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Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: Donald Trump

Donald Trump has a gun permit and 12 more things you may (or may not) want to know

Trump Donald Trump, the real estate tycoon who may or may not be running for president, was interviewed by Rolling Stone magazine recently and revealed so much that it's probably just easier to list the discoveries than to go into great detail about them.

1. Trump carries a Winged Foot Golf Club membership card and a gun permit at all times in his wallet.

2. He claims to have the No. 1-selling tie in the country, which can be purchased at Macy's.

3. The billionaire usually just wears "the undies," as he calls them, to bed instead of pajamas.

4. His famous coif is washed with Head and Shoulders.

5. He doesn't dry his hair, he lets it dry itself.

6. He doesn't consider his hair style a comb-over, instead it's "sort of a little bit forward and back."

7. He has a Bible near his bed.

8. He claims he has never smoked a "joint" or consumed a cup of coffee.

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Osama bin Laden's death photos will be viewed by select members of Congress


Osama bin Laden's
final photographs that President Obama originally refused to release will soon be viewable by certain members of Congress.

A government official told CNN on Tuesday that members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee, and the equivalent committees in the House, will be granted the opportunity to view the photos taken of Bin Laden soon after he was shot and killed by the SEALs.

In an interview that aired Sunday, Obama explained on CBS why he didn't want to release the gory photos of the fallen terrorist leader.

"We don't trot out this stuff as trophies," the president told CBS' Steve Kroft on "60 Minutes." "The fact of the matter is, this was somebody who was deserving of the justice that he received. And I think Americans and people around the world are glad that he is gone. But we don't need to spike the football," Obama said.

Still, there has been a clamor by some to see the photographs: Some do want the football spiked, and others simply want closure. Bin Laden's son, Omar, was one of those who wanted proof that his father was dead, and Monday he requested to see either photos or video of his dead father. In the meantime, he said he and his family will go on believing that his father wasn't shot, killed and buried at sea.

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Finally, some good news for Obama: Donald Trump will not be announcing his presidential bid Sunday

Donald Trump talking as usual 5-5-11What a relief for President Obama and his staggering political fortunes!

Donald Trump, the shy, retiring developer who forced the 44th president to finally release his long-form Hawaii birth certificate after nearly four years of stonewalling other less wealthy birthers, will not be announcing his political candidacy on the season finale of "The Celebrity Apprentice."

Does this mean the finale of Trump's trumped-up presidential candidacy?.

Who knows?

Who cares?

A while back, the Queens native who would be commander-in-chief let it slip that: "I am thinking of saying on the live finale of The Apprentice on May 22 that in a few days I will be making an announcement about my decision.”

Millions of frustrated Americans, who regularly talk back at their television screens in a plaintive attempt to be heard among the special interests, got very excited.

That's because with the current crowd of pols reciting their stale lines on Washington's national political stage, Elmer Fudd would look fresh and intriguing as a candidate.

Blah-blah-blah delighted to be here. Blah-blah-blah spending. Blah-blah-blah middle ....

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Half of Republicans polled still don't believe Obama was born in USA

President Barack Obama laughs in the White House briefing room in Washington, Wednesday, April 27, 2011, as he speaks to reporters about the controversy over his birth certificate and true nationality.

More than a week after the White House unearthed President Obama's original, long-form, Hawaii birth certificate, only 48% of Republicans polled said they believe he was born in the United States.

In a poll conducted by Public Policy Polling from May 5-8 of 610 Americans who usually support Republicans in primaries, 34% said they did not believe Obama was born in the U.S. while 18% said they still aren't sure.

Of those surveyed, 77% considered themselves either somewhat or very conservative while only 7% identified themselves as either somewhat or very liberal.

Despite the majority of those polled agreeing with other birthers, Donald Trump, who most loudly demanded that the president release his birth certificate, fell significantly in the PPP poll.

