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Trump Does Little to Quell 2012 Speculation After Palin Meeting

 

After grabbing pizza with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin Tuesday night in Manhattan, Donald Trump did little to quell speculation that one or both of them might mount a campaign for the White House

Trump told Fox News on Wednesday that he doesn't think Palin has made up her mind and, as for himself, left open the possibility of launching an independent bid next year if he's still not impressed by the GOP field. 

Though Trump said last month he would not enter the race -- instead opting to continue hosting his reality TV show "Celebrity Apprentice" -- he said Wednesday that his obligation to NBC ends next year. 

"If I'm not happy with what I see, I could very easily change my mind. ... I'm not happy with what I see," Trump said. "In 11 months, I'm totally free to do whatever I want to do." 

Asked about his meeting Tuesday, the real estate mogul had high praise for Palin, calling her a "friend." 

"We do like each other and I will tell you more than anything else, she loves this country," Trump told Fox News. 

Apparently at Palin's request, Trump met privately with the former governor before going out for pizza. Though not revealing many details from the discussion, Trump said they did not discuss the possibility of teaming up on one ticket. 

"We talked about lots of things. We did not talk about that," he said. 

Trump also said he asked Palin directly whether she would run. "I'm not sure that she's made up her mind," Trump said, without describing her answer. 

Palin, who stirred speculation by heading out on a surprise bus tour to historic American sites like Mount Vernon and the Statue of Liberty, told Fox News that "it's not a publicity-seeking tour." 

"It's about highlighting the great things about America," she said. Palin said the tour was her husband Todd's idea. 

"I know that many in the mainstream media are looking for kind of a conventional, a campaign-type tour. And I've said from the beginning this isn't a campaign tour, except to campaign on our Constitution, our charters of liberty," she said. 

With Palin staying coy about her plans, Trump said outright he might still join the race, indicating he would take his time to once again give his final decision. "There is no deadline," he said. "If I did it as an independent, I could do it very much later." 

He also had tough words for Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's plan to overhaul Medicare, calling it a "death wish." Without commenting specifically on the contents of the plan, he said Republicans should have waited for President Obama to first introduce a plan. 

"You know these are not good business people, or these are not great chess players," Trump said, predicting many of the Republicans who voted for the plan would "lose their elections."