Opinion

Bernd Debusmann

Obama, Trump and the 2012 elections

Bernd Debusmann
Apr 12, 2011 13:39 UTC

“Part of the beauty of me is that I’m very rich. So if I need $600 million, I can put $600 million in myself. That’s a huge advantage … over the other candidates.”

So says real estate magnate and reality TV show host Donald Trump, talking about the 2012 U.S. presidential elections.

It’s 18 months to go to November 6, 2012, an eternity in politics, but two things already seem clear: it will be the most expensive campaign ever and the line between the political fringe and mainstream politics will often be blurred.

First, the numbers. The opening of President Barack Obama’s election campaign on April 4 prompted a slew of predictions that he would manage to raise $1 billion, comfortably in excess of the $780 million his supporters provided in 2008. That was a record, more than twice as much as his rival, Republican John McCain (and almost exactly twice as much as George W. Bush in 2004).

None of the potential Republican candidates has yet declared he (or she) is in the running. None can boast to match the “beauty” of Trump, who ranks 488 on Forbes magazine’s 2010 list of the world’s billionaires with an estimated net worth of $2 billion. If he did run, he could afford the $600 million he is talking about. In a series of television interviews, Trump has said he would make a decision in June.

Obama, guns and media control

Bernd Debusmann
Mar 18, 2011 17:08 UTC

Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

There is fresh thinking, of a peculiar sort, in the perennial debate over gun violence in the United States, world leader in civilian ownership of firearms. Censorship of news reporting on the mass shootings that have long been part of American life will help prevent other mass shootings.

So says the National Rifle Association (NRA) in an open letter responding to President Barack Obama’s suggestion that it is time for all sides in the gun debate to get together and find a “sensible, intelligent way” to make the United States a safer place. The president mentioned common sense and a White House spokesman talked of the need to find common ground.

Common sense has not been in abundant supply in decades of on-again, off-again debate on guns and violence. As to finding common ground between the leading gun lobby and advocates of better controls, the NRA’s Executive Vice President, Wayne LaPierre, says his group will “absolutely not” take part in the sort of meeting envisaged by Obama. Such a meeting, he said in a series of media interviews, would be with people opposed to the constitutional right to bear arms.

In America, violence and guns forever

Bernd Debusmann
Jan 14, 2011 15:09 UTC

Another American mass shooting. Another rush to buy more guns.

On the Monday after the latest of the bloody rampages that are part of American life, gun sales in Arizona shot up by more than 60 percent and rose by an average of five percent across the entire country. The figures come from the FBI and speak volumes about a gun culture that has long baffled much of the world.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation compared January 10, 2011, with the corresponding Monday a year ago.

So what would prompt Americans to stock up their arsenals in the wake of the shooting in Tucson that killed six people and wounded 14, including Gabrielle Giffords, the congresswoman who was the target of an unhinged 22-year-old who has since been charged with attempted assassination?

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