Koran and violence in the Muslim world from Donald Trump. But first, a few thoughts on Trump and our entrance into the era of the celebrity candidate:

2011’s Surprise Candidate: Donald Trump. Predicted 2012 Surprise: Charlie Sheen.

You scoff at the Sheen suggestion. But he is, as the Chinese press reminded us, the son of a president.

I think I see the appeal of the Donald as he continues his media blitz. He talks about Obama the way many of us on the Right do — like he’s an in-over-his-head academic theoretician who has stumbled around for way too long and who needs to be replaced as soon as possible before the damage becomes unfixable. Trump is tired of the rest of the world expecting us to save them and then complaining loudly and endlessly when we do. He sees China as a serious rival and potential threat. Even when Trump swims in Birther waters, he makes it sound unremarkable — an incredulous exasperation with Obama’s secrecy and how little the country knew about him when they elected him.

But as I noted, the man was not too long ago in Oreo Double Stuff commercials with Darrell Hammond playing a Trump clone and then did a Star Wars-themed episode of “The Apprentice.”  I suppose someone will inevitably compare it to Reagan’s performance in Bedtime for Bonzo, but Trump’s tabloid antics strike me as just about the polar opposite of “presidential” style and demeanor. Maybe the Trump surge is a short-lived expression of public distaste with Obama; maybe it’s an angry, ‘hey, yeah, we’d even prefer that guy over the guy who’s botching things now.”

Or maybe the country is changing, and the definition of “presidential” is changing as rapidly. I’m reminded of a piece I wrote in mid-2008, assessing the way Obama and his campaign embraced the celebrity image that McCain tried to mock: “The redesigned logo, the will.i.am video, the cover of men’s Vogue, his ability to be deemed one of the fittest men in America (despite the occasional cigarette), his Versace-dedicated line, the news that he regularly trades lengthy e-mails with Scarlett Johansson. . . . We get it, the guy is cooler than 99 percent of us will ever be.”

And then think of how Obama has behaved as president: “Since becoming president, Obama has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Late Show with David Letterman, taped a question-and-answer promoting Conan O’Brien’s transition toThe Tonight Show, taped a promotion for George Lopez, taped a video for The Colbert Report, taped a prime-time special with Oprah, been the subject of an NBC News prime-time special, been the subject of an HBO documentary, grilled with Food Network star Bobby Flay, popped up in commercials during Thanksgiving football, and filled out his NCAA basketball tournament picks on ESPN and now, American Idol. (Again.) . . . He’s making Taylor Swift look obscure.”

And yet Obama bobs along in the polls, currently just under a 50-50 split in his approval rating. I figured at some point, America would find this grating, and silly, and a fundamental misreading of the duties and role of the presidency. But it doesn’t look like it has happened yet, and it may not happen.

Perhaps 2008 will be the last year “celebrity” is used as an epithet in a presidential campaign. Perhaps from here on out, it’s a requirement.

Tags: Barack Obama , Donald Trump

Words I Never Thought I Would Write: Trump Leads GOP 2012 Poll



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Er… you’re hired?

 Donald Trump is now tied with Mike Huckabee for first place when Republicans are asked who they support for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, according to a new national poll.

But while a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday indicates that the real estate mogul and reality TV star has nearly doubled his support since mid-March, it doesn’t mean he has smooth sailing ahead.

“More than four in ten Republicans say they would not like to see Trump toss his hat in the ring,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

What is this? A genuine desire to see a real estate developer in the White House? A gut-level appreciation for his blunt talk? A sign that name ID counts for everything at this point?

Tags: Donald Trump , Mike Huckabee

Obama’s Approval Rating Hits 43% in Florida



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Mason-Dixon is out with a new poll in Florida, and the news isn’t very good for President Obama:

  • Overall, 43 percent of voters surveyed approved of Obama’s performance and 56 percent disapproved.
  • Only 34 percent of independent voters in Florida — always the key to winning — approve of Obama’s performance,
  • Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney or former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee would beat the president in Florida if the election were held today.

