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Donald Trump climbs polls in presidential race

By David Usborne in Washington

Donald Trump, the property developer and reality TV powerhouse who insists he may run for the Republican nomination for the White House next year, is on a roll.

Polls put him in second place in the race to secure the Republican nomination and not even his local paper, which photoshopped him to look like a clown, can slow him down.

Dismissing "the Donald" as a possible contender has become more difficult even if he seems preoccupied by the so-called "birther" conspiracy that says President Barack Obama was not born in Hawaii, as he claims. A recent 'Wall Street Journal' poll of possible Republican runners showed him tied in second place with Mike Huckabee and only four points behind Mitt Romney.

Even the White House is now training its guns on him.

"I saw Donald Trump kind of rising in the polls. Given the spectacle of the last couple of weeks, I hope he keeps on rising," David Plouffe, Mr Obama's senior political adviser, sniped. "There's zero chance that Donald Trump would ever be hired by the American people to do this job."

In recent interviews, Mr Trump has suggested that Mr Obama may have pulled off the "greatest scam" in US history by pretending to be an American when he is not.

Speaking on CNN, Mr Trump claimed that Mr Obama's grandparents had placed an advert in a Hawaii newspaper saying that he had been born in the US "for hospitalisation, for welfare, for this, for that, for all of the other assets you get from being a US citizen".

That Mr Trump is being taken seriously at all might say less about him and more about the field of possible challengers to Mr Obama, which has been very slow to form and is not firing grass roots enthusiasm. (© Independent News Service)

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