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Trump stumps (on radio) for Romney, but leaves open run of his own (if Romney loses)

 

Donald Trump, who endorsed Mitt Romney earlier this month at his Las Vegas hotel, is making the rounds on Michigan and Ohio radio stations this week to praise Romney's electability.

Trump said on Michigan’s WSGW this morning that though he personally likes Newt Gingrich, who is a member of his Washington, D.C.,-area country club, Romney's electability and position on China sealed the endorsement. 

"Mitt, by far, and this is very important, has the best chance of getting elected and beating Obama," Trump said.

But the star of NBC's The Apprentice was not as kind to another Romney opponent, Rick Santorum, who Trump said "came out of nowhere" and dismissed as "unelectable."

"I see some of his views which are so out there that he's never going to win. He cannot win the general election," Trump said. "The people in Pennsylvania turned him away, and they knew him the best. I hear his local community was even more vociferous. I mean he lost by 18 or 19 points, but locally where they knew him best, it was substantially more than that."

Trump continued, "There is no gift, no Christmas gift that could be given better than Rick Santorum for the Democrats. They are just salivating at that. I don't think they believe it's going to happen, but boy would they like it to happen, because it would be an easy election."

While Trump described Romney as a "high-quality human being," he acknowledged that the former Massachusetts governor, who is sometimes criticized as struggling to connect to people, is much different face-to-face than on TV.

"He's a much different guy on a personal basis than he comes across on television," Trump said. "While he projects very well, I can tell you on a personal basis, I think it's even better."

Trump was also asked by host Art Lewis if he would consider throwing his hat into the ring if the nomination fight continues to the Republican Convention in September.

"Obviously if [Romney] wins, I'm not running," Trump said. "If he doesn't -- and I hope that doesn't happen -- I would say that there's a good possibility that I would do something, yes. The reason is I love the country, and I hate what's happening to the country."

As NBC's Garrett Haake reports, Romney's campaign asked Trump to do the interviews a few days ago, and several more are planned this week.