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Trump Indicates He's Serious About 2012 Run

Trump Indicates He's Serious About 2012 Run

By Scott Conroy - February 10, 2011

Business magnate and television personality Donald Trump told a fervent -- albeit heavily divided -- CPAC crowd on Thursday that he would decide by June whether he would run for president.

As he took the stage in front of a packed house in the main ballroom at the annual conference attended by conservative activists, someone in the crowd shouted, "You're hired!" -- a variation on Trump's catch phrase from his reality television show, "The Apprentice."

Trump's speech was heavy on his characteristic bombast. He boasted that he had made billions of dollars and had attended the best business school in the country and said that he had come out "very, very victoriously" in the many battles he had waged in his life.

"Steve Forbes stated that I was one of the greatest entrepreneurs in the history of free trade," Trump said.

Trump was eager to emphasize that he was serious about his presidential ambitions, telling the crowd that he would prefer to remain in the business world but did not yet see another suitable candidate rising to the challenges facing the country.

"The United States has become a whipping post for the rest of the world," Trump said. "The world is treating us without respect. They are not treating us properly. America today is missing quality leadership, and foreign countries are quickly realizing this."

Trump laced his speech with heavy criticisms of President Obama and declared himself to be pro-life, against gun control and an opponent of the health care reform law. He said that Obama "came out of nowhere" and seemed to question the president's documented personal history, claiming that people who went to school with Obama "never saw him. They don't even know who he is."

On foreign policy, Trump sounded particularly skeptical of the intentions of China and the OPEC nations and said that if he had "an admiral and a couple good ships" to deal with Somali pirates, he would "blast them out of the water so fast."

Trump's speech was interrupted at least twice by some of the legions of supporters of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), who form a sizable presence at CPAC.

"By the way, Ron Paul cannot get elected, I'm sorry," Trump said after the second eruption, drawing a few shouts of "Fascist!" from the crowd.

Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at sconroy@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

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