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Donald Trump on politics, new 'Celebrity Apprentice' cast [Video]

January 4, 2012 | 10:06 am

Donald Trump

Donald Trump went on "Today" to unveil the huge cast of the new season of "Celebrity Apprentice," but first he had to duck Matt Lauer's repeated questions about his presidential aspirations in the wake of the Iowa GOP caucuses.

Though Trump initially attempted to tell Lauer he wasn't going to discuss it because he's going to make a statement in a couple of weeks, the "Today" host wasn't buying Trump's dodging.

"Are you still getting people urging you to run?" Lauer asked. "We've known each other a long time, so I'm going to be blunt with you: The only person I hear talking about a Donald Trump run for the presidency right now is Donald Trump."

Trump claims he has millions of followers. But those followers will have to sit tight before they see Trump in any sort of presidential mode. He says he wouldn't be able to campaign (if he were to run) until after the last episode of "Celebrity Apprentice" airs in May.

Trump told Lauer he'd be more comfortable endorsing a candidate, but he wanted to see one of them break out. And with Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum separated by only eight votes in Iowa, that has yet to occur.

Political talk aside, Trump then introduced the big new cast for the show's 12th season (which has added three episodes). The competitors are:

— "American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken

— Race car driver Michael Andretti

— "Real Housewives of New Jersey" star Teresa Giudice

— Former mob wife Victoria Gotti

— Comedienne Lisa Lampanelli

— Former Miss Universe Dayna Mendoza

— Twisted Sister rocker Dee Snider

— "American Chopper" star Paul Teutul Sr.

— Comedian Arsenio Hall

— Podcast host Adam Carolla

— "Incredible Hulk" star Lou Ferrigno

— Magician Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller

— "Star Trek" actor George Takei

— Supermodel Cheryl Tiegs

— Pop star Debbie Gibson

— Actress Tia Carrere

— Singer Aubrey O'Day

— Model Patricia Velasquez

Though not all the cast members were present in the "Today" studio, those seated in front of Trump and Lauer couldn't pass up the opportunity to curry favor with the new boss.

Lauer asked the cast members to show hands if they wanted to see Trump as president. Every one of them raised their hands. Lauer called them shameless.

Lampanelli went a step further. "I think he'd make a great husband," she added.

A marriage to Lisa Lampanelli? Not even Donald Trump will go that far.

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— Patrick Kevin Day

Photo: Donald Trump in "Celebrity Apprentice." Credit: NBC.