Billionaire businessman and TV star Donald Trump is earning favour as an early frontrunner for the US Republican nomination in the upcoming presidential race.
The November 2012 election will see incumbent Democrat president Barack Obama take on an as-yet unknown Republican candidate.
Mr Trump has not yet announced that he will be running for president but now some polls have Mr Trump leading a disorganised field of likely Republican candidates.
Best-known for his business savvy and his "You're fired" catchphrase, until now Mr Trump has been more of a sideshow to the budding presidential race, buying into claims that Mr Obama was not born in the United States and is therefore an illegitimate president.
Over the weekend he addressed a rally for the ultra-conservative Tea Party movement.
"We have a man right now that almost certainly will go down as the worst president in the history of the United States," he said.
He says there is a "good possibility" he will run - and if he does he is clearly planning to draw heavily on his business credentials.
"I wished I didn't have to do it, because I am enjoying my life. I'm having a good time. I have a great company. I have a very successful show - all of that stuff - but I hate what's happening to our country," he said.
"You know why they know my name? Because of success. That's why they know my name essentially. I built a very big net worth.
"I would love to put that ability to work for this country. So I don't do it for myself - I'll be doing it for the country."
Mr Trump says Mr Obama has turned America into a joke.
"Look at Libya, look at this mess. We go in, we don't go in. He shouldn't be removed, we don't want to remove him, we don't want to touch him. Nobody knows what they're doing," he said.
In an interview on CNN that left host Candy Crowley with a look of disbelief throughout, Mr Trump outlined his approach to Libya.
"I'd do one thing. Either I go in and take the oil or I don't go in at all," he said.
"You'd just take their oil?" Crowley asked.
"Absolutely. I'd take the oil, I'd give them plenty so they can live very happily. I would take the oil. You know, in the old days when you have a war and you win, that nation's yours," Mr Trump said.
Former Newsweek editor Jon Meacham doubts Mr Trump will turn out to be a serious contender.
"Trump is an emblem of the triumph of the celebrity political culture," he said.
"I think the attention here is not because of views he holds but because of his personality, frankly, and I think that it will shake out. Like all popularist outbreaks, it tells you something about the frustration with both parties."
The media, though, is affording Mr Trump increasing amounts of air time, something that irks radio commentator Tavis Smiley.
"Donald Trump is laughing all the way to the bank and he's rolling us in the media every single day. Let's be frank about it. Truth is such a scarce commodity in this town often times and that's the bottom line," Smiley said.
He says Mr Trump will not do the political right any favours.
"On a certain level I understand the frustration because I'm frustrated. I understand the angst of the Tea Party," he said.
"But if you're going to start taking seriously a guy like Donald Trump making those kinds of statements, two years in he is going to go down as the worst president."
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is generally viewed as a much more credible challenger for the president.
Republican Senator Mike Lee from Utah says Mr Romney is more likely to be heading the party's charge for the White House.
"I do think he's the frontrunner and I think he is coming into this race strong," he said.
"He has got a strong record of showing that he knows how to bring in revenue and if there is one thing we desperately need right now as Americans, it's revenue."