By CNN Political Unit
(CNN) — He flirted with a presidential run that never materialized in 2012, but Donald Trump is again making forays — serious or otherwise — into White House politics.
The real estate mogul and reality television host trekked to Iowa this weekend, along with other potential 2016 candidates Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, to speak at the evangelical Family Leader Conference.
And he told ABC News that he was willing to spend big on a presidential campaign — that is, if he decides to run for real this time.
“If I did it, I’d spend whatever it took,” Trump told ABC’s “This Week.”
Claiming a fortune of more than $10 billion, the magnate said voters would see a candidate who has “built a great company with a tremendous net worth.”
Many voters, however, still see Trump as the loudest backer of the “birther” movement, which questions President Barack Obama’s birthplace and thus his eligibility to serve as commander in chief.
Trump’s unfulfilled run for the 2012 Republican nomination included his demand that Obama make public his full birth certificate from Hawaii.
The president previously had provided a shorter version that serves as the public record in Hawaii, but amid the media glare on the issue raised in part by Trump’s repeated questioning, the president released it in April 2011.
Noting he’s still not convinced the long form certificate is legitimate, Trump said in the interview Sunday that the “birther” issue wouldn’t disqualify him as a candidate, despite widespread condemnation of the issue from most Republicans.
“How does that make me not serious? I mean, I think that resonated with a lot of people,” he said.
During his address at the Family Leader event Saturday, Trump predicted a tough presidential contest in 2016, no matter the GOP candidate.
“Somebody is going to have to emerge who is really smart and really tough,” he said. “Because Obama should have been beaten. Hillary is going to be tougher to beat. And the Republicans have to do what’s right. If they don’t pick the right person, and I mean, it has to be the perfect person, they are going to get dropped in the 2016 election.”
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