By Roger Stone Donald Trump is a pop-culture phenomena. What other Manhattan real estate developer is known around the world? Where is the groundswell for Zeckendorf to run for President? How many are promoting the candidacy of Lefrak? Where is the Zuckerman movement ? Indeed Trump has promoted an over-the-top public persona over a 35 year period. The Apprentice has made that persona even bigger. He is the best known businessman in the world. Trump is a strong decisive leader, truly a giant in a field of pygmies. He has built one of the great fortunes in American history. He knows more about job-creation than any potential candidate mentioned. He would begin with high name ID and an intense following. I outlined why I thought he would be strong and why he should run recently for NY-1:
http://www.ny1.com/content/134556/ny1-online--gop-strategist-roger-stone-on--inside-city-hall--2-24-11 Although I worked for Trump for 20 years as a Washington lobbyist and was Chairman of his 2000 Presidential Exploratory, I do not currently represent Trump and I am not advising him on his contemplation of a Presidential bid, something I made clear and which was dutifully reported by Maggie Haberman of Politico when she interviewed me for that website last week. I do however understand Trump the man, his strengths, weaknesses, tactics and work habits having seen him up close for many years. I attended both his weddings. He attended mine. I went to both his parents funerals. I have great respect and affection for Trump the man. I also understand the Trump phenomena and those segments of the electorate that like him as well as those segments that hate him - having reviewed polling on Trump for 25 years. A billionaire, Trump certainly has the wealth to bypass public finance and fund his own campaign but when I said this to Politico Trump called the reporter to deny it, "Donald Trump Reins in Roger Stone" - said the headline, which is a joke. I can't be reined in. I don't work for Trump. It is the signature of the STONEzone to tell you exactly what I think and my observations are based on being at the table in nine national Presidential elections from Richard Nixon to Ronald Reagan to John McCain. Ask me about the 2000 Florida recount sometime. Presidential politics ain't beanbag and it's not for the inexperienced. Trump is serious this time based on his reaching out to examine public policy issues. He is pro-life which is still required to be nominated by the Republicans. I understand his opposition to Gay marriage (but don't agree with it). His opposition to equal rights for Gays is very disappointing, but then, I'm not advising him. In many ways Trump is a stronger General Election candidate than he is a candidate for the Republican nomination. Social Issues will play a roll in the nomination contest but not in the general election. The recent Newsweek poll showed him only trailing President Obama by 2 points with the President under 50%. The same poll showed Trump lagging in the back of the field in a match up for the GOP nomination. Trump can beat Obama but can he get nominated? The initial Iowa caucuses call for an intense effort of one-on-one campaigning on the ground. Voters expect to see you in their living rooms - and I don't mean on TV. A candidate must be prepared to spend weeks in the state pressing the flesh, rising at 5 am to meet those who rise at that hour to work on farms and spending the evenings at Coffee Klatches of 10 and 15 voters,. You can't fly in, speak at a high profile media event and fly out. New Hampshire voters also require your presence. The path to the presidency is littered with the bones of those like Rudy Giuliani who thought his star quality would see him through to victory in the Granite State. New Hampshire Voters want you at the kitchen table. It takes more than Boston TV commercials to win in the first primary State. If you aren't prepared to tramp around in the snow seeking votes for weeks on end, don't enter the New Hampshire primary. South Carolina is known for negativity and viciousness of it's primary. Trump can expect to be attacked for his companies bankruptcies, his divorces, his change of position on abortion, his past life as a playboy and his hundreds of thousands of dollars of contributions to liberal Democrats. War-hero John McCain can tell you how nasty the South Carolina Primary can get. Candidates from Gary Hart to John Edwards have experienced the scrutiny of the press corp in a Presidential contest. These aren't the editors at Forbes. The Donald can expect detailed scrutiny of his many successful business deals and partnerships including those real estate ventures where he was not in a controlling position. Trump's appraisal of the value of his various assets will be closely examined. Trying to tabulate his true net worth will become a cottage Industry with reporters. Will Trump run? Will he submit himself to the grueling schedule and the public scrutiny ? He has a great life. He loves real estate and doing deals. He has a great wife and family that he likes to spend time with. He is a scratch golfer who loves to play. He already has a bigger plane and a nicer house than the President of the United States. I do think he could save this country. I hope he runs.