Donald Trump's Surprise CPAC Speech: Is He Considering A 2012 Presidential Run?
That's the buzz about Donald Trump after his surprise appearance Thursday at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference. The billionaire real estate mogul and star of the reality television show "The Apprentice" stole the show in his address to the crowd on the conference's first day.
"Considering the shape the U.S. is in right now, we need a competitive person, a highly competent person, or we're going to have very serious problems, very soon, he said.
Trump sounded almost presidential in his speech, outlining his qualifications. Time reports: "Trump went on at length about his own greatness, quoting others, including Business Week, who had praised him.'Over the years, I have beaten many people and companies, and I have won many wars,' said Trump, whose companies have repeatedly filed for bankruptcy. This is the Trump pitch: He knows how to win. America is losing. He can make it win again."
In addition to highlighting his own accomplishment, Trump also displayed some conservative credentials to the audience, telling them he was pro-life, anti-gun control and against President Obama's health care plan. "I will fight to end Obamacare and replace it," he said.
"The Donald" was also critical of President Obama, saying "Our current president came out of nowhere... [He has] no track record... nothing to criticize," he said. "Nobody knew who the hell he was.”
Trump's CPAC speech was well received, until an audience member brought up Texas Congressman Ron Paul, a favorite at the conference who won last year's CPAC straw poll. The New York Times reports:
Mr. Trump got lots of loud applause. But that turned into loud and extended boos after an audience member yelled the name of Ron Paul, the Republican congressman from Texas and a potential 2012 presidential candidate.
“By the way, Ron Paul cannot get elected, I’m sorry,” he responded, prompting the negative response. “I like Ron Paul. I think he’s a good guy. But really he has just zero chance of getting elected.”
An audience member yelled out: “You have no chance either!”
Speculation over a possible Trump presidency began last October during an interview with Fox News. "I'm totally being serious because I can't stand what's happening to the country," he said. "I am being serious about it. I've been asked for years to do it. And I had no interest. This is the first time I am -- at least I'm considering it."
Trump also told ABC's George Stephanopoulus in November that he was thinking about running in 2012, saying at the time that he was "thinking about things." Trump said at the time that he likely wouldn't make a decision about running until June, a deadline he reiterated again on Thursday at CPAC.
Trump also said he would likely run as a Republican.
This isn't the first time Trump has considered running for president; he also considered bids in 1988 and 2000.