Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump's cabinet puts US interests first — Europe should learn from that Trump announces selection of EPA antagonist to lead agency Messer eyes challenging Donnelly for Indiana Senate seat MORE, who briefly flirted with a presidential run in 2012, warned Republicans Saturday that they will get “drubbed” by Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonMesser eyes challenging Donnelly for Indiana Senate seat Depleted Dems look to Senate for 2020 nominee Dems see ’18 upside in ObamaCare repeal MORE in 2016 if they don’t pick a “perfect” nominee. 

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Trump said Republicans fumbled the 2012 campaign against President Obama and predicted Clinton will be considerably tougher to beat in three years.

“Hillary’s probably going to be the nominee,” he said at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa. “And it’s going to be, in my opinion, a tougher race than the last race."

He said Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, should have beaten Obama.

“If they don’t pick the right person, and I mean the right person, perfect, it’s got to be the perfect person, they are going to get drubbed in the 2016 election,” he said.

Trump said the country can still be “saved,” but that it’s crucial Republicans capture the White House and gain ground in the Senate.

“We have a country that has to be brought back and it has to be brought back through great, great leadership. And if we don’t pick the right person, we’re not going to have great leadership,” he said.

He panned GOP strategist Karl Rove’s influence on the last election.

Rove’s American Crossroads super-PAC spent more than $100 million but failed to support a single winning candidate, according to an analysis by the Sunlight Foundation.

Trump highlighted the American Crossroads criticizing Obama as a celebrity president.

“I said, ‘What a great ad.’ I thought Obama made it,” he said. “Remember, they were saying he’s a rock star. ‘We don’t want a rock star as president.’ Actually we do want a rock star. We need somebody that’s great,” he said.

Trump appeared to make a subtle plea to the assembled conservative activists to keep their mind open to any future candidacy he might launch. He emphasized that he favors restricting abortion rights, safeguarding traditional marriage and protecting the Second Amendment.

“I’m a very conservative Republican,” he said.