President Obama has enjoyed a bit of a rebound in the polls lately after commentators suggested he “won” the second and third debates in the run up to the US General Election. But the Romney camp isn’t ready to give up just yet, and this week saw one prominent Republican supporter fight back against the Democrat incumbent.
US tycoon Donald Trump released a YouTube video stating that he would donate $5 million to charity if Obama releases his college records and passport application. This came after Trump – no stranger to publicity stunts – had been teeing up his announcement for a number of days, saying that it would be “bordering on gigantic”, and could “possibly” change the presidential race.
When the video came out many were disappointed that Trump was just dredging up the old “Obama Isn’t American” hypothesis, and dismissed the announcement as nonsense. The President even appeared on Jay Leno’s talk show on Wednesday and laughed off the situation by confidently joking about the grudge Trump had formed against him when they were both “growing up in Kenya”.
However, Trump’s allegiance to Mitt Romney is no secret – so twisting the knife to make Obama squirm while he’s ahead in the polls could benefit the Republican candidate by nudging those voters who still put some kind of stock into doubting Obama’s nationality.
While Trump’s stunt will generally be viewed as yet another bit of bluster from a publicity-hungry personality, for a few undecided voters his challenge may give them pause for thought.
Will Edwards is managing director of media training consultancy Bluewood Training