They also asked Republican voters their choice in the 2012 field, and the results are a bit surprising: “The April 4-7 telephone poll found Romney slightly leading Huckabee among Republican primary voters, 23 percent to 18 percent. They were trailed by business magnate Donald Trump with 13 percent, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 11, and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty with 8. Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s support has plummeted since she was hailed as the newest GOP superstar three years ago. Only 5 percent of Republican voters said they would vote for her as the nominee, and she would lose overwhelmingly to Obama in Florida.”

UPDATE: I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Huckabee is popular in Florida; he’s done so much for that state’s home construction industry.

Tags: Barack Obama , Donald Trump , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Sarah Palin

Donald Trump in 2nd Place? Well, Check That Sample Size . . .



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A number of Campaign Spot readers continue to feel excitement and eager anticipation over the possibility of a Donald Trump presidential campaign.

A big trigger of today’s Trump buzz is the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, which shows Trump in second place among GOP primary voters, trailing Mitt Romney’s 21 percent with 17 percent. Among Republicans who describe themselves as supportive of the Tea Party, Trump leads with 20 percent!

But the numbers may not be as significant as they initially seem; the sample size among those two groups is significantly smaller than the 1,000 adults who make up the sample as a whole. The NBC/WSJ poll showing Trump in second place among GOP primary voters has a margin of error of 6.35 percent; among Tea Partiers, the margin of error is 8.5 percent.

Having said all that, one of my readers argues Trump is a master of the media — and there is something amazing about the bluntness with which he addresses Meredith Viera’s questions this morning:

I could see many, many Americans gravitating to his vision of a foreign policy that puts American interests first.

We take care of ourselves first, okay. We don’t build schools in Afghanistan. We go to Afghanistan, we build a road, we build a school, and two days later, they blow up the road, they blow up the school, and we start building the road and the school again. In the meantime, we can’t build schools in Alabama, we can’t build schools in New Orleans, Texas, New York . . . We’re spending trillions and trillions of dollars.

On the oft-mentioned issue of President Obama’s birth certificate, he says, “I’m starting to think he wasn’t born in this country . . . Three weeks ago, I thought he was born in this country. Now I’ve got real doubts. I have people that actually have been studying it, and they cannot believe what they’re finding.”

Tags: Donald Trump

Have the Aspiring GOP Presidents Contemplated the Burden of the Office?



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As we see a range of unlikely figures insisting that they are, indeed, serious about running for president — Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain, mogul/publicity hound Donald Trump — one has to wonder about their enthusiasm for a position that, if done correctly, ought to be one of massive, and perhaps wearying responsibility.

To be president means, among other things, at some point you are just about certain to write letters of condolence to parents of young men and women you ordered into harm’s way. To be president means you’ll have to choose whether to risk others’ lives, and balance how much risk you expose those in uniform against how much risk is faced by Americans everywhere.

If Japan’s crisis worsens, do you expose U.S. military personnel to radiation to save lives? Do you strike an al-Qaeda site on foreign soil if the intelligence isn’t 100 percent reliable (and it almost never is)? Do you warn the host government, and run the risk of losing the element of surprise?

How do you balance the risks of action and inaction in dealing with the Iranian nuclear program? What if there are signs our foes may retaliate against American civilians on U.S. soil? How much brinksmanship are you willing to pursue with the unpredictable and bewhildering Kim Jong-Il? Are these aspiring happy souls ready to live with the consequences?

Don’t any of these aspiring presidents find this daunting? Don’t any of them sigh with relief knowing that whatever the current problems in their life, they don’t face these dreadful choices? Even the best presidents find themselves needing to console the nation after awful tragedies and great evils – the Lockerbie bombing, 9/11, Fort Hood.

We’ve all seen how the presidency ages the men who have held that position. To be president is to face difficult decisions every day and live with the consequences. Make the wrong moves, and you’ll be remembered in history as a national failure. Sometimes you can make the right decisions and the public will hate you anyway.

Have these candidates even thought about this? The reluctance of a John Thune or Mike Pence, the hesitation of a Mitch Daniels, or the repeated exclamations of disinterest from a Chris Christie make a lot of sense, and seem healthier and more responsible than some candidates’ unbridled enthusiasm.

