BOSTON (CBS) – Donald Trump packed the auditorium at Pinkerton Academy in the southern New Hampshire town of Derry, and surprised no one by boasting about his wealth.
“I wanted to file the financials” disclosing his fortune as he began his presidential campaign, Trump said. “Because y’know, I’m sort of a bragger.”
No argument there. Any shyness he may have about his wealth is being kept well-hidden.
And when WBZ-TV asked Trump if he believes that wealth equals wisdom, he responded with humble-bragging: “No, not at all. Boy would I be a smart person!”
But we wondered – the last wealthy, successful businessman to win the GOP nomination, Mitt Romney in 2012, got raked by the Democrats because he was a wealthy, successful businessman.
“What makes you think the same won’t happen to you?” we asked Trump.
“Mitt Romney let us down. He let us down, he should have won that election,” scoffed Trump. “He failed, he choked.”
Which begs a key question — can Trump do what Romney could not – embrace his millions while also winning the embrace of voters?
Among the throng that turned out for him in Derry, there were mixed views on his money, but common admiration for the man.
Wealth does equal wisdom, claimed one 30-something woman.
“I know that he’s very smart and I trust him that he can make a difference,” she said.
A middle-aged man told us that while “there are a lot of rich people who aren’t really smart in this area,” Trump is different.
And he echoed the comments of a young couple, the man saying he thought Trump’s wealth was “ a big selling point.”
The woman, noted that while she doesn’t equate wealth with wisdom, she finds “the outspokenness and saying exactly what’s on his mind” appealing – even when it includes boasts about his fortune.
“Mitt Romney should have won that election, and he didn’t,” said Trump. “Something happened to him, and it’s not gonna happen to me.”
Perhaps not, if Romney’s reticence about his wealth was truly the problem.