Road to debate: Trump built image as he built business

From The Associated Press:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump once claimed to be publicity shy.

No joke.

It’s right there in The New York Times of Nov. 1, 1976. In the same article, the 30-year-old real estate developer talks up his millions, showcases his penthouse apartment and Cadillac, and allows a reporter to tag along as he visits job sites and lunches at the “21” club before hopping an evening flight to California for more deal-making.

So much for that shy-guy claim.

Young and ambitious, Trump worked just as hard at building his image as he did at expanding his real estate empire.

Along the way, he honed the communications skills that would benefit him at the negotiating table, turn him into a reality TV star and launch a presidential campaign.

He’ll put them to the ultimate test as he goes one-on-one with Hillary Clinton in three nationally televised debates over the next month that will help determine the next president.

Trump, who’d never participated in a debate before the presidential primaries, is keeping his preparations for Monday’s leadoff general-election debate low key – no mock face-offs or the like.

“Really, you’re preparing all of your life for these,” he told Fox Business Network recently. “You’re not preparing over a two-week period and cramming.”

Is he ready?

Experts on public speaking find all kinds of faults with Trump’s oratory: His vocabulary is juvenile, his syntax is jumbled, he’s casual about accuracy, he’s demeaning, his voice is thin and nasal, he’s weak on policy details and more.

And yet, Aaron Kall, who directs the University of Michigan’s Debate Institute and debate team, will venture to tell you this: “He performs …

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