Whether Donald Trump actually runs for president remains an open question, but the New York tycoon and reality show host certainly is milking the speculation for all its worth. Now he is miffed with Sen. Lamar Alexander for having the temerity to say that Trump "has absolutely no chance of winning" a White House race.
Alexander, who ran for president in 1996 and 2000, told CNN
that Trump is "famous for being famous." Alexander himself is at least semi-famous for being the former secretary of education and president of the University of Tennessee.
Trump, who flirted with presidential politics in the past but got cold feet, said he didn't know Alexander personally and hasn't heard much about him -- "perhaps because of a certain ineffectiveness." In any event, he said the Tennessee Republican had simply stolen his line about Rep. Ron Paul -- Trump recently told conservatives that Paul no chance of winning
in 2012. Alexander, Trump said, should "stop trying to get free publicity on the back of Donald Trump."
Free publicity? That's Trump's forte. Endless speculation about his possible entry into the 2012 Republican race certainly qualifies. Trump, a billionaire who has never held any elective office, says he will not decide until June.
Roger Stone, a friend of The Donald's -- not an adviser in 2011 but head of Trump's 2000 White House exploratory effort -- insists Trump "is serious this time" and says he's a "strong decisive leader -- truly a giant in a field of pygmies."
But Stone, an adviser to candidates and presidents ranging back to Richard Nixon, says he is not certain whether the famed dealmaker will take The Plunge. In his newsletter, the StoneZone, he questions whether Trump will "submit himself to the grueling schedule and the public scrutiny" of a national campaign.
"I do think he could save this country," Stone says. "I hope he runs."
Folo Tom Diemer on Twitter http://twitter.com/tomdiemer