Tags: Donald Trump , Herman Cain , Michele Bachmann

Candidate Trump, Today and 22 Years Ago



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The Des Moines Register:

A senior aide to billionaire Donald Trump arrived in Iowa today to meet with Republican officials and activists and seek input about his effort to draft the real estate magnate and reality television star to run for president. But that aide, Michael Cohen, said the draft effort was independent from his role working for Trump, despite using one of Trump’s private aircraft to travel to Iowa. Cohen is executive vice president of The Trump Organization and special counsel to Trump. He is also is a co-founder of ShouldTrumpRun.com, a website formed to gauge interest in a 2012 bid for the Republican. Cohen said Monday the website had drawn more than 500,000 supporters.

Hey, Donald, if this guy isn’t doing this on your behalf, he hijacked your jet.

Donald Trump’s quadrennial flirtations with the presidency go back further than I thought; I came across this chart in the long-departed Spy magazine, in their February 1988 issue:

The font is small, but Trump is listed as the 8th-most-likely Republican presidential candidate, at 100 to 1 odds, described as “The last (place) tycoon” and credited with “showing fund-raising strength” but also “personality questions.”

A lot has changed in 22 years or so, huh?

Tags: Donald Trump

When Trump Met Rush



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It was not until I read Rush’s interview with Donald Trump that I realized that this isn’t just a giant publicity stunt to sell a new line of ties:

RUSH: Why are you thinking about running for president? I’ve talked to you over the years. I’ve listened to you on various places in the media for years. You sound different this time. You sound really ticked off. China, the economic direction of the country, you sound like it’s really bothering you now more than just something to say.

TRUMP: Well, you’re right about that, Rush. I’ve seen what’s happened to this country. We’re no longer respected. You have places like China, and I know the Chinese, I do business with the Chinese. I’ve made a lot of money off the Chinese, believe me. I had a partnership with Chinese people. It wasn’t fun, and I made a lot of money. I came out very, very strong.

RUSH: So why are you ripping ‘em now?

TRUMP: Because I watch them and I see what they’re doing to the country, and I understand China, and I understand the Chinese mind. I understand where they’re coming from. They are not our friend and when I sit down — I sold an apartment recently for $33 million from a very nice couple from China. Thirty-three million dollars for the apartment, I’m very happy about it, but I sit down with people and I talk to ‘em, from China, and really much more so prior to when I thought I may be running for president, because they’re not stupid people. They’re very smart people. They told me very, very distinctly that they cannot believe how stupid our representatives are in the United States. They cannot believe that they can continue to take all our jobs — you know, through the manipulation of the currency, of their currency, they make it almost impossible for our great companies to compete and —

It’s a long interview, but I can imagine this being an applause line on the stump; American audiences are usually receptive to the idea that the rest of the world has been free riders on the backs of our military spending . . .

TRUMP: Rush, we’re not only talking about this one country. You look at South Korea, what they did. We signed a trade pact that nobody in their right mind would have signed. And it was so bad, and yet they didn’t want to sign it. Now, two months ago when bombs started getting lobbed over by North Korea and we send this incredible aircraft carrier, the George Washington and 17 destroyers heading right to North Korea, all of a sudden they sign and they announce that they are friends of our country. It’s a lot of crap. They make billions of dollars of, let’s call it profit, off the United States, Rush, billions of dollars. Why aren’t they paying for protection? We protect South Korea, and I know the Koreans very well. I had a partnership with the Koreans that was a fantastic partnership. I built Trump World Tower with Daewoo, which was a Korean company, and I did very well and they did very well. So I understand the people. And, by the way, I don’t dislike the Chinese people, I don’t dislike the Korean people, because if I were them I’d be doing the same thing. If our leaders are so stupid that they allow what’s happening — we can’t have jobs created, Rush, in this country if China is making all of our products.