The billionaire last month led other would-be GOP presidential hopefuls with 26% support from those surveyed, but this month Trump slid below former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (19%), former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (18%), former Speaker Newt Gingrich (13%), and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (12%), and is now tied with Texas Congressman Ron Paul with 8%.

"As Trump got more and more exposure over the last month, Republicans didn't just decide they weren't interested in having him as their nominee, they also decided they flat don't like him," PPP wrote in their blog post titled "Trump collapses."

"Only 34% of GOP voters now have a favorable opinion of Trump, to 53% who view him in a negative light," the North Carolina pollsters blogged.


Obama birth certificate: Donald Trump takes credit

Obama on his birth certificate: 'We do not have time for this kind of silliness'

Obama birth certificate released by the president: What's really behind his inevitable decision

-- Tony Pierce

Photo: President Barack Obama laughs in the White House briefing room on Wednesday as he speaks to reporters about his birth certificate. Credit: J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

Donald Trump says he isn't a racist because a black man won 'The Apprentice' once

Donald Trump saying hello to rapper Snoop Dogg at a Comedy Central Roast

Donald Trump, who for a while deftly dazzled the press while demanding to see President Obama's birth certificate, is struggling to deny the unfortunate and impossible question: "Are you a racist?"

On Monday morning, the boisterous billionaire defended himself on "Fox & Friends" by saying that he couldn't be a racist because six years ago Randal Pinkett, an African American, won the honor of being Trump's apprentice on the NBC show.

"I am the least racist person there is," Trump said. "And I think most people who know me would tell you that. I am the least racist; I’ve had great relationships."

The real estate mogul continued: "In fact, Randal Pinkett won, as you know, on 'The Apprentice' a little while ago, a couple of years ago," he said. "And Randal’s been outstanding in every way. So I am the least racist person."

Pinkett has indeed been outstanding. His five degrees from Oxford, MIT and Rutgers, along with his victory on Trump's show, helped his success with BCT Partners, a multimillion-dollar New Jersey corporation that he helped found 15 years ago and continues to run today as its chairman and CEO.

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Gas prices could fall by 50 cents this summer; Democrats try to end Big Oil's tax breaks

Gas prices in San Francisco

Gas prices are not just the bane of consumers, who feel the pain at the pump, but also of politicians, who may get punched out at the polls if they are seen as being part of the problem.

Donald Trump, once he saw that banging the birther drum could only last so long, brazenly promised that if he were president and the United States was involved in foreign wars with oil-rich countries, he would "take" their oil after the conflict ended and the U.S. had won.

The Republican billionaire feels so strongly about this that if you disagree with him, even if you regularly appear on the GOP-friendly "O'Reilly Factor," Trump will call you a sad fool.

Although such made-for-TV bickering may be entertaining, Fred Rozell, the retail-pricing director at the Oil Price Information Service predicts that gas prices, which that typically balloon in the spring and fall in the summer, will drop by approximately 50 cents in the coming months.

Gas station owners, Rozell told the Associated Press, were caught on the wrong end of the dipstick recently as wholesale oil prices rose faster than they could adjust their retail prices. That trend will reverse this summer, Rozell predicted.

"So station owners will be watching each other this summer," Rozell said. "When one guy drops, so will the other."

A 50-cent drop in gas prices is estimated to save U.S. motorists about $189 million a day.

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Donald Trump has read a lot of books on China: 'I understand the Chinese mind'

Trump Donald Trump recently reeled off an impressive list of Chinese books that he has read over the years that has helped him understand the nation and people that he does business with.

"I've read hundreds of books about China over the decades," Trump told Xinhua, the official news agency of the People's Republic of China.

"I know the Chinese. I've made a lot of money with the Chinese. I understand the Chinese mind," said the billionaire, who has continually stated that if he were president he would levy a 25% tax on Chinese imports.

Asked to name any of his favorite tomes on China, Trump reportedly listed the following 20 books right off the top of his head.

