THE BIG IDEA:
The Bernie Sanders campaign put out a press release six minutes after midnight saying it raised $44 million in March, edging out the $43.5 million raised in February. That means the democratic socialist from Vermont brought in $109 million during the first quarter. An amazing 97 percent of that money came from online donations. We’re still awaiting Hillary Clinton’s numbers.
A crowd of 18,500 came to see a hoarse Sanders speak in the Bronx last night. Filmmaker Spike Lee introduced him as “Bernie from Brooklyn” to an audience that included actress Rosario Dawson and Residente, the Puerto Rican who founded the alternative rap group Calle 13. “If we win here in New York, we are going to make it to the White House,” Sanders said at the raucous outdoor rally on a beautiful night.
But, first, Sanders needs to win Wisconsin. Bernie is flying back right now to camp out in the state through next Tuesday’s primary. The Vermont senator has big events scheduled in Sheboygan and Green Bay this afternoon, Eau Claire and Milwaukee tomorrow, Wausau and Madison on Sunday, and then Green Bay again on Monday.
Sanders led Clinton by 5 points, 48 percent to 43 percent, among likely Democratic voters in a Fox Business poll released last night. A Marquette University Law School poll published the day before gave Sanders a 4-point edge (49-45) among likely voters. Both of those results are within the margin of error.
The Clinton campaign is tirelessly trying to lower expectations in the Badger State. Though polls show a single digit race—and she won Illinois and Ohio—her spokesmen and strategists have been arguing that it doesn’t really matter whether she wins or loses because she will wind up with roughly the same number of delegates from a close race. As a result, they argue, the front-runner will maintain her sizable lead going into the more-important New York primary on April 19. A loss there would trigger humiliating headlines, handwringing and recriminations.
Sanders wants to get momentum going into a quiet stretch before the map turns less favorable to him. If he prevails in Wisconsin, he will have won six of the past seven contests. He knows he needs bigger wins down the roads in more diverse states, and voters like to get behind a winner.
-- Even though the polls show the race is too close to call, here are 10 reasons that all the smart money is on Bernie to win Wisconsin on April 5:
1. Hillary underperformed in Wisconsin eight years ago. Obama trounced her by a surprising 18 points in 2008. Unlike other Democratic primaries back then, exit polls showed the then-Illinois senator beat her among non-college-educated whites and actually tied her among women. “Asked during a visit on Monday to a local retail store in Madison about how this time would be different, Clinton smiled, waved, and walked backward—away from reporters and toward the door,” Bloomberg’s Jen Epstein reported.
2. Wisconsin’s demographics favor Sanders. Almost nine in 10 voters will be white. In the 2008 primary, when Obama was on the ballot, African Americans accounted for 8 percent of voters.
Clinton held an event on gun violence earlier this week at a predominantly African American Baptist church in Milwaukee, where about 40 percent of the population is black. Geneva Reed-Veal, whose daughter Sandra Bland died in police custody after she was arrested during a routine traffic stop, exhorted the crowd to get behind the Clintons. She stressed that they have apologized for the 1994 Crime Bill. “You're talking about something that happened when her husband was president,” she said, per Abby Phillip. “If I was to be held accountable for everything my man did, whoa!”
3. The rules allow Bernie to expand the electorate.
Wisconsin allows same-day voter registration, which makes it easier for Sanders’s organizers to run up the score on huge college campuses like the one in Madison.
Unlike New York, which will have a closed primary, Wisconsin’s is open to independents. A robo-poll that Public Policy Polling put out yesterday underscored how much of a difference this can make. The Democratic firm has Sanders ahead of Clinton by 6 points (49-43) among “likely voters.” If you look at the crosstabs, Clinton led among registered Democrats by 8 points (50-42) but Sanders led by 31 points among independents who plan to vote in their primary (62/31).
4. Hillary is particularly weak among younger women in Wisconsin. Among likely voters, the Marquette poll gave Sanders 83 percent of 18-to-29 year olds, 59 percent among 30-44 year olds, 43 percent among those ages 45-59 and 31 percent among those 60 and over. For Clinton the corresponding percentages are 12 percent among ages 18-29, 37 percent among ages 30-44, 51 percent among ages 45-59 and 63 percent among those 60 and over.
