THE BIG IDEA:
-- A fresh Washington Post/ABC News poll underscores how difficult it would be for Donald Trump to win a general election – if he can secure the Republican nomination in Cleveland.
- While just 3 in 10 Americans have good feelings about Trump, 67% hold an unfavorable view. (53% of the country sees Trump in a “strongly unfavorable” light.)
- Just 47% of Republican women view the billionaire positively. (It’s 64% among men.)
- Two-thirds of independents have an unfavorable view of Trump, as do 74% of Americans under age 40, 75% of women overall and 81% of Hispanics. Majorities in all four of those groups describe these feelings as strong.
-- “Should those ratings fail to improve, Trump’s potential path to victory rides on a surge in support and turnout among whites, particularly those without college degrees,” say Post pollsters Scott Clement and Emily Guskin. “Yet Trump’s image among both groups is underwater.”
- 59% of whites now view Trump negatively.
- 52% of non-college-educated whites, who have been Trump’s base of support in the primaries, tilt negative.
-- The problem for the Stop Trump movement is that 56% of self-identified Republicans still view the front-runner positively. Ted Cruz is at 58%, as a point of comparison, and John Kasich is at 47%. Cruz’s is viewed unfavorably by 53% of Americans at-large, BUT only 33% see him in a strongly negative light. (Compared to 53% for Trump.)
-- Whether he wins or not, our poll shows how extremely difficult it will be for the GOP to unite after Cleveland: Among Republicans who rate Cruz favorably, 46% have a favorable view of Trump while 52% see him unfavorably, Scott and Emily note. “Trump supporters are similarly mixed on Cruz, with 48% seeing him positively and 51% negatively. Nearly 3 in 10 Republicans only have a favorable impression of Trump, disliking both Cruz and Kasich.”
-- Another proof point: Morning Consult, which is constantly in the field with online polls, compiled all 44,000 responses it has collected since the start of the year. Dartmouth political scientist Kyle Dropp, the firm’s data guru, divided up the respondents by state. He concludes that Hillary Clinton has a significant edge in the Electoral College against both Trump and Cruz. In hypothetical matchups, based on the average of state-by-state, head-to-head polling, Kasich is the only Republican who emerged with the most electoral votes against Clinton. Hillary, despite her own vulnerabilities, got 328 electoral votes to 210 for Trump. Clinton actually leads Cruz by a slightly larger margin (332-206). “It is important to note that while this model awards electoral votes to whoever has the plurality of the vote, a number of states are within the margin of error,” the Consult notes. About 20% of voters are undecided. (Read a white paper explain Kyle and his team's methodology here. See the state-by-state projections here.)
-- I’ve just returned to Washington after three days in Raleigh, where Gov. Pat McCrory is living the Republican identity crisis. After defending a new law rolling back local government protections for gay and transgender people, he’s now in damage control mode and calling for legislative fixes.
McCrory’s delicate dance shows how a Republican governor, elected four years ago by mobilizing a coalition of suburban centrists and rural conservatives, is struggling to navigate the wildly shifting contours of the modern-day GOP as he readies for a tough reelection campaign this fall.
Many Republicans felt that HB2 would energize evangelical voters who have been skeptical of McCrory, especially after he vetoed a religious-exemption bill a year ago that allowed court magistrates to opt out of administering gay marriages. But, over the past three weeks, McCrory was caught off-guard by the backlash over HB2 from another pillar of the GOP — corporate America.
The governor does not want evangelicals to think he caved to pressure from big business, but he also wants to convince his friends in the country-club wing of the party that he understands the law overreached. (Read my full story here.)