1. "The Party" by Richard McGregor
2. "On China" by Henry Kissinger
3. "Mao: The Untold Story" by Jung Chang
4. "Tide Players" by Jianying Zha
5. "One Billion Customers" by James McGregor
6. "The Coming China Wars" by Peter W. Navarro
7. "The Beijing Consensus" by Stefan Halper
8. "China CEO" by Juan Antonio Fernandez and Laurie Underwood
9. "Poorly Made in China" by Paul Midler
10. "CHINA: Portrait of a People" by Tom Carter
11. "The Man Who Loved China" by Simon Winchester
12. "China Shakes the World" by James Kynge
13. "Mr. China" by Tim Clissold
14. "Country Driving" by Peter Hessler
15. "The Dragon's Gift" by Deborah Brautigam
16. "Factory Girls" by Leslie T. Chang
17. "The Heavenly Man" by Brother Yun
18. "1421" by Gavin Menzies
19. "Seven Years in Tibet" by Heinrich Harrer
20. "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" by Amy Chua

That's quite a difference from when Katie Couric asked Sarah Palin in 2008 what magazines and newspapers she reads:

Couric: And when it comes to establishing your world view, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?

Palin: I’ve read most of them, again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media.

Couric: What, specifically?

Palin: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me all these years.

Couric: Can you name a few?

Palin: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news, too. Alaska isn’t a foreign country, where it’s kind of suggested, “Wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C., may be thinking when you live up there in Alaska?” Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.

File this away if Trump and Palin ever square off in a debate.

-- Tony Pierce

Photo: Donald Trump and his wife Melania Knauss-Trump attend the "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty" Costume Institute Gala at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art on Monday. Credit: Larry Busacca / Getty Images

With Osama bin Laden dead, Obama's job approval will jump this much (for this long)

Obama and Staff Watch the deadly osama bin laden raid live on a SEALcam 5-1-11 A secret document was obscured by white house before release

Americans do not like losing. They also don't like not winning, those seemingly stalemated situations that look and feel murky.

Above most everything else, Americans like winning. 

President Obama's community helpfulness in places like Libya, now enroute to awkward quagmire status because Kadafi hasn't lasted 42 years by accident, was dragging Obama down in the polls to near Jimmy Carter numbers just as today's Democrat launched his 2012 fundraising. Obama's tardy explanation for the Libya war produced no polling bounce for him.

The lame job situation. And weak recovery. And the deficit. And sagging consumer confidence. And his own stumbles. And the endless Afghan war weren't helping either.

So, not that any such thing would ever cross a president's mind, but how better to improve the political situation at home than enjoy a national security success abroad?

Kill a bad guy overseas and watch the deadly real reality show on live video via SEALcam in the White House (see photo above) Sunday afternoon. Then call a dramatic presidential address late on a Sunday evening with the side benefit of disrupting the NBC show of that annoying Donald Trump. Osama bin Laden now deceased on FBI 10 most wanted list 5-2-11

The intentional death of al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden early Monday morning Pakistan time at the hands of Navy SEALs who don't shoot to wound touched a national nerve of retribution and celebration.

Yes, a helicopter went down, as it did during Carter's unsuccessful attempt to rescue U.S. hostages in Iran. But this president's orders succeeded.

President Obama actually could have whacked Osama back in March without risking American lives simply by ordering a bombing run or two over the Osama compound in Abbotabad.

But that would have vaporized anybody inside or nearby and not produced an identifiable body to snuff future Elvis is alive stories.

Thirty hours later Osama's body is reportedly sleeping with the fishes somewhere. But still no photo or positive ID proof released, already giving rise to online 'deather' conspiracies. However, it's official if the FBI changes Osama's status on its Top Ten list from "Wanted" to "Deceased."

Here's another certainty: President Obama is about to experience a substantial jump in his job approval, at least on national security.

