Steve Kornacki: How The Donald discovered that pretending to run for president can be good for business ….
….Paul Riddell from Texas wrote that he agreed Trump’s “campaign” is a publicity stunt, not just because he did the same thing back in 2000, but because he also did it in the 1988 cycle … it turns out it’s true: The Trumpster’s first fake presidential campaign actually took place 24 years ago…
….he was handed a deal to write the “Trump: The Art of the Deal.” Publication was set for November 1987 … And wouldn’t you know it, a few months before the book’s release, stories began appearing that Trump – seemingly out of nowhere – might jump into the 1988 presidential race as a Republican … “Anyone would be honored to hear this,” he said. Then he swung into action, taking out ads in major newspapers addressing topics ranging from the deficit to nuclear weaponry to Central America. And he scheduled a speech in New Hampshire…
….with his money and bluster, Trump was portrayed as a potential wild card. He denied that he was running – always leaving enough wiggle room to keep the media playing along….Not long after the NH speech, “The Art of the Deal” hit bookstores. It was a runaway hit. And with that, the trips to New Hampshire and the flirtations with the ’88 race stopped. He’d already accomplished his goal: enhancing the Trump brand….
12 years later, with another book to promote, he did it all over again (see here). And now, 12 years after that, he’s back again. (There’s no book for Trump to promote this time, but there is his C-list celebrity train wreck on NBC, which (conveniently enough) premiered just as the Trump for President chatter intensified).
President Obama waves goodbye from the steps of Air Force One as he departs Saudi Arabia on his way to Egypt, June, 2009
AP: ..Foreign leaders showered President Obama and his family with hundreds of thousands of dollars in art, jewelry, rare books and other presents during their first year in the White House.
Saudi Arabia’s king was the most generous gift-giver, according to documents released by the State Department on Tuesday. Saudi King Abdullah gave Obama, his wife and daughters nearly $190,000 in luxury baubles in 2009, including the single most valuable gift reported to have been given to U.S. officials that year: a ruby and diamond jewelry set, including earrings, a ring, a bracelet and necklace, for the first lady worth $132,000.
…By law, most gifts to U.S. officials must be turned over to the government and the jewelry has already been sent to the National Archives.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was a distant runner up to King Abdullah, with gifts for the first family worth a little under $33,000. The Italian haul included silk ties, a gold watch, a crystal table and candlesticks…….the Saudi monarch also presented Michelle Obama with a $14,200 pearl necklace. He gave the president a marble clock adorned with miniature gold palm trees and camels valued at $34,500. He sent first daughters Sasha and Malia Obama diamond earrings and necklaces worth more than $7,000.
Chinese President Hu Jintao gave Obama a $20,000 silk embroidery of the first family….French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife sent perfume and a $4,500 black Christian Dior handbag …Some leaders chose more modest gifts. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth presented Obama with framed portraits of herself and her husband, Prince Philip, worth $775….Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas offered the U.S. leader $521 in gifts, including the least expensive item listed by the State Department: a $75 bottle of olive oil.
NYT: Can you judge a president by what he is reading? As has been reported, President Obama’s vacation reading includes a Lou Cannon biography of Ronald Reagan, another president who was confronted with a divided Congress. But the White House said today Mr. Obama also brought two novels: “The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet” by David Mitchell, a well-reviewed historical romance about a Dutchman in Edo-era Japan; and “Our Kind of Traitor,” by the spy novelist John Le Carre.