Trump says he'd 'probably' run as Independent if he loses GOP nod

Real estate mogul Donald Trump said Tuesday he could run for president as an Independent if he's unable to win the Republican nomination in 2012.

Trump, the reality TV star who has been flirting with a run for president, suggested that other Republicans vying for the party's nomination are concerned he might wage a third-party campaign, which Trump said he thought was a viable path to the White House.

"The concern is, if I don't win, will I run as an Independent? And the answer is probably yes," Trump said in a video interview with The Wall Street Journal.

Trump has received surprisingly encouraging poll numbers in recent weeks, surging to a tie for second place behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) in the most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.

The host of NBC's "The Apprentice" has gotten traction out of questioning whether President Obama was born in the U.S., lumping Trump in with the crowd of "birthers" most establishment Republicans have generally sought to avoid.

Trump has considered running for president in the past but ultimately begged off. In the 2000 election, he also flirted with a third-party run, exploring the possibility of seeking the Reform Party's nomination.

That party, founded by billionaire Ross Perot, largely fizzled out after the 1992 and 1996 presidential elections. Trump contended that, if he went the third-party route, he would begin the effort with a better standing than Perot.

"To be honest with you, I think it'd be very, very bad for the Republican Party, because they did some polls recently where I get 29 percent as an Independent. That's a lot — far more than Ross Perot ever got," Trump said.

He said he was actively thinking about the possibility of running as an Independent, but expressed worry that doing just that would only hurt the eventual GOP's chances against Obama.

"I'm thinking about that, and that's bothered me, because I'm very conservative," said Trump, who's set to make a final decision about running in June.