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Trump Flies Into Cyberspace

New York developer Donald Trump has launched a campaign Web site run by Gov. Jesse Ventura's Web master in another sign of their allegiance and Trump's presidential intentions.

"Donald J. Trump may be the experienced, decisive can-do businessman America needs as president in the new millennium," the site reads.

At the site, www.donaldjtrump2000.com, visitors can read about Trump's plan to eliminate the national debt or his background, make a donation or volunteer.

Roger Stone, head of Trump's presidential exploratory committee, said the site "very definitely" was a sign that the developer would enter the race for the Reform Party presidential nomination.

Phil Madsen, the creative force behind Ventura's Web site, said his goal is to develop "E-team Trump," an online community. He performed a similar feat for Ventura, mobilizing 8,000 subscribers in the final days of the 1998 gubernatorial campaign.

Stone said, "The single most important thing we'd like to do with our Web site is provide information to the American people on Trump's national debt reduction plan."

Trump also will be trying to decide whether to run.

"One of the things that will help him make that decision is to see how many Americans register their support," Stone said.

If Trump runs, he will be competing against experienced and established backers of former Republican Pat Buchanan, who is now seeking the Reform Party nomination.

"Trump is not running as a Democrat or Republican so we're going to have to create an organization out of nothing," Madsen said.

If he runs, Trump will need to petition for ballot access in the 29 states and Washington, D.C., where the party isn't automatically listed on ballots.

The Web site and the hiring of Madsen are signs that Trump is putting together an organization. They also are indicators of the closeness of Trump and Ventura, and the coolness to Buchanan in the Ventura faction of the Reform Party.

"Given the choices between Pat Buchanan and Donald Trump, I'll take Trump in a heartbeat," Madsen said.

Madsen said he informed Ventura of his decision to work for Trump and got his OK. He does not, however, consult with the governor, he said.

"I am not a conduit for Governor Ventura to get to Trump," Madsen said.

Stone also is considering hiring Ventura's 1998 campaign manager, Doug Friedline, possibly as a national political director. Friedline said he's interested.

"I think Mr. Trump is starting to become a serious candidate. Thirty days ago I don't think he was a serious candidate," Friedline said.

Stone said Trump found Ventura's aides a good fit.

"In many ways Trump and Ventura are very similar," Stone said. "They are larger-than-life characters from outside of politics. They are both controversial. They are both outspoken. In taking on the establishe political order, they are taking on long odds."

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