In the Fox poll, Sanders was ahead of Clinton by 47 points among voters under 45. While Clinton led among women overall by 3 points (47-44), women under 45 are going for Bernie by 38 percent (66-28).
5. Bernie’s core supporters are most engaged: Sanders has accounted for 63 percent of all the social media conversation about the Democratic primary inside Wisconsin this week, per Zignal Labs.
It is such a cliche, but the turnout models matter so much: In the Marquette poll, for example, Clinton led 51-42 among registered voters in Milwaukee. But Sanders was up 47-46 among likely voters in the city.
6. The state has a long tradition of embracing radical/revolutionary progressives like Bernie.
Milwaukee had an openly socialist mayor, Frank Zeidler, from 1948 to 1960.
Wisconsin also gave the country Robert La Follette. “Fighting Bob” was a governor and three-term senator before seeking the presidency in 1924 as the candidate of the Progressive Party. Not only did he carry Wisconsin that year, but he won 17 percent of the national popular vote.
Russ Feingold, the only senator to vote against the Patriot Act and the co-author of campaign finance reform with John McCain, is running here this year to get his old seat back, which he lost in 2010 to Republican Ron Johnson. (In a different universe, if he had stayed in Congress, it might have been Feingold playing a role akin to Sanders in the presidential campaign…)
Just like everywhere else, this year the bulk of the establishment has publicly backed Clinton. Sanders’s highest profile supporter is former Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton. But what matters is that Wisconsin Democrats have always hated the establishment…
7. Sanders benefits from Scott Walker backlash.
Bernie used a Madison speech the other day to frame himself as the anti-Scott Walker.
Dan Kanninen, who was Obama’s 2008 state director in Wisconsin and is not involved in the 2016 race, thinks this is a significant reason for why Sanders will probably win Tuesday.
“Progressive base voters in the state have been beaten down, angered and depressed at how quickly their state moved away from them… they are especially attracted to the kind of idealistic campaign that Bernie represents,” said Kanninen, who now works at the Smoot Tewes Group. “Wisconsin Democrats feel a lot like national Democrats did at the end of the Bush administration. Walker is their George W. Bush. But they haven't been able to get him out yet, so they have to express their frustration in other ways.”
Clinton has also tried to tap into this. In an ad on education, the campaign takes a shot at Walker, using unflattering slow-motion footage of the governor getting out of an SUV.
8. The Sanders campaign is investing more resources and time.
Bernie has seven different spots in rotation on Wisconsin television, from his “America” spot featuring Simon & Garfunkel to issue ads on farming and fracking. It’s not clear how many Clinton is running.
And, as noted at the top, Sanders will keep an aggressive travel schedule to all the main media markets over the next four days.
Bill stumps for his wife in Appleton today. Hillary will be back in the state tomorrow for events in Eau Claire and Milwaukee, but sources say she’s returning to New York on Sunday.
The Iowa caucuses provided another data point that Midwesterners care about sweat equity and time on the ground. Respect must be paid.
9. The left-leaning editorial board of the state’s largest newspaper, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, has been harshly critical of Clinton, specifically over her refusal to release the transcripts of her private speeches on Wall Street.
“Clinton has a long track record of public service but an equally long record of obfuscation, secrecy and working in the shadows to boost her power and further her ambition,” says an editorial in today’s newspaper. “Her horrible track record on transparency raises serious concerns for open government under a Clinton administration — so serious we believe they may disqualify her from public office.”
10. Hillary’s support for free trade is a drag.
Sanders has been hammering Clinton over NAFTA and TPP, which she now opposes.
It’s a winning issue for him. The Marquette poll found that, overall, only 37 percent of Wisconsin voters see free trade as “mostly a good thing for the country” while 46 percent say they are mostly a bad thing. It’s close to an even split among Democrats.
“For Democrats who think trade agreements have been mostly a good thing, Clinton is supported by 54 percent to 42 percent for Sanders,” said Marquette pollster Charles Franklin. “Those Democrats who think the agreements have been mostly bad back Sanders by 60 percent to 36 percent.”
