Donald Trump’s New Hampshire Adventure

BY Terence Burlij  April 27, 2011 at 9:15 AM EDT


Donald Trump (Larry Marano/Getty Images)

The Morning LineNew Hampshire will get its first look at Donald Trump as a potential presidential candidate when the real estate tycoon and reality TV star visits the Granite State Wednesday.

Trump reportedly has eight stops planned during his one-day visit, although the details have been closely guarded by his organization, citing security reasons.

John DiStaso of the New Hampshire Union Leader reports Trump will travel to Portsmouth by helicopter, landing around 9 a.m. EDT. He’s expected to hold a media availability after his arrival.

The owner of a gift shop in Portsmouth that sells New Hampshire-made products has confirmed to various media outlets that Trump is scheduled to visit his store shortly after 12 p.m. EDT Wednesday.

DiStaso also reports Trump will address a small New Hampshire GOP fund-raiser and meet with the organization’s chairman, Jack Kimball.

Trump’s visit comes as he has surged in recent polls. A Gallup survey released last week had him tied with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Hucakbee for first at 16 percent.

A recent USA Today-Gallup survey however found that 63 percent of Americans, including 46 percent of Republicans, would not vote for Trump for president.

Trump’s flirtation with a potential bid for the Republican nomination has gotten him plenty of media attention, which he has used to express doubts about President Obama’s birthplace and question whether the president was qualified to be accepted to the Ivy League schools he attended.

If Trump continues to give off signs he is serious about running, he also will have to deal with the added scrutiny that comes with it.

Look no further than Wednesday’s report from Dan Eggen and T.W. Farnam in the Washington Post, which shows that Trump’s history of political contributions favors Democratic candidates and organizations.

“The real estate mogul and “Celebrity Apprentice” host has made more than $1.3 million in donations over the years to candidates nationwide, with 54 percent of the money going to Democrats, according to a Washington Post analysis of state and federal disclosure records.”

And this graph will surely catch the eye of Republican voters, and those who might be competing against Trump for the nomination:

“The Democratic recipients of Trump’s donations make up what looks like a Republican enemies list, including former senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), Rep. Charles B. Rangel (N.Y.), Sen. Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) and the late liberal lion Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.).”

BIG CHANGES

The Associated Press is reporting that CIA Director Leon Panetta will likely be named to replace Robert Gates as secretary of Defense, just one of several high-level national security staff changes expected to be announced as soon as Thursday.

Gen. David Petraeus, who currently leads the Ameican-led coalition forces in Afghanistan will be nominated to take Panetta’s spot at the intelligence agency.
The Washington Post provides some background on the moves:

Petraeus, who in Afghanistan has continued the close collaboration with the CIA that he began in Iraq, emerged last month as a contender for the CIA director’s job and indicated that he was interested. Marine Lt. Gen. John R. Allen, deputy of the U.S. Central Command, is likely to succeed Petraeus as commander of U.S., NATO and coalition forces in Afghanistan, officials said.

This year’s turnover will also include Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, whose second two-year term ends in September. But officials said that position is unlikely to be included in this week’s announcements.

Gates, who replaced Donald Rumsfeld at the Defense Department under President Bush, has long been expected to leave in 2011.

Panetta served as head of the Office of Management and Budget as well as chief of staff under President Clinton. Before that he represented California as a member of the House of Representatives.

We will have more on these big changes on the Rundown as well as the NewsHour’s broadcast.

BACKLASH BREWING?

Summer 2009 was a season of discontent for Democrats trying to sell a complicated health insurance reform act on often angry constituents — the result was made for TV news outbursts as voters and organized protesters confronted lawmakers over the bill.

Now that nearly every House Republican has voted to approve a budget plan that would transform Medicare into a subsidy, hints of a similar backlash is brewing at townhalls hosted by Republicans in several districts.

Democrats have criticized the plan, which also cuts taxes on the wealthy and changes Medicare into a block grant program, as one that would leave seniors on their own as the wealthy get a tax break. Republicans defend the plan as a necessary reform in order to prevent the nation from going bankrupt as the baby boomer generation enters retirement.

The New York Times describes the scene at freshmen Republican Rep. Daniel Webster’s event in Orlando:

An example of the response came Tuesday as Representative Daniel Webster, a freshman Republican from Florida, faced an unruly crowd at a packed town meeting in Orlando, where some people, apparently organized or encouraged by liberal groups, brandished signs saying “Hands Off Medicare” and demanded that he instead “tax the rich.”

Mr. Webster, shown in video from station WFTV, sought to defuse the situation by saying that any changes were years away and that current retirees would not see a difference. “Not one senior citizen is harmed by this budget,” he said, noting that his new granddaughter was “looking at a bankrupt country.”

Webster won his seat from liberal firebrand Alan Grayson in the 2010 midterms. The Orlando Sentinel reported that supporters of Webster also shouted at his detractors at the meeting.

The Times notes that another Republican freshman from Florida, Rep. Allen West, also faced an unruly crowd. And even the brains behind the budget, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, faced a tense crowd at a meeting in Kenosha, Wis.

“If you’re yelling, I just want to ask you to leave,” Ryan said, according to NBC affiliate WTMJ. “If you’re going to scream out like that, it’s just not polite to everyone. We’ve got media here. Let’s prove to them that Wisconsinites can be cordial with one another.”

We don’t know if Republican members will face the sort of high-profile, sustained chaos that defined the health care debate. But Democrats seem determined to try to make the Ryan budget vote as big an issue as possible for their Republican opponents.

LOSING HOPE

An increasing number of Americans see the budget deficit as a major problem that warrants immediate action, according to a new poll released by the Washington Post and the Pew Research Center. At the same time, survey respondents said they are less hopeful the issue will be addressed in a significant way in the next five years.

The Washington Post’s Jon Cohen and Peyton Craighill have the numbers:

Just 31 percent now expect sizable deficit reductions in the coming five years, a 6 percentage point slide from a December Pew poll. While hopes have slipped over the five months of budget debates and furious dealmaking, 81 percent of Americans now call the deficit a major problem requiring immediate remedy, an 11-point jump.

The Post-Pew survey squares with other recent polls that show the debt and deficit issues becoming of greater concern to the American people.

Of course, some of those polls also show the public disagreeing with a number of the more consequential remedies for addressing the country’s fiscal problems, such as reforming entitlements or across-the-board tax hikes.