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Poll: Bruno Tonioli Gaining On Trump For GOP Nom
NEW YORK (CAP) - A USA Today/Gallup poll this week found real estate mogul and Apprentice star Donald Trump to be the reality TV personality most likely to get the GOP nomination for president. But Dancing With The Stars judge Bruno Tonioli is coming up fast, according to the results.
The poll of 5,000 likely voters found 17 percent favoring Trump, with 14 percent voting for Tonioli, which is within the margin of error. Rounding out the list were:
- Lauren Conrad of The Hills (11 percent)
- Flava Flav of Flavor Of Love (8 percent)
- Snooki of Jersey Shore and Corbin Bernsen of Celebrity Mole Yucatan (tie, 6 percent each)
- Steven Seagal of Steven Seagal Lawman (5 percent)
More than 100 other reality stars made up the other 33 percent of those named as presidential contenders, including Tila Tequila, Danny Bonaduce, Gene Simmons, the woman who dressed like a pirate on season 3 of Wife Swap, and Sarah Palin.
Tonioli, for his part, said he was "just amazingly astounded" at finishing so closely behind Trump, particularly given he hasn't gone any farther than establishing an exploratory committee and printing some buttons with the slogan "Bruno: You Know You Want Him!"
"Being president would be hot, it would be sexy - it would be Mr. Hips Goes to Washington!" said Toniolo, shaking his midsection in what might possibly have been a Salsa or a Pasa Doble.
He also criticized President Obama, saying, "He looks like giant Slim Jim sliding down a fire pole!" and gesticulating wildly.
Trump, for his part, says he's not fazed by the results, and immediately demanded that Toniolo produce his birth certificate. "You can't tell me that this guy was born in America," Trump told Meredith Vieira on the Today show. "He's harder to understand than Ivana was."
Experts have said Tonioli's accent may be Italian, Croatian or Czechoslovakian, or some combination of the three, although Tonioli says he's eligible for the presidency because he was born in New York City in 1955 while his parents were visiting there for the opening night performance of Damn Yankees.
"Gwen Verdon was like a crazy flaming butterscotch sliding down the gullet of spectaularity!" said Tonioli, who apparently popped out at the end of Act 1, during "Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets."
Some pundits have said they like Tonioli's chances, noting his rise in popularity following his sympathetic reaction when Joey Fatone's leg flew off during a Dancing With The Stars routine in 2007. They've also pointed to Seagal as a possible up-and-comer in the race, given his tough-on-crime reputation, and many are saying Bernsen may also emerge as a dark horse, noting that he was mayor of Loma Linda, Calif., from 1989-2004.
But Trump remained undeterred, saying, "These are all fine candidates, but none of their shows had the ratings that The Apprentice had, either the regular Apprentice or Celebrity Apprentice, and I think if you study the Nielsen reports, and I have people that actually have been studying them and they cannot believe what they're seeing - Apprentice is just the top, the best and most successful reality show there is, and none of the others have a catchphrase like 'You're Fired,' which I came up with, by the way, not the writers, and which is the most recognized phrase of its kind around the world."
And showing solidarity with his co-star, current Celebrity Apprentice contestant Gary Busey endorsed Trump for president yesterday, saying, "This guy speaks my language."
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