GOFFSTOWN – Three years since he flirted with, and then dropped, the idea of running for President, Donald Trump returned to first-primary state New Hampshire Tuesday, saying the Obamacare roll-out debacle could "decimate" Democrats in the mid-term elections and fellow Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is "one email away from disaster."
The New York real estate magnate and reality television star did not rule out a presidential run of his own in 2016. He said Christie's fate will have no effect on his own decision.
"It's absolutely in the cards," said "The Donald" in an interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader.
After the November mid-term election, he'll assess the situation, said in a one-on-one on-the-record chat following an appearance before nearly 300 business people and students at the "Politics and Eggs" breakfast event at Saint Anselm College, hosted by the New Hampshire Institute of Politics and New Hampshire Political Library and the New England Council.
"I'm focused on '14 right now," he said. "I think the Republicans are going to do very well, and right after the November elections, I'll make a determination.".
He said he has offered financial help to some 2014 candidates but has not yet been in touch with Scott Brown, the former Massachusetts senator who recently moved full-time to New Hampshire and may take on Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.
"I think he's a good man," Trump said. "I've supported him and if he came here, I think that's a good move for him."
And, he said, "So many people are going to lose because of Obamacare."
Trump said he has spoken to Christie since the so-called "Bridgegate" scandal emerged and, "he feels very badly. What a detour that is, what a detour for him."
Trump's latest flirtation is with a possible run for governor of New York against Democratic incumbent Andrew Cuomo. He has said that if he decides to take on Cuomo, he would be willing to commit $30 million to $50 million of his own money.
"It's a state that's not doing well, but it's a very tough state because it's three-to-one Democratic," the Republican said. "People do like me in New York and I do have the money to run."
Trump made two high-profile visits to New Hampshire in the spring of 2011 as he strongly considered running for the Republican presidential nomination.
His first visit, to Portsmouth, came as he was insisting that President Barack Obama release his birth certificate, and the President did so on the morning Trump landed at the Pease International Tradeport.
About two weeks later, he went to Nashua. That visit came less than a week before he announced he would not be a candidate.
He said that while he believed he could have won both the GOP nomination and the presidency, he preferred to remain in the private sector and as host of "The Apprentice."
Trump Tuesday told the business group he still loves New Hampshire and Granite Staters.
"I love the way they work and love to work and they're proud and amazing," he said.
He recalled helping Mitt Romney in 2012.
"That's a race that could have been won, should have been won," Trump said.
As for 2014, "About nine weeks ago it looked like the Republican Party was in tremendous shambles, and then the Obamacare website raised its head.
"I would say because of Obamacare which is really turning out to be a disaster, the Democrats have a chance of being decimated," Trump said. "It's a huge problem and it's just beginning and it's getting a lot worse. And the Republicans are going to have an election that's going to shock people."
Trump also said the Democrats were hurt by last week's weak jobs numbers, which he called "very catastrophic."
And he continued his history of railing against what he called China's unfair trade practices.
"We have got to stop the onslaught or job-taking," he said, warning that "the new culprit is Mexico."
Trump said the United States is "down" at the moment, but "it's going to come back. It's going to come back strong."
While calling Christie a friend and saying that with "Bridgegate," he has a "tough road," Trump said he would not be surprised if, in the end, the next President is a newcomer.
"I have a feeling it's going to be somebody who nobody's really thinking about," he said. He said there is no guarantee Hillary Clinton will run.
But if she does, he said, he doubts she will be hurt by the Benghazi attack tragedy.
"Benghazi is disgraceful," he said. "But it doesn't seem to have legs. It doesn't seem to catch on with people."
Trump seemed intent on hitting the right local buttons. He said he is a fan of Robert Kraft, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, but with them out of the Super Bowl, he is pulling for Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
He noted Union Leader Publisher Joe McQuaid in the audience and referenced the newspaper's political endorsements.
His advice to the college students in the audience: "Never quit. Never give up. Success is right around the corner."