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WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- A Florida state attorney declined to prosecute Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski for battery following his altercation with former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields. Fields may still pursue a potential defamation case -- but the official announcement is still good news for Lewandowski, whose role on the campaign seems to be shrinking since Trump's loss in Wisconsin. (Sean Sullivan)
Prosecutor's office told me they would inform me of decision tomorrow. If reports true, guess they decided to leak to reporters first. Ugly.— Michelle Fields (@MichelleFields) April 14, 2016
For those asking, office of prosecutor asked 2 weeks ago if I'd be ok with an apology from Corey. I said ya but haven't heard back about it— Michelle Fields (@MichelleFields) April 14, 2016
-- Cringe-worthy moment of the day: Trump called for bringing back Joe Paterno at his Pittsburgh rally last night. “I know a lot about Pennsylvania, and it’s great,” Trump said. “How’s Joe Paterno?” Trump asked. “We’re gonna bring that back? Right? How about that whole deal?” Paterno died in 2012. "A campaign spokesperson subsequently clarified that Trump was referring to Paterno’s statue, which was taken down in 2012 in the wake of the scandal at Penn State involving former Paterno assistant Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse of children," Des Bieler reports. "It is true that many Penn State fans feel that Paterno was unjustly fired and want to see his pre-Sandusky legacy restored. But even with that, there’s the fact that Trump was pandering to Penn State fans while in Pittsburgh." You couldn't make this stuff up. Watch here:
-- Three big basketball developments:
- The Washington Wizards fired head coach Randy Wittman. He was canned at Verizon Center minutes after the season ended with a 109-98 win over the Atlanta Hawks, sources tell Jorge Castillo.
- The Golden State Warriors broke the record for most wins in a regular season. (Tim Bontemps)
- In an extraordinary storybook ending, Kobe Bryant scored 60 points in the final game of his 20-year NBA career. "He scored 23 points in the fourth quarter, posting his first 50-point game since February 2009 and rallying the Lakers from a 15-point deficit to win the final game of the worst season in franchise history," the AP reports. “What else can I say?” Bryant asked. “Mamba out.”
GET SMART FAST:
- Another provocation by Putin: Russian jets buzzed a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Baltic Sea. The incidents occurred Monday and Tuesday, with the planes making multiple passes by the USS Donald Cook while it was traveling in international waters," the Pentagon told Dam Lamothe.
- The leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee released a draft encryption bill that would compel American companies to turn over data to the government under court order. (Karoun Demirjian)
- The Chicago Police Department is plagued by a lack of community trust and racial bias, a task force that was commissioned by Mayor Rahm Emanuel says in a new report. (Mark Berman)
- A judge sentenced “affluenza teen” Ethan Couch to two years in prison. The 19-year-old got probation after he killed four people while driving drunk. Afterwards, Couch and his mom fled to Mexico. (Dallas Morning News)
- The CDC conclusively linked Zika to microcephaly and other fetal abnormalities. (Lena H. Sun)
- John Kerry said human rights abuses “spawn terrorism.” (Carol Morello)
- Louisiana's Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards, signed an executive order extending protections for LBGT individuals, saying “discrimination is not a Louisiana value.” (Niraj Chokshi)
- Kentucky’s Democratic attorney general is suing Republican Gov. Matt Bevin to stop him from cutting budgets for public colleges and universities in the state. (Danielle Douglas-Gabriel)
- Former Reuters journalist Matthew Keys was sentenced to two years in federal prison for helping the group Anonymous hack into the LA Times website. (New York Times)
- Students at the University of California-Davis are calling for the resignation of the chancellor after it emerged that the school spent tens of thousands of dollars scrubbing the internet of negative online postings in the wake of a 2011 pepper spray incident between police and students. (The Sacramento Bee)
- A remote Canadian town issued a state of emergency after 11 residents attempted suicide in a single night. Officials said there have been more than 100 suicide attempts in the town since October, including 28 in March. (Elahe Izadi)
-- ISIS, in its propaganda magazine, threatened to kill top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.). Last night, the congressman responded with a moving statement of defiance:
My statement on Daesh's threat. pic.twitter.com/yqlDowchu6— Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison) April 13, 2016
-- Speaking of ISIS, Obama told reporters after a meeting at CIA headquarters that the United States is "going to win" the fight against the group. Their "barbarism only stiffens our unity and determination to wipe this vile terrorist organization from the face of the earth," he said. "I want to remind Americans again what Boston taught us: how to be strong, how to be resilient."
MORE ON THE DONALD:
-- Trump, trying to professionalize his campaign, hired Rick Wiley as national political director. Wiley managed Scott Walker’s failed presidential bid, and he's been working at the National Republican Senatorial Committee since last fall. “Wiley arrives with a mandate from Trump to beef up the campaign’s field operations in the states with primaries ahead, including delegate-rich California, as well as prepare for what the Trump team views as a likely general election," Philip Rucker reports.
