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Trump: 'You know what? It's time to take the money'

Donald Trump is offering his explanation for why he ducked the 2012 Republican presidential primary race: Republicans are "stupid" and - really - who gives up that much cash?

"I said 'you know what? It’s time to take the money,'" said Trump in a new 4-minute YouTube video posted Thursday. "I really hated what I was seeing from the Republicans."

"Ultimately I don’t want to battle against the Republicans’ stupidity … and at the same time tell NBC I no longer want a hit show," he said.

The real estate mogul also appeared to keep the door open to a third-party presidential bid if "the wrong" candidate seals the GOP nomination.

"I am watching very carefully. If the wrong person is nominated, you watch what happens with Donald Trump and what he does," Trump said. "Because we have to beat Obama. This country cannot last any longer with Obama as our president."

In the video, Trump alleges that he was being offered "all sorts of money" to keep his show "The Apprentice" on the air.

"By the way, even when you’re rich, it’s a lot of money," he said. "Who gives up a hit show? Nobody."

Trump ridiculed two House Republicans - Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan - by name, saying that Republicans who support Ryan’s plan to fundamentally change Medicare have an electoral "death wish" that sorely weakens the party going into the 2012 election.

And Trump lamented that Republicans handed Obama a decisive victory when they passed a "ridiculous" compromise tax bill during last year’s lame duck session of Congress. "He was resurrected, he became the Phoenix, he was like a new man." (That compromise took place, by the way, well before Trump’s presidential flirtation began in earnest. The president’s poll numbers did surge above 50 percent after the compromise bill passed but returned to a 48 percent approval rating the next month, per the NBC/WSJ poll.)