When her speech at the State University of New York was interrupted by protestors yesterday, Clinton laughed and then ripped into Sanders. "I have earned 9 million votes this election--already. I have 1 million more votes than Donald Trump, and I have two-and-a-half million more votes than Bernie Sanders," she said.
On the rope line in New York, an agitated Clinton also snapped at a Greenpeace activist who was trying to get her to pledge not to take money from the fossil fuel industry. "I am so sick of the Sanders campaign lying about me. I'm sick of it," she said, jabbing her finger toward the young woman. It makes for a memorable 17-second exchange:
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WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- The U.S. economy added 215,000 jobs in March, as the unemployment rate rose slightly to 5 percent, the Labor Department announced this morning.
-- Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) personally bought multiple “burner phones,” or inexpensive, disposable cell phones at a Best Buy in Tuscaloosa last year, store employees told AL.com. The revelation comes as he tries to survive impeachment over a scandal stemming from an improper relationship with a (now former) top aide.
-- New data from the World Health Organization suggests that the spread of Zika appears to be slowing in certain Latin American countries, suggesting that the virus might have peaked. The number of new infections has declined over the past few weeks. "The slowdown has prompted some countries, including Colombia, to significantly scale back their projections of the impact of the virus," Nick Miroff reports. "Epidemiologists tracking Zika warn that the downward trend appears to be limited to certain countries and should not be interpreted as a sign the epidemic has started to ebb everywhere in the Americas. It still appears to be expanding in Brazil, the epicenter of the virus."
A Purdue University team yesterday published the virus's structure for the first time in the journal Science. "By outlining the physical structure of the virus in near-atomic detail, they have made it possible for scientists to determine the unique properties that make Zika so dangerous — and how those abilities might be knocked out with vaccines and treatments," Rachel Feltman explains. This is what it looks like:
-- THE FUTURE? "At an event in Los Angeles -- near midnight East Coast time -- Tesla Motors chief executive Elon Musk unveiled his new creation, the Model 3. Starting at $35,000, the car represents Tesla's first effort to bring an electric car to the masses," David Cho and Brian Fung report. "Musk said the car will be able to travel at least 215 miles per charge and will have several features of its more expensive sibling, the Model S. The four-door vehicle, for instance, will offer autopilot, which enables the vehicle to drive itself on the highways and other roads. While the car won't be delivered until late 2017, fans of the company flocked to its stores to sign up to buy one, with some camping out on sidewalks."
-- The CIA left “explosive training material” under the hood of a Loudoun County school bus, which shuttled students for two days before it was discovered by a technician during a routine maintenance check. Langley described the explosive material as a "putty-type" substance designed for use on a BATTLEFIELD. From Clarence Williams and Moriah Balingit: "‘We’re all very upset by what happened, but we’re going to review everything,’ said Loudoun schools spokesman Wayde Byard. ‘Obviously we’re concerned.’ CIA officials acknowledged the error in a statement, saying the materials were ‘incredibly stable’ and ‘did not pose a danger to students.’ Authorities said the CIA’s training program has been suspended until a thorough review of procedures is complete."
-- Speaking of explosives, the Peoria, Illinois, airport shut down for several hours after a TSA agent discovered three sticks labeled “dynamite,” an aerosol can, and a mason jar filled with liquid. The 38-year old woman attempting to check the bag told police that the items were used to train abortion clinic employees on how to properly identify suspicious or dangerous items. She had been in town to conduct a training exercise, per Mark Berman. (The "dynamite” sticks turned out to be dog treats.)
