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Donald Trump on why 'it's time' to start running political ads

Donald Trump spoke to TODAY about his slip in polls, why he's now starting to run political ads and his use of bankruptcy laws.
/ Source: TODAY

Donald Trump defended his decision to begin airing ads for the first time in his presidential campaign, saying Thursday it wasn’t an act of boosting poll ratings that have slipped but because “it’s time for me to start advertising a little bit.”

The media mogul has bought radio air time that will air beginning Thursday in the three early voting states: Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

“I’ve had heat because I haven’t spent any money. It would be nice if the country could do that,” he told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie. “I’ve spent no money and I’m number one. Other people have spent tens of millions of dollars and they’re floundering and doing poorly.”

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Despite his assertion, Trump has been chased or even surpassed recently by rival Ben Carson in the latest Republican primary polls. The surveys have put Trump on the defensive, prompting him to lob even more of his trademark insults at his rival.

In addition to Carson, Trump also has been taking aim at Marco Rubio, questioning the Florida senator's financial management skills because of his past use of a Republican party credit card to purchase numerous personal items.

Asked whether such scrutiny into a candidate's financial past should also apply to Trump’s decisions to use, on several occasions, bankruptcy laws to his strategic advantage, Trump said he's no different than other business leaders in the world.

“I’ve used the bankruptcy laws, which are the laws of the land, corporately. I could name the biggest names in business, and they’ve almost all used them,” he said.

Trump admitted, “frankly, I’ve made a lot of money using those laws,” but said he's never hid any of his past business transactions or decisions.

“I’ve been a public book,” he said.

Follow writer Eun Kyung Kim on Twitter.