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 TIME CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics with Congressional Quarterly

Donald Trump

He's the dream, in supersize

By Margaret Carlson

TIME magazine

September 20, 1999
Web posted at: 3:49 p.m. EDT (1949 GMT)

Political candidates spend millions of dollars on consultants who can sand off the rough edges, buff the family values and come up with a pretested set of nostrums designed to calm the party activists in Iowa and New Hampshire. Follow the rules of the road--never brag, listen to your handlers, hope any controversial thing you ever wrote was pre-database, drop the idea that honesty is the best policy--and you might succeed. By these standards, Donald Trump will be the worst candidate in modern history. As the man once responsible for Georgia beauty Marla Maples' famous tabloid headline, BEST SEX I EVER HAD, Trump, who has a new book out in January, is used to breaking all the rules.

He gloats. He vamps. He prefers the game to the goal. Darwin is his muse: the Weak must fail. Every thought he has he blurts out. The theme of his book is that he embodies the American Dream--indeed he is the American dream--and he never lets go of that idea. "You can see a long way from the Trump Tower. I'm having fun making great deals, and I'm living the American Dream." When he's not having fun, he's a wall of worry that the American Dream could turn into a nightmare. "View [the American Dream] another way--toward the future--and I can see thunder and lightning. And I'm not the only one." What's it going to take to save the Dream? He's glad you asked. The answer is, A straight shooter. "Straight shooters are going to rule tomorrow... I'm going to shoot straight about foreign threats and I'm going to talk plain about the economy and social issues. My bottom line is: If a policy threatens the Dream, we need to go after it."

Back from the brink of bankruptcy, Trump speaks as the world's most successful real estate developer who can save the economy when it crashes and protect us from terrorism. But, alas, in some places the potential candidate goes all focus-groupy. He promises his version of a chicken in every pot: "I'm going to do everything I can to see that regular Americans can fly as high as their wings will take them." That would be a seductive idea if we could all soar as high as the Donald, who can hop on his private jet and deplane in Palm Beach for his Mar-a-Lago estate. Let's go along for the ride anyway. It'll be nice and bumpy.

--By Margaret Carlson


Cover Date: September 27, 1999

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