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Analysis: Donald Trump enlivens a sleepy campaign season

May 26, 2012|By Mark Z. Barabak
  • Donald Trump attends the "Celebrity Apprentice" Live Finale at American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
Donald Trump attends the "Celebrity Apprentice" Live Finale… (Brad Barket/Getty Images )

Every presidential campaign has its sideshows, diversions that fill the dead time between primaries, conventions and other meaningful events. Like nature, the political press corps abhors a vacuum.

Rick Santorum’s kinda, sorta endorsement of Mitt Romney ended the speculation over when and whether he would embrace his old nemesis, which had lasted a few fun weeks. The vice presidential handicapping — or “veepstakes,” as some insist on calling it — continues to run rampant, unchecked by reason or the utter uninterest of voters more focused on say, picking up charcoal for the long weekend than whether Bobby Jindal ‘s stock has risen or fallen.

But even that starts to get old.

So who better to enliven this dull period than Donald J. Trump, developer, financier, entrepreneur, raconteur, television luminary, men’s clothing impresario, would-be presidential candidate, Romney surrogate – the list goes on – and a man who could teach P.T. Barnum a thing or two about self-promotion.

The Romney campaign announced this week that the GOP nominee-to-be will appear next week in Las Vegas alongside Trump and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, another erstwhile campaign foe. (Presumably, the event will last longer and involve more Romney-Trump interaction than the last time the two appeared at Trump's hotel overlooking the Strip, an endorsement session most notable for its brevity and sense that Ann Romney would be ill at any moment.)

In addition, the Romney campaign is raffling a chance for dinner in New York with Trump and the former Massachusetts governor, a stay at Trump’s high-rise Manhattan hotel and -- best of all? — a tour of the “Celebrity Apprentice” boardroom.

Then, just as surely as day follows night and Trump follows an outstretched microphone, controversy arose.

In an interview with the Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove, Trump resurrected the crazy-talk of President Obama being African and not an American citizen, ergo ineligible to be president.

“A book publisher came out three days ago and said that in his written synopsis of his book, (Obama) said he was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia,” Trump said. “His mother never spent a day in the hospital.” 

Democrats were only too happy to jump on this latest iteration of inanity, blasting out emails quoting “Romney’s New BFF” and “Most Important Surrogate.” (The latter referencing a statement by a Trump aide, just as self-effacing as his boss, who told ABC that Trump has been Romney's "single most significant surrogate.”)

None of this will matter a whit by the time voters do their duty in November.

But it offers an interesting contrast with the blink-and-it’s-over kerfuffle that surrounded the resurfacing last week of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

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