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NEW YORK

Trump praises Perry, keeps 2012 run open

NEW YORK — Real estate mogul Donald Trump said Tuesday that he expects Texas Gov. Rick Perry to do “very nicely” as a presidential candidate. But Mr. Trump stopped short of endorsing Mr. Perry and said he hasn’t ruled out running for president himself as an independent.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Mr. Trump said Mr. Perry was a welcome entry in the GOP field, which includes former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota. Mrs. Bachmann won the Iowa straw poll Saturday, the same day Mr. Perry announced he would seek the party’s nomination to challenge President Obama in 2012.

“I think Rick Perry is a real positive. Nobody can predict outcomes, but I think he will do very nicely,” Mr. Trump said. “We need someone in this country who is willing to shake things up.”

Mr. Trump, a billionaire reality show host, flirted publicly with joining the Republican presidential field before opting out of the race in May. He said he would consider running next year as an independent if he doesn’t think the candidate who wins the GOP nomination is strong enough to beat Mr. Obama. Mr. Trump said he would make a decision after the next season of his show, “Celebrity Apprentice,” ends in June.

“I have an obligation. We have a tremendous following — millions of people who would like to see me run,” Mr. Trump said.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Bachmann confuses Elvis’ birthday with death date

SPARTANBURG — Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann got her Elvis Presley dates all shook up during a campaign stop Tuesday in South Carolina.

The congresswoman from Minnesota played the Elvis tune “Promised Land” at a local restaurant and told the crowd of 300 that she wanted to say “happy birthday” to the king of rock ‘n’ roll.

“Before we get started, let’s all say happy birthday to Elvis Presley today,” Mrs. Bachmann said.

Pressley died on Aug. 16, 1977, and someone in the crowd shouted back, “He died today.”

Mrs. Bachmann didn’t respond and launched into her speech.

She didn’t miss a beat on the Elvis front either. As she signed autographs, she paused for a brief shag dance with one of her fans.

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