Although I shouldn’t be surprised, Trump did get a key fact wrong:

TRUMP: Yeah, and we’ll be up there pretty soon because there’s nobody to call OPEC. You know, if it weren’t for us — why do we have troops in Saudi Arabia? We have troops in Saudi Arabia, can you imagine they’re not paying us with the money they’re making. They’re making more money than any country has made in the history of the world, legitimately making that kind of money. They form OPEC, they have 12 men, in this case all men, they sit around the table, any time there’s a minor incident in the world they raise the price of oil because, you know, they figure, well, nobody’s gonna call. When oil goes over $40 a barrel it’s almost impossible for our country to do well.

The U.S. has not had a significant military presence in Saudi Arabia since 2003; our troops exited via Iraq. For several years thereafter, about 500 personnel from the 64th Air Expeditionary Group were stationed at Eskan Village in Saudi Arabia.

Tags: Donald Trump , Rush Limbaugh

Donald Trump, Milking His Fight With Ron Paul Another Day



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Who is advising Donald Trump that the way to win the GOP nomination in 2012 is to get into back-and-forths with Ron Paul about his electability?

CNN:

 

During a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference Friday, Trump said the Texas Republican was an “unelectable” candidate for president. In an interview on CNN’s “American Morning” Monday, Paul countered that he has won 11 elections.

“I don’t know how many elections he’s (Trump) won so far himself,” Paul said.

Monday on CNN Trump countered that he’s never won an election because he has never run.

“But I’ve employed thousands and thousands of people,” Trump said. “I’ve made billions of dollars, which if I ever decided to run, which is a possibility frankly, I would make lots of money for the American people.”

… If Trump were to win the election in 2012, he said his first action would be imposing a 25 percent tax on Chinese products to make sure the Chinese government is “treating us fairly.”

“I’ve never been elected because I’ve never run in an election and maybe I wouldn’t do well and maybe I would,” Trump said. “But I can tell you one thing, if I ever did get elected this country would be respected again.”

Dear Ron Paul fans: We’ve had our differences in the past. But in the battle against Donald Trump, I stand with you.

Paul may have a Himalaya-like uphill climb in any 2012 bid, but the guy who’s been doing reality shows with Rod Blagojevich and Oreo commercials with the Manning brothers really isn’t the guy to be playing the ‘who’s more electable’ card.

Tags: Donald Trump , Ron Paul

Roger Stone Talks Up Donald Trump



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One of the folks who are reportedly helping fan the flames of the Donald Trump for President talk is longtime GOP consultant Roger Stone. His latest assessment can be found here:

The Networks have created TWO contests — one in 2011 and another in 2012. This takes national focus off current government efforts to solve the nations problems. It’s a disservice to the voters and will de-value the early state caucuses and primaries. Putting that aside, the process must be played as it is — and the new schedule could be a lay-up for a media savvy candidate like Donald J. Trump.

No one understands the power of television like Trump. Millions tune in the Apprentice to see the most successful and best known businessman in America. Trump’s sharp criticism of trade policy with China, OPEC and the war in Afghanistan could find a large, even commanding segment in the GOP. Trump showed at the CPAC gathering that his star quality plus his pro-gun, pro-life views combined with his pro-business stance can be a winner in the GOP. Trump literally has nothing to lose — and everything to gain by entering the 2011 debates. While Trump says he will decide if he is running by June, I would advise him to wait until the Florida GOP straw-poll in October to decide. After all, Trump doesn’t require time to build his name ID . . .

There can be little doubt that more straw-poll and debates will be sprinkled in. What this does is create a faux race for nomination which precede the real legal nomination. It takes public interest out of the real nomination process by winnowing out losers in 2011 without ever counting real votes. Three boring debate performances and your money and credibility will dry up. A dark horse like Trump could run the tables in the debates and lead in the polls by years end, making a late formal entry. News events will still dominate the days before the Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina and Florida primaries.

The danger of entering too soon and wearing out one’s welcome is a danger for all of the aspiring candidates, really.

I articulated a bit of my disbelief about Trump in today’s Morning Jolt — and really, folks, if you haven’t subscribed, you leave me no choice but to nag you for the rest of eternity.