GET SMART FAST:
- California lawmakers approved legislation raising its minimum wage to $15. (LA Times)
- Not to be outdone, New York announced a similar budget agreement just hours later: Their deal raises the minimum wage in NYC to $15 by the end of 2018, with a softer phase-in period for the rest of the state. (New York Times)
- Last but not least, the Montgomery County Council is also considering legislation to go to $15/hour. (Bill Turque)
- The Chinese insurance firm trying to buy Starwood Hotels abandoned its bid, putting an end to the weeks-long bidding war with Marriott. The group said it was pulling out “due to various market considerations.” (Abha Bhattarai)
- A man opened fire at a Greyhound station in Richmond, killing a Virginia state trooper and injuring two civilians. The gunman was fatally shot by police. (Peter Hermann, Jenna Portnoy and Justin Jouvenal)
- A federal judge struck down Mississippi’s ban on same-sex adoption, ruling that the law violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. (Fred Barbash)
- Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) said he “remains opposed” to legislation that would make the Bible the official state book, saying that would run afoul of both U.S. and state constitutions. (Knoxville News Sentinel)
- A Maryland court ruled police must obtain a warrant before using covert cellphone-tracking devices, becoming the first court in the country to rebuke police for use of a “stingray” cell site simulator. (Spencer S. Hsu)
- At least six people were killed, and 23 injured, in a bomb blast targeting security personnel in southeast Turkey. (Brian Murphy)
- GE asked federal regulators to lift the “too big to fail” label on its lending unit, allowing the firm to escape heightened levels of government oversight. The request comes just one day after feds sided with MetLife over the same regulation. (Renae Merle)
- The Philadelphia City Council passed a resolution officially apologizing to the late Jackie Robinson for the racism he endured while visiting the city in 1947. (Yanan Wang)
- A French minister drew condemnation after likening veil-wearing Muslims to “American negroes” who supported slavery. (Niraj Chokshi)
- Five members of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team filed a wage discrimination complaint with the EEOC, saying they were paid nearly four times less than their male counterparts despite generating more revenue. (Matt Bonesteel)
- A German soccer team took an unusual stand against racism … by photoshopping their entire team photo to appear in blackface. The players were attempting to stand in solidarity with two Sudanese teammates, who were the subject of racially-motivated attacks. (Elahe Izadi)
- Federal employee health plans will cover “applied behavior analysis,” or ABA therapy, starting next year. The intensive, one-on-one treatment has been proven highly effective for children on the autism spectrum. (Eric Yoder)
- An Arizona police officer was charged with second-degree murder after fatally shooting an unarmed man, who cried and “begged officers not to shoot.” (Lindsey Bever)
- Massachusetts cops are being more widely armed with Tasers to reduce fatal officer-involved shootings. (Boston Globe)
- Ferguson, Mo. tapped a Miami police major to be its new police chief. (Matt Zapotosky)
- A TV anchor in Pittsburgh was fired after writing on Facebook that gunmen in a deadly ambush shooting were "young black men" raised by single mothers, though police had yet to release a description of the suspects. (Yanan Wang)
- Texas authorities are investigating why a 14-month-old girl died after a visit to the dentist. (KXAN-TV)
-- A new court filing adds fresh details about this week's Capitol shooting: Larry Russell Dawson, 66, of Antioch, Tenn., allegedly pointed a spring-loaded BB gun at the officers manning a security checkpoint in the Visitor Center before was shot twice. Spencer S. Hsu: “Dawson faces a federal charge of assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers or employees with a dangerous weapon as well as a federal charge of assaulting a federal law enforcement officer with a dangerous weapon … He remains hospitalized in critical condition with what police described as gunshot wounds to the chest and thigh. … Dawson will appear in U.S. District Court when he is released from the hospital and is likely to face detention. … The two counts carry a statutory maximum of 25 years and 30 years in prison, respectively. … Police said they held in storage a silver 2015 Dodge Ram 1500 truck.”
-- Friendly reminder: Today is April Fool's Day. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. But this is no joke: China has banned hoaxing and playing practical jokes. “’April Fools' Day’ is not consistent with our cultural tradition, or socialist core values,” state news agency Xinhua announced on social media Friday. “Hope nobody believes in rumors, makes rumors or spreads rumors.” (Simon Denyer has more.)
THE DAILY DONALD:
-- Trump met with Reince Priebus at the RNC chairman's office, two days after walking back his earlier pledge to support the GOP nominee. Trump told Fox News that the meeting was productive. “They are good people, [and it] was a terrific meeting, I think,” said Trump. “A unity meeting. I get along with people very well.” Jose A. DelReal: "Trump also met with several foreign policy advisers while in Washington — a team whose members he has not fully disclosed, but which he said will be unveiled (today). The meeting took place at the Old Post Office Pavilion, which the billionaire is transforming into a Trump-branded hotel."
Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin describe the session as a “clearing of the air": “Priebus laid out for the party’s front-runner the need for the committee and Mr. Trump’s campaign to have a good relationship, according to the three people,” they write in the New York Times. “Mr. Priebus, who was joined by the committee’s chief operating officer, Sean Cairncross, and its chief of staff, Katie Walsh, told Mr. Trump and his team that the party wanted to be helpful to him but that it was difficult to do so in the face of his routine criticism, according to those briefed. Mr. Trump was joined by his son, Donald Trump Jr.; his lawyer, Donald F. McGahn; his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski; and two other aides.”
- “When Mr. Priebus explained that each campaign needed to be prepared to fight for delegates at each state’s convention, Mr. Trump turned to his aides and suggested that they had not been doing what they needed to do…”
- “In recent days, Mr. Priebus, who insists that the committee has stayed scrupulously neutral throughout the contentious primary fight, has also let it be known that he does not plan to let the Trump campaign take over the party apparatus if he captures the nomination. At an off-the-record happy hour with reporters last week, Mr. Priebus said clearly that, regardless of precedent, he would not be layered over by Mr. Trump’s loyalists.”
-- Trump again, last night on Fox, refused to take the use of nuclear weapons off the table as a component of military confrontations. He more recently has suggested that countries like Japan and South Korea may be justified in pursuing the development of their own nuclear weapons in service of their own defense. The White House denounced this as a “catastrophic" idea during a global summit in D.C. that is devoted to limiting proliferation. (David Nakamura)
-- The 15-year-old Janesville teen who got pepper sprayed outside Trump’s rally is now facing disorderly conduct charges related to punching a man. She said he sexually assaulted her, but police said there is “no evidence” that this occurred. (WEAU)
-- The battle for delegates is only going to get nastier:
Some are trying to use Trump going back on the loyalty pledge as an excuse to take away his 50 pledged delegates in South Carolina: From Time's Zeke Miller: “The Palmetto State was one of several that required candidates to pledge their loyalty to the party’s eventual nominee in order to secure a slot on the primary ballot. Though Trump won all of the state’s delegates in the Feb. 20 primary, anti-Trump forces are plotting to contest their binding to Trump because of his threat … ‘Breaking South Carolina’s presidential-primary-ballot pledge raises some unanswered legal questions that no one person can answer,’ said state party chairman Matt Moore. ‘However, a court or national convention Committee on Contests could resolve them. It could put delegates in jeopardy.’” (Worth adding: Cruz and Kasich walked back their pledges the same night, so they're guilty of this alleged infraction too.)
Could this actually happen? Philip Bump reminds us that the convention “isn’t a Super Bowl game”: “Ripping away delegates on a pretext like the one above would not go over well. At the end of the day, a lot of Republican leaders would rather not be seen as having stolen the nomination from the guy who got the most votes.”
The RNC launched ConventionFacts.GOP to provide answers to frequently-asked questions about how an open convention would work.
Cruz is flying to North Dakota this weekend to speak at the state GOP convention in an effort to win over the delegates that are up for grabs. Trump surrogate Ben Carson will speak too. A crowd of 1,800 is expected in Fargo.
Playing hardball: Cruz’s campaign is trying to knock Kasich off Montana’s primary ballot by questioning the validity of his signatures. (AP)
-- The Texas senator also said Trump “does not have the option” of running as a third-party candidate should he lose the GOP nomination. “Quite a few states across the country have ‘sore-loser laws,’ Cruz told radio host Charlie Sykes. “Once you run as a Republican and lose, you don’t get to turn around and file [a ballot] as an independent … that will not be an option available to him.”
-- Cruz continues to have momentum in Wisconsin. Last night’s Fox Business poll gave him a 10-point lead over Trump (42 percent to 32 percent), with John Kasich at 19 percent. A Marquette University poll one day earlier also put Cruz up 10 points over Trump (40-30).
Trump is back in the state tomorrow and still thinks he can pull it out (or at least win several of the congressional districts). “I’m not going to let anything happen in Wisconsin,” he said earlier this week. “We have to win. Look, we have to put these politicians in their place, folks.”
