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Alexander Shrugs Off Trump as Obama Challenger

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Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander dismissed a poll Sunday that showed Donald Trump with an advantage over Tim Pawlenty among potential Republican presidential candidates for the 2012 election, saying the businessman has "absolutely no chance of winning."

"There's always someone like Donald Trump who runs who has absolutely no chance of winning and who is well known. I mean, he's famous for being famous. He may be good in business but he's not going to be president," the Tennessee Republican said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Alexander, who sought the GOP presidential nomination in 1996 and 2000, appeared on the show to give his perspective on the GOP presidential field for 2012. He said Pawlenty "has a much better chance than" Trump to become the party's nominee, even though Trump had 26 percent favorable rating in a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll cited on the show. Pawlenty, a former Minnesota governor, had 10 percent favorable rating.

"The fact is, there are only two to three people on either side who have any real chance to be president of the United States. ... It's surprising that in a country this big, that's the case, but we have a lot of well-known people but not very many who have the capacity and ability to be president of the United States. We make fun of them. We ridicule them. We run them down, but the fact is, whether it's Obama or Bush or Clinton or the first Bush, all of those men, and Hillary Clinton when she ran, are very exceptional individuals and it's hard to do," Alexander said.

"It's too early to say" which potential GOP presidential nominees will rise to the top, Alexander said.

"You have to look at those who are determined to run. And I would say Mitt Romney is most likely to run. And is clearly someone who has the ability to do it," Alexander said. "There are others who could, but they haven't indicated they're sure to run, like Mike Huckabee, Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour, Gov. Pawlenty. And then you've got Newt [Gingrich] with the force of his ideas, and Sarah Palin with the force of her personality."

"So, there's a pretty interesting primary right there," Alexander said. "But it will boil down to two or three and basically it will be the ones who are willing to start and finish. That's 90 percent of it."

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