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Is Forbes On An Ego Trip?

On the stump, Steve Forbes looks and sounds like a real contender, reports CBS News Correspondent Bill Whitaker.

"One thing is clear: Now is the time to tear down this tax code," says the Republican presidential candidate.

Though he has plans for tax cuts and school choice, there's still that nagging perception that this heir to the Forbes magazine fortune is on the world's most expensive ego trip. He's already spent about $20 million, almost all of it his own money, matching all-time fund-raising champ George W. Bush, dollar for dollar. And he's prepared to spend more.

"I'm willing to spend what's necessary to get my message across to the American people," Forbes says.

What's it bought him? Well, with the Republican field shrinking, his crowds actually are growing, yet his poll numbers remain single digits, way behind Bush and John McCain. Forbes hopes to corner conservative primary voters, surprising his main target, Bush, and the skeptics.

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When asked if he'd be in the race if he didn't have a fortune, Forbes said: "Well again, I think my own resources level the playing field against an establishment that wanted to turn this contest into a coronation."

Critics charge all his money is polluting the field instead.
"It's forcing everybody else, like George Bush, to raise even larger amounts of money and to opt out completely from the presidential public financing system," said Scott Harshbarger, the president of Common Cause.

Though political odds makers rate his chances of winning his party's nomination hopeless to a long shot, the Forbes campaign is running against the odds.

"It's for real because the message is for real," Forbes says.

If everybody knows he doesn't have a chance of becoming president, nobody it seems, has told Steve Forbes.

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