Donald Trump for president? Republican insiders are open to it.
Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee, and Sarah Palin are the presidential candidate favorites among adult Republicans, according to a nationwide CNN poll
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McCall said Trump "is saying on the national stage what other people won't talk about."Skip to next paragraph
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That includes holding forth on trade, China and oil dependency. But Trump's biggest buzz stems from his embrace of the claim that Obama wasn't born in the United States, and therefore is constitutionally barred from being president.
Documents, including Obama's birth certificate, show he was born in Hawaii in 1961.
Several Republican activists said they don't care much about Obama's birthplace, but they're tired of waiting for the more establishment-backed challengers to challenge the president often and fiercely. For some, Trump fills that void.
For his part, Trump declined Tuesday to back away from the questions he has raised about Obama's citizenship, saying in an interview broadcast on NBC television that it's a legitimate subject.
Trump also said he opposes increasing the nation's debt limit, even though experts have said that could cause the government to default on its debts. "I wouldn't raise it," he said. "You're going to have to make a (political) deal someplace. You might as well do it right now. I'd do it right now. I'd stop it right now."
Trump also accused Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, of being "too far out in front" on the deficit reduction issue, saying that Ryan's plan to curb mounting deficits would "tinker too much" with Medicare — the health care program for the elderly — and other senior citizen programs.
In New Hampshire, Republican activist Phyllis Woods of Dover said she was surprised by the commotion Trump is causing. "Whether Donald Trump is going to be taken as a serious candidate here is an open question," she said. What is certain, she said, is that "we're going to have a huge field."
Woods said she detects "a growing undercurrent of support" for Bachmann, a comment echoed by several Iowa and South Carolina activists. "She is a fresh face and a fresh voice," Woods said.
Bachmann seems to have eclipsed Palin as the most discussed, if sometimes gaffe-prone, provocateur among the ultraconservative tea party movement.
Democratic strategists and Obama supporters watch these developments with bewilderment, and a vague sense that they won't last. They say they can't predict who will be the nominee, but more traditional candidates such as Romney, Pawlenty or Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour seem more plausible than, say, Trump. Political insiders would not be stunned if Bachmann won the caucus in her native Iowa, and Gingrich could do well in places, including South Carolina.