“…I do worry… I have a lot of respect for Paul Ryan. I do worry that he’s a little bit far out in front… And I will tell you, me, I’m protecting, I don’t care what plan the Republicans put–I’m protecting the seniors. ..” – Donald Trump, with Sean Hannity on Fox News Channel (more below)

Contrary to other reports, Mr. Trump denies he will announce whether he will run for president on the last installment of “The Apprentice.”

The masquerading cub reporters over at World Net Daily blasted the “exclusive” that he would do just that, but Trump batted it down when speaking with Fred Dicker, whom you might remember when Carl Paladino threatened to “take you out, buddy.”

You just gotta love New York politics.

Fred Dicker got some juice copy and a terrific interview with Trump, who is making the pre-party to the un-announcement a lot of fun, though I sure hope he stays around for a debate or two. I’d love to see him come waltzing into the Reagan Library for a GOP debate.

As I’ve said before, it’s clear that Donald Trump can dish it out, but I’m just not convinced he’ll want to be on the receiving end of private detectives, media and all hell breaking loose as everyone starts picking through his business, his finances and his personal life. I just don’t see that happening.

–updated– On the other hand, I watched Sean Hannity’s interview with Donald Trump tonight. It was his most fascinating to date, especially on China, one of his signature issues, which he segued into the jobs angle. Trump also addressed the scrutiny issue a bit saying, “If I run I will have to disclose my finances and my finances are phenomenal, much better than anyone knows. …I actually look forward to that.”

But Mr. Trump actually had Sean Hannity sputtering until he had to completely shut up when the question of Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget came up. It was classic politician, but delivered in a matter of fact manner that revealed he’s not only unafraid of conservative blowhard gasbaggery on the budget, but he’s got his eye on the people who can make his candidacy a serious shot, should he decide to get in. He even said “the numbers aren’t as bad as you’re thinking,” talking about the deficit.

“…I do worry… I have a lot of respect for Paul Ryan. I do worry that he’s a little bit far out in front, because the Democrats are going to take that Medicare word, that little called Medicare, which to a lot of people means senior citizens, and they’re going to take that word and they’re going to say senior-senior-senior… And the Republicans have to be careful not to fall into a Democratic trap. … And I will tell you, me, I’m protecting, I don’t care what plan the Republicans put–I’m protecting the seniors. The seniors are in a certain way the heart of this country. I’m protecting the seniors. … I think the Republicans are too far out ahead. … This debate is supposed to be led by our President. You have to be very careful that the Republicans don’t go too far out in front. Because they’re going to lose a big election coming in 2012 if that happens.”

At this point Sean Hannity’s head exploded, because Mr. Trump is exactly correct and everything he was saying stood against the Fox man’s talking points. It was a beautiful thing just to see that and is one reason Donald Trump’s media blitz is so delicious to watch. He just doesn’t give a flying fig what these cartoon conservatives think or whether they like him or not.

When Hannity asked if Trump would deal with entitlements he put the Republicans in their place, with an answer that was pitch perfect. Well, almost.

“I always said the worst president was Jimmy Carter. Guess what? Jimmy Carter goes to second place. Barack Obama has been the worst president ever. In the history of this country, Barack Obama is number one.” – Donald Trump

Oh, and he wants to “increase the military” budget. Non-starter. He also gave Reagan credit for the hostage crisis return, completely ignoring history and that it was the late Warren Christopher. Tune in to Hannity tomorrow for the birther edition.

Mediaite has the video.

From the New York Observer:

The show’s host, Fred Dicker ““ who is also the New York Post’s state editor, read a recent poll showing Obama’s sky-high support among African-Americans.

Trump said the numbers were troubling and pointed to Hillary Clinton as proof that he probably won’t get the kind of support among African-Americans that he deserves.

“I tell it like it is,” Trump said. “[Y]ou’ll hear a political reporter go on and say it had nothing to do with race. But how come she had such a tiny piece of the vote? And you know, it’s a very sad thing.

“I have a great relationship with the blacks. I’ve always had a great relationship with the blacks. But unfortunately, it seems that, you know, the numbers you cite are very, very frightening numbers.”

Dicker said, somewhat rhetorically, that votes should always be based on merit, not on race.

“If that were the case, why did Hillary Clinton do so poorly?” Turmp [sic] asked.

“The blacks” sounds as clueless as when you hear someone say “the gays.”

As you also might expect, there’s plenty of birther stuff in the interview too, with the Dicker-Trump interview audio supplied by the Observer.