A Trump loss to Cruz increases the likelihood of a contested convention. But “a loss in Wisconsin would not necessarily affect the outcomes of future states,” Jose A. DelReal notes. “The next big contest is Trump’s home state of New York, where he is favored to win. A string of primaries in East Coast states in April could pad his delegate lead. The next Midwest contest, in Indiana, is not until May 3.”
Scott Walker cut a 30-second spot for Cruz: “He’ll challenge the status quo, just like we’ve done in Wisconsin,” the governor says direct to camera, describing the senator as “the only conservative who can beat Hillary Clinton.”
To give you an idea of how significant Walker's endorsement has been, here is a word cloud of all social media mentions of Cruz in Wisconsin over the past five days, via our analytics partners at Zignal Labs:
MORE ON THE DEMOCRATIC RACE:
-- Empire State of Mind: Clinton is now emphasizing her accomplishments in the Senate as she campaigns in New York. It’s a strategy that her aides hope will play well against Sanders and, in particular, political novice Trump. Abby Phillip: “On Thursday, Clinton campaigned in the Westchester County suburbs, waxing nostalgic about moving nearby in 1999 … Clinton (will today) be in Syracuse, where she is expected to focus on manufacturing jobs she has taken credit for helping bring to Upstate communities as senator.
A handicap for Bernie, flagged by John Wagner: “Sanders faces the added challenge that he will not be able to count on independent voters — who have broken for him in previous contests — in the New York primary, which is closed to non-Democrats.” “If you look at New York state politics of the last four or five years, there’s been an increasing progressive tilt with regard to elections,” said Phil Singer, a former aide to Clinton in her 2008 presidential campaign and a longtime aide of Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). “Bernie is doing very, very well with liberals and progressives. I don’t think it’s a surprise that it would be a 10-point victory for Hillary as opposed to a 30-point victory for Hillary.”
An asset for Hillary, flagged by Amy Chozick in the New York Times: "In the years since he left the White House, Bill Clinton has become a New Yorker. He has an office in Harlem, sits in courtside seats at Nets games and spends summers days in Hampton enclaves. He’s also spent years schmoozing with nearly every elected official, union leader and constituency that makes this city work. And his efforts are paying off … As Sanders hopes for an upset to humiliate Mrs. Clinton on her home turf, the Clintons are grinding for a victory. On Monday, Mr. Clinton met more than 50 religious and community leaders in Harlem and Queens to discuss issues that have particular resonance among African-Americans. The former president held similar meetings with Latino leaders in the Bronx at sessions that included Congressman José E. Serrano and the Bronx borough president."
A mixed bag: “De Blasio falls in behind Hillary." Politico's Annie Karni: “Bill de Blasio pledged his loyalty to Clinton, but the primary has put de Blasio in a real bind …. And his support may not be as devout as Clinton is hoping for. Sanders is the candidate espousing the cause of economic inequality that de Blasio stands for … But he owes a political debt to Clinton. ‘I’m trying to live out my values,’ he explained. ‘I have a long history with Hillary ... she’s put forth a real vision.’ He doesn’t hide his admiration for Sanders, however. And some of his closest aides thought he mayor should have endorsed Sanders in the primary, despite the sense of obligation. ‘I’m not going to say I haven’t met Bernie supporters who have said ‘you should be with us,’ said de Blasio, who won the mayoralty on a message of raising taxes on the wealthy. But he insisted that between Clinton and Sanders, there are ‘a lot of shared values in their vision.’”
-- A sign that HRC is more nervous than her campaign acknowledges: Clinton went out of her way to attack Bernie for not talking enough about Trump’s abortion gaffe, suggesting that the Vermont senator sees the choice issue as a “distraction” from economic issues. “We need a president who is passionate about [this],” said Clinton, “seeing it as a top priority … because women’s health care is under assault.” (Abby Phillip)
-- Most American voters view immigrants positively – but most Trump supporters don’t. A new Pew Research survey shows just how sharply Democrats and Republicans are divided in their views over immigrants and Muslims in 2016. From Pamela Constable:
- Nationwide, 57 percent said immigrants strengthen the country through work and talent, while 35 percent said immigrants are a burden.
- Among Trump voters, 69 percent called immigrants a drain on society. Supporters of Cruz were mixed, with 51 percent seeing immigrants as a burden and 36 percent as a boon.