Since his fame of the 1980s, Donald Trump has proven an almost unparallelled self-promoter. His name, synonymous with gargantuan, hyped, and expensive endeavors, has been plastered on casinos and towers and books and ties and board games, popping up in Oreo commericals, cameos in movies and television shows, in the worlds of boxing and professional wrestling; king of the tabloid pages, a larger-than-life personality who has lingered on the national stage so long he’s been impersonated by Phil Hartman and Darrell Hammond on Saturday Night Live. He licenses his name to real-estate properties that he doesn’t actually own.

In light of his history, the idea of Trump attempting to seriously make a run for president is . . . hard to get one’s head around.

If there is a behavior and style that is “presidential,” Donald Trump isn’t it.

Picture “the President.” Hopefully, you think of dignity. A certain formality that fits the decorum of the office. An appreciation of the history and men, some great and some greatly flawed, who have filled that role before. Despite the large ego necessary to fuel the ambition to run for president, presidential style requires a bit of humility in the face of the awesome responsibilities and extraordinarily difficult, life-and-death decisions every commander-in-chief faces.

And then . . . there’s this:

Or this, which at least thankfully suggests that Trump can laugh at his own image:

Tags: Donald Trump

At CPAC, ‘The Donald’ Should Refer to Rumsfeld



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From the final Morning Jolt of the week:

I Will Not Vote for a Short-Fingered Vulgarian

Is this Donald Trump for president stuff serious? Really? We’re sure this isn’t the latest version of the near-quadrennial publicity stunt (20082000)?

Is it possible this is all stage-setting for some new line of ties coming out? A new book? Reality show? A new board game?

The guy whose dalliances with Marla Maples were the stuff of New York Post headline dreams, who made a large chunk of his fortunes by building casinos and turned Atlantic City into the depressing, pawn-shop-strewn Gotham City it is today, and whose ostentatious taste would prompt Liberace to urge him to “tone it down a little” is going to run for the party of traditional values? The guy who lost money almost as fast as he made it and who once had a personal debt of $900 million is going to carry the banner for the party of fiscal responsibility?

At Michelle Malkin’s site, Doug Powers speculates, “This is a good indicator that he’s serious about throwing his hair, er, I mean hat . . . into the presidential ring. Trump has said in the past that he’ll announce his decision to run or not in June. I hope he runs just so we can see billboards like this: BARACK OBAMA: YOU’RE FIRED!”

At CPAC, Trump mocked Ron Paul, declaring that he can’t win the presidency. Allahpundit’s on the same page I am: “Amusing and certainly true, but as a heckler helpfully reminded him, that’s an awfully big stone to be throwing from a house that glassy . . . Joe Seehusen, Paul’s former deputy campaign manager, had one question for Trump: ‘What do you know about politics? I like Donald, but I think Donald gets carried away sometimes.’ He added there ‘was s certain preposterousness’ that Trump, who has never held public office, could criticize an 11-term congressman for not winning election. Why is Trump even at CPAC, you ask? Because GOProud invited him, ostensibly to ‘help support the conference.’ How it helps the conference to have a publicity whore show up to tout his vanity candidacy, I’m not sure. But give ‘em credit for knowing their audience: Apparently, The Donald brought down the house.”

President Trump? I think I might defect.

Still, if you want a contrary opinion, here’s Jen Cubachi: “I have to admit, after watching Piers Morgan’s interview with Donald Trump and listening to his interview with Laura Ingraham, I was impressed with Trump’s tenacity, wit, and knowledge on the issues. This past month, Trump has been on the forefront on China, their manipulation of currency, and OPEC’s manipulation of gas prices. He’s also articulated that America is being run by idiots who are openly being used and mocked by other nations . . . In an interview with Laura Ingraham, Trump made the point several times that he is ‘very conservative’ and was quick to correct Laura on his opinion about life. Why so quick on that topic, if he’s not running?”

Then again, maybe he’ll settle for his own Saturday Morning cartoon show, as Spy magazine imagined back in the late 80s (introduced by a very young Jerry Seinfeld).

Tags: Donald Trump

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