The very smart folks over at Public Opinion Strategies have been studying presidential popularity bumps for a very long time. Their research goes back to President Roosevelt's counterintuitive bump in approval after the humiliating Pearl Harbor disaster.

And they can now predict that Obama is likely to experience a 13-point bounce in approval. That would get the guy up from the low 40s to back above the symbolic 50% approval level.

And Stephen Kinney and his crew can also predict that Obama's bump in approval will last about 22 weeks.

That's roughly until the first week of October when, the Chicago crowd desperately hopes, the sagged economy will be unsagging sufficiently to deny feuding Republicans a palpable issue for their primary/caucus contests that will dominate political news come next winter.

In terms of duration Obama's bump would be on the lower end of POTUS approval jumps, about the same as John F. Kennedy's 12 point jump after the Cuban missile crisis but not as good as George W. Bush's 15 point jump after capturing the also departed Saddam Hussein.

Kennedy's bump lasted a good long 40 weeks. Bush's Saddam bounce endured only seven weeks, but the 43rd president's bounce after his handling of the 9/11 attacks lasted two years.


Yes, SEALs were in on the raid, but aides hail Obama's office bravery

What if the dead guy wasn't really Osama bin Laden?

Rush Limbaugh on Osama bin Laden's death: 'Thank God for President Obama'

Donald Trump praises Obama on Osama bin Laden's death

The death of Osama bin Laden: Statements by 2 presidents who hunted him

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Pete Souza / White House (Obama and staff watch live video of the deadly Osama bin Laden raid Sunday afternoon in the White House. Editor's Note: Before release the White House digitally obscured a secret document in front of Clinton);

Days after calling him stupid, Donald Trump praises Obama on Osama bin Laden's death

the Donald Trump White House

Donald Trump
on Monday praised President Obama for the leadership that took out Osama bin Laden, and he advised Americans to honor the victims of the 9/11 attacks instead of partaking in partisan politics.

"I want to personally congratulate President Obama and the men and women of the Armed Forces for a job well done," the billionaire said in a statement.

"I am so proud to see Americans standing shoulder to shoulder, waving the American flag in celebration of this great victory," stated Trump, who just last week said "our leaders are stupid, they are stupid people."

"We should spend the next several days not debating party politics, but in remembrance of those who lost their lives on 9/11 and those currently fighting for our freedom," Trump said, adding "God bless America!"

The real estate tycoon on Sunday complained on "Fox & Friends" that the president and "Saturday Night Live" head writer Seth Meyers focused too much on him during Saturday's White House correspondents dinner speeches.

"You raise to a certain level in the polls and boy, does the world come after you," Trump said. "That was a largely liberal room. I had no idea it would be to that extent, where you know, it was just joke after joke after joke," he said of the barbs delivered at his expense. "It was almost like, is there anyone else they could talk about?" Trump wondered.

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Sunday shows: Ryan, Bachmann, Rubio, Van Hollen

ABC's "This Week" with Christiane Amanpour: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), with George Will, Chrystia Freeland, David Stockman and Arianna Huffington.

Bloomberg's "Political Capital" with Al Hunt: Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).Minnesota Republican Representative Michele Bachmann

CBS' "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer: Gov. Robert Bentley (R-Ala.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), with Michael Gerson and Michael Dyson.

CNN Fareed Zakaria "GPS": Malcolm Gladwell, Eliot Abrams, Martin Indyk, Fawaz Gerges and Ayman Mohyeldin.

CNN's "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley: Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Stephen Hadley, Steve Perry, Randi Weingarten, Jane Harman and Van Hollen

Fox News Channel "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn,), Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), with Brit Hume, Bill Kristol, Nina Easton and Juan Williams.

NBC's "Meet the Press" with David Gregory: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-Va.), New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and David Axelrod.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Why wait until Sunday for politics? Click here now to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or follow us @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle now. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share this item with friends.

Photo: Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty Images (Bachmann).


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
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