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Trump: Christie 'one email away from a disaster'

By Paul Steinhauser, CNN Political Editor
updated 9:07 PM EST, Tue January 21, 2014

(CNN) -- Donald Trump says he's worried about his friend, Chris Christie.

"He's a friend of mine. He's a good friend of mine. He's a good guy, but you know, he's one email away from a disaster," said Trump, at an event Tuesday morning at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics.

"It's a very scary situation for Chris, and we'll see how he handles it," added Trump, the real estate mogul and reality TV star.

Trump's comments came just a few hours before the Republican Governor of New Jersey's second inauguration, a celebratory event that's now being overshadowed by clouds of controversy, as Christie's administration faces scandals over alleged strong-arming of political opponents.

Christie is also seriously considering a bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, and national polls of Republicans conducted after the Governor's landslide re-election two months ago suggested that he was becoming the front-runner among the possible contenders for the GOP nomination. But Trump says the controversies may hurt such a bid.

"At a minimum it's going to be tougher for him (Christie) because of what's happened," Trump added.

Trump spoke at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics' famous "Politics and Eggs" series, which often attracts top politicians and possible presidential contenders.

Asked to handicap the possible 2016 field, Trump said he thinks the eventual GOP nominee is "going to be somebody that nobody is even thinking about," and said that even though Hillary Clinton, if she runs, will instantly become the overwhelming favorite to win the Democratic nomination, "you just don't know what's going to happen."

The 67-year old Trump, who flirted with runs for the Republican presidential nomination in the 2000 and 2012 cycles, last year spoke to a number of Republican and conservative crowds, including addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference, which is the largest annual gathering of conservative leaders and activists, and is considered a must attend cattle call for Republican presidential hopefuls.

But Tuesday, Trump did not address his own possible presidential ambitions regarding 2016.

He did praise the crowd in the Granite State, which traditionally holds the first primary in the road to the White House, saying "you're special people. This is a special state. You're very important for a lot of reasons."

And a couple of times he highlighted his conservative chops, criticizing Obamacare and President Barack Obama's handling of the economy, and emphasizing that "I'm a very conservative person."

But he offered some advice to tea party activists and other grassroots conservatives, who have been blamed for nominating flawed candidates that were a contributing factor in the GOP loss of five Senate elections in the 2010 and 2012 cycles.

"I love the tea party and I love many of the things that the tea party represents," said Trump, before adding that "they have to be careful, however, cause we (Republicans) could have had two or three or four more senators right now if the tea party had been a little bit more lenient, a little bit more understanding."

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