- On the Democratic side, 78 percent who back Clinton and 82 percent who favor Sanders said immigrants are a positive addition.
- “On the separate topic of whether Muslims in the U.S. should be subjected to greater scrutiny at a time of terrorist attacks and refugee surges, 61 percent of all voters said no, as did 79 percent of Democrats. Trump supporters took the opposite view, with 64 percent supporting such scrutiny.”
SUPREME COURT STANDOFF:
-- President Obama will travel to the University of Chicago next Thursday to deliver an address on the vacancy. Not only is it where he once taught, but Merrick Garland was raised in a Chicago suburb. (Mike DeBonis)
-- George Mason will rename its law school in honor of the late Justice Antonin Scalia. The university unveiled the news alongside the announcement of a $30 million donation made to the school. (WSJ)
-- Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) said he will meet with Garland one-on-one next week. Both of Oklahoma's senators, James Lankford and James Inhofe, said they are willing to meet with Garland, though no meeting has been set up yet. (Politico)
-- A group of Second Amendment lawyers defended Garland’s record on guns, arguing that the NRA’s attacks on him are “based on an extraordinary misrepresentation of his record.” (Mike DeBonis)
-- USA Today flags that Garland actually heard a case involving Trump's campaign manager in 2003: “Garland was one of three appeals court judges who denied Corey Lewandowski's effort to get his pistol back," Richard Wolf writes. "Seventeen years ago, Lewandowski was arrested for carrying what court records say was a loaded pistol, three magazines, a holster and several rounds of ammunition in an overnight bag into a House building. He was charged with a misdemeanor, and the charges eventually were dismissed. For four years [after the incident] Lewandowski fought to get the gun back, filing lawsuits in four D.C. and federal courts, and eventually seeking $50,000 for ‘loss of property and mental anguish,’ which promoted the appeal to Garland’s court. In 2003, Garland and two conservative judges became the fourth court to deny Lewandowski's effort.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
-- Zignal Bonus: The most popular Trump-related story over the last five days on social media is about his 22 year-old daughter Tiffany's sometimes risque Instagram posts. It has been mentioned on Twitter more than 83,000 times since March 27. Our analytics partners at Zignal Labs call this a good example of something that dominates social media for whatever reason but never gets mentioned in traditional media. "We see this from time to time," says Zignal's Anthony York. "Usually, it's an Internet-based item like a Vine or viral video. But we also saw it when Wikileaks published a searchable data base of Clinton's private emails."
California lawmakers celebrated Cesar Chavez Day:
The Clinton campaign chairman called for Sanders to be on the ballot in D.C.:
Seth Moulton posted a selfie from Jerusalem:
The New York tabloids piled on Trump for saying women who get abortions should be punished:
A poster for a Sanders event:
This was big news on social media:
Rand Paul teased a big announcement:
Illinois Rep. Peter Roskam (R) and CNN anchor Jake Tapper went back and forth about pizza:
The mayor of New York, meanwhile, stuck up for Kasich, who has been widely ridiculed for eating pizza with a fork and knife during a visit to the city:
Pranksters started a fake State Department parody account to mock the government's Spring break tips:
Susan Sarandon and Debra Messing are still fighting about 2016 on Twitter:
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
-- Buzzfeed, “Top Conservative Writer Is A Group Effort, Sources Say,” by Joseph Bernstein: “A leading voice of the new ‘alt-right,’ Breitbart.com tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos, does not write many of the articles that appear under his byline on the conservative news site, said two sources who worked directly with him. The sources also suggest that much of the commentator’s work is written by a bevy of mostly unpaid personal interns. Yiannopoulos confirmed that he has ‘about 44’ interns, ‘a mix of paid and unpaid,’ writing and conducting research for him. ‘Milo Yiannopoulos is not one person,’ said one Breitbart employee. ‘That person does not exist. It is a collective consciousness of various different people who come and go.’ Yiannopoulos directs these personal interns — who are not associated with Breitbart — through a private group on the chat service Slack, though he insisted that this kind of delegation was normal for public figures, ‘I take a much more hands-on approach than most people,’ said Yiannopoulos.”
-- The Birmingham News, “Gov. Bentley scandal: Jon Mason refuses to explain $245,600 from UA, couple's complex financial web,” by Connor Sheets: “As the scandal over Gov. Robert Bentley's alleged sexual relationship with former adviser Rebekah Mason continues, Mason and her husband Jon's financial dealings have come under increasing scrutiny. An in-depth analysis of the couple's finances reveals they have their hands in many pots of money via a complicated network of companies, consultancy, and government appointments … Since 2010, records show the University of Alabama paid JRM Enterprises – founded in 2005 by Jon Mason – a total of $245,600. Meanwhile, Rebekah founded RCM in 2013. The firm is based out of the Masons' home just a short drive from Bentley's, which list the nature of RCM's business as ‘consulting services.’ A review of state records showed RCM appears not to have received payments from state agencies … But Bentley's campaign committee paid RCM $503,809.13 between July 2013 and Nov. 2015. In addition to their business dealings, the Masons spent much of the past five years working for Bentley and the state.”
HOT ON THE LEFT
“Businesses Up The Pressure On NC Governor Over Anti-LGBT Law,” from Talking Points Memo: “Since North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory last week signed rushed legislation that keeps local governments from passing anti-discrimination measures that protect gay and transgender individuals, pressure from businesses has only increased. [And now,] both A&E and Fox said that they may not film future projects in North Carolina due to the new law … ‘Production on ‘Six’ is already under way, however we will not consider North Carolina for any new productions,’ a spokesman for A&E said in a statement.”
HOT ON THE RIGHT
“Colorado's Democratic governor says no to EPA ozone rules,” from the Washington Examiner: John Hickenlooper "says it would be a good idea for the Environmental Protection Agency to suspend its new regulations for smog-forming ozone. Manufacturers and industry groups have called the ozone standards the most costly in history … And the groups say many states are still trying to comply with the previous round of standards. The governor said his state is going to keep moving to improve the air quality in the state every year, but ‘to be punitive when you're working as hard as you can … to get cleaner air as rapidly as you can, it seems like it's not the most constructive stance.’”
On the campaign trail: Sanders and Kasich are in Wisconsin. Here is the rundown:
- Clinton: Syracuse, N.Y.
- Sanders: Sheboygan, Green Bay, Wis.
- Kasich: Hershey, Camp Hill, Pa.; Milwaukee, Wis.
At the White House: President Obama participates in the Nuclear Security Summit. Vice President Biden hosts President Michelle Bachelet of Chile at the Naval Observatory and attends meetings at the White House.
On Capitol Hill: The Senate and House are not in session.
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- Beautiful Friday temps are sadly tempered by thunderstorms! (But at least allergy sufferers will enjoy some relief.) The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “An area of showers with perhaps embedded thunder works this way prior to sunrise … Any early-day batch of rain comes through the area it should come between about 7 a.m. and noon. The heaviest may try to overlap the morning commute, so do plan on it taking some extra time. We’ll also have to watch for another round of storms late day. This seems like it should be isolated and mainly focused north or east of us. Any storm that forms could be strong to isolated severe. The main threat there would be damaging winds. Small hail, lightning, and torrential downpours are a risk as well.”
-- Five fires have been set at a St. Mary’s dormitory during the past week, alarming students and raising concerns over campus safety. The attacks come after months of rising racial tensions on campus, including incidents involving Confederate flags and swastikas. (Susan Svrluga)
Metro's general manager responded to concerns about lines shutting down for repairs:
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Chris Christie gave a radio interview in defense of the way he eats M&Ms:
The Game of Thrones cast played a guessing game on video:
A passenger on the hijacked EgyptAir jet took a picture with the hijacker:
A super PAC that backs Kasich called Cruz a liar:
Protesters rallied against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan outside his speech to the Brookings Institution in D.C.:
Activists covered stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with the names of African Americans who have been killed by police:
A camera captured the moment an overpass collapsed in India (more video here):
Planned Parenthood Action and Priorities USA, the Hillary super PAC, launched a small five-figure digital buy to highlight Trump’s abortion gaffe. The 30-second spot offers a taste of how Democrats could use the blunder in the fall:
Wrestler "Stone Cold" Steve Austin talked with Men's Journal about the time he faux-wrestled Trump. The nine-year-old clip has been making the rounds: