Trump: America Needs a Winner for President - Like Me
WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump, the businessman and television personality -- and potential presidential contender -- injected some much-needed star power into the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington this afternoon, riling up the conservative crowd with a blunt, self-congratulatory speech that sometimes drew huge cheers and at times a loud chorus of boos.
Trump said that he is considering a presidential bid and will decide by June.
The reason he is considering a presidential bid, he said, is that "the United States has become a whipping post for the rest of the world" and "America today is missing quality leadership."
Trump wasn't afraid to venture that he could offer that type of leadership.
"I'm well acquainted with winning, and that's what this country needs," he said.
After a long morning of remarks from conservatives who received a warm but tepid response from the crowd, the conference goers packed the main convention hall, cheering loudly and snapping pictures, as Trump walked in to the theme song of his reality television show "The Apprentice."
"I have fairly but intelligently earned many billions of dollars," Trump said, noting that his record of success served as "both a scorecard and acknowledgment of my abilities."
He drew big cheers from the audience by stating that he is pro-life, against gun control, will "fight to end Obamacare and replace it," and will not raise taxes. Furthermore, he said to more cheers, he would stop the country from "taking in hundreds of billions of dollars from other countries that are screwing us."Trump elicited some boos from the largely libertarian crowd when he declared that Rep. Ron Paul "cannot get elected" - creating a commotion that preceded even more conflict between Paul supporters and the Bush administration.
(Watch Trump's comments on Paul at left)
What Republicans and Americans need, he said, is someone who knows something about success.
"Most successful people don't want to be scrutinized or abused, and that's what happens" in the political process, he said. "This is why we don't have the kind of people that we should have running for office."
"This is the kind of person the country needs, and we need it now."
Trump said that "nobody knew who the hell he was" when Barack Obama ran for president. By comparison, he boasted of his own celebrity status.
"Businessweek magazine said in a vote of its readers that Donal Trump was the world's most competitive businessperson," he said. "Steve Forbes stated that I was one of the greatest entreprenuers in the history of free trade."
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Stephanie Condon is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here.
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