PORTSMOUTH, N.H. -- Donald Trump kicked off his first trip to the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire Wednesday, scheduling meetings with key Republican leaders and grassroots activists, a fundraiser for the New Hampshire GOP and a stroll through several seacoast restaurants to shake hands with residents and business owners.
The attempt at retail politicking, his first of several scheduled visits to the Granite State in the coming months, is a rite of passage here, where meeting voters one-on-one is expected and a tradition not to be slighted.
It's also a signal the TV reality show star is looking seriously at a potential run for the White House. Trump has promised an announcement regarding his intentions will come after the May 22 finale of "Celebrity Apprentice," and has vaguely suggested people will be "surprised" by what he has to say.
Landing via helicopter at the Pease International Tradeport where he greeted reporters seeking reaction to the release of President Obama's long-form birth certificate, Trump said he was "very proud" of his role in the matter. Obama released the certificate Wednesday following weeks of calls by Trump to do so.
"Today I'm very proud of myself because I've accomplished what nobody else has been able to accomplish," said Trump.
The billionaire investor said he hopes to move on to more important matters but also mentioned experts would need to have a closer look at the document.
"I am really honored, frankly, to have played such a big role in hopefully, hopefully getting rid of this issue. Now, we have to look at it, we have to see, is it real? Is it proper? What's on it? But, I hope it checks out beautifully," Trump said.
Before Trump takes the full plunge into presidential politics, he will be stacked up against a growing field of GOP candidates, many of whom have already made multiple stops in this critical early voting state. Many voters feel a responsibility to vet candidates personally, often meeting a full list of contenders before casting their ballot.
"New Hampshire voters have a habit of shrugging their shoulders and saying 'so what?' when a celebrity comes to town,” said Dante Scala, a professor of politics at the University of New Hampshire. "I don't expect New Hampshire voters necessarily to be overwhelmed or in awe because it's just another day for them."
But Trump will be working with a certain amount of wealth, bravado and unapologetic attacks on the president that other candidates haven't got in their belts. Whether it benefits him depends on his performance on the ground.
"All of them have a lot to prove but I think a non-politician has a lot more to prove," said Jon Wilson, a Republican voter from Dover. "It's not a business where you can order people around and fire them once a week. You have to deal with what's there. It's a different monster."
“I think Mr. Trump should go back to New York where he belongs,” said Democrat Mary Golden of Dover. She said she doubts Trump's ability to connect with retirees, middle class and lower income voters. "He's lived in a world of so much money, how can he relate?"
Scala said he believes Trump must be careful to avoid the pitfalls of another famous New Yorker, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
"The problem with Giuliani four years back was that he would breeze into New Hampshire, breeze out, didn't spend a lot of time getting to know voters and so they were cool to him in response. So I think the same thing is for Trump," he said. "If he's serious about it, he's going to have to be willing to take questions from very skeptical New Englanders."
Trump has already scheduled a return trip to New Hampshire for May 11 when he will give the keynote address at the annual business expo hosted by the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce.