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Donald Trump and his wife Melania Knauss Trump on the sidelines before a New York Jets-New England Patriots game in November. (AP)

Call It 'White House Apprentice:' Donald Trump Will Moderate GOP Debate

Dec 2, 2011

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Frank James

If you were sitting around watching the Republican presidential debates saying to yourself, "Hmmm, you know, these would be a whole lot more interesting if Donald Trump were moderating," you're in luck. Because he will be asking the questions, at least at one December debate.

Jeremy W. Peters reports over at the The Caucus blog over at the New York times that the real-estate developer and reality show star is scheduled to moderate a Dec. 27 debate between the candidates in Des Moines, IA.

An excerpt:

"Our readers and the grass roots really love Trump," said Christopher Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax Media. "They may not agree with him on everything, but they don't see him as owned by the Washington establishment, the media establishment."

Mr. Trump's role in the debate, which will be broadcast on the cable network Ion Television, is sure to be one of the more memorable moments in a primary season that has already delivered its fair share of circus-like spectacle.

Newsmax is making its own announcement of the debate.

It seems like only yesterday when Trump rode the birther issue all the way to the front tier of the Republican presidential candidates, demanding to see President Obama's birth certificate, then ending his pseudo candidacy after Obama made his birth document public.

To many a skeptic, Trump's dalliance with a presidential race, seemed like a well timed self-promotion, coming as it did as he was in contract talks with NBC for renewal of his Celebrity Apprentice television show. Once he secured another season, so much for all the presidential posturing.

But Trump has stayed relevant to the Republican race, with presidential candidates visiting him as though he were a former president whose political blessing they were seeking.

Now Trump will be there in the moderator's chair just days before the Iowa caucuses putting the candidates through their paces.

This will undoubtedly be the first time presidential debate preparation will mean watching episodes of Celebrity Apprentice and learning how to think like The Donald.

The choice of Trump to question the candidates also means Newt Gingrich, the new Republican frontrunner, can't resort to his favorite tactic of browbeating the moderator.

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