Several GOP operatives from D.C. and Wisconsin reached out to offer up blind quotes attacking Wiley over his performance as Walker's manager. Others tweeted:
Insane self-delusion. There will be no saviors for the history books. Only embarrassment & a resume scarlet letter pic.twitter.com/rnkCe4GohG— Tim Miller (@Timodc) April 13, 2016
Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol called attention to this old tweet from Wiley:
Scott Walker Attacks Donald Trump, Likens Him to Obama | The Weekly Standard http://t.co/xCTl5WJYOk— Rick Wiley (@rick_wiley) September 17, 2015
-- Megyn Kelly met with Trump at Trump Tower at her request. The Fox News anchor spoke about the sit-down on her show last night: "Yes, the doormen seemed a bit stunned when I walked in," she said. "We met for about an hour, just the two of us, and had a chance to clear the air. Mr. Trump and I discussed the possibility of an interview, and I hope we will have news to announce on that soon."
-- Want to know why Trump is going to win big in New York? Take a ride on the Staten Island Ferry at rush hour. "There’s the construction worker who is convinced Trump will stop ‘pussyfooting around’ when it comes to terrorism. There’s the Hungarian immigrant tow-truck driver who says Trump speaks his language. This is Trump’s city, and these are his people," Rucker writes on A1. "They say they know Trump and believe in him, even though they’ve never met him. For decades, they’ve been reading about his exploits in the tabloids ... They see Trump as the human embodiment of their city’s spirit and ambition. He’s big and brash and unafraid. ‘He’s a New Yorker, you know?’ says Frank Manzo."
-- When the GOP won the Senate majority, Mitch McConnell told Republicans: “Don’t be scary.” The warning was meant to keep back-bench conservatives in line and stop them from scaring voters away from the 2016 nominee. But the opposite has occurred. “Despite some modest success at governance, Republican majorities on Capitol Hill are imperiled because the tone and proposals coming from GOP presidential contenders have terrified independent voters in key battlegrounds," Paul Kane notes. "And blunt-force approaches taken by Cruz and Trump have only hampered the efforts of Republicans up for reelection." As Indiana Sen. Dan Coats said "The presidential race has hijacked everything that the Congress does or tries to do."
Vulnerable Republicans cannot distance themselves from the GOP candidates fast enough: "Each day the Senate is in session, there’s visible angst among Sens. Kelly Ayotte, Ron Johnson, Rob Portman, and Patrick J. Toomey as they walk to votes and face questions about what Trump’s latest controversial proposal or insult means for their reelection chances … One doesn’t need a stopwatch to know that these senators walk faster than they used to in order to get through the media scrums.”
-- Paul Ryan raised $17 million last quarter. More than $9 million of it came from donors and PACs who cut checks larger than $50,000, according to Politico's Jake Sherman. Billionaire Charles Koch and his wife Elizabeth gave Ryan $488,400 in March alone.
MORE ON THE REPUBLICAN RACE:
-- The New York Daily News endorsed Kasich, praising his “maturity and pragmatism.” “Kasich’s qualifications are all the clearer – screamingly so – when matched against those of competitors Donald Trump and Ted Cruz,” the board writes.
-- A pro-Cruz super PAC launched a $500,000 ad campaign in New York, aimed at boosting the Texas senator and undercutting Kasich before next week’s primary contest. Kellyanne Conway said the group plans to air the ads in the Albany, Binghamton, Elmira, Olean, Poughkeepsie, Syracuse, Rochester, Utica-Rome and Watertown areas. Trying to pick up delegates, the group will also organize on the ground in the 7th, 9th and 15th Congressional Districts, which are heavily Democratic areas in New York City. (Sean Sullivan and Katie Zezima)
-- Despite his relative unpopularity in the state, Cruz is not exactly distancing himself from the whole “New York values” thing. The Texas senator used his first ad buy in New York to attack the mayor – hitting Bill De Blasio for his “socialist” policies that are “tearing the city apart.” (David Weigel)
Cruz's radio spot, which claims NYC's murder rate is up 10 percent under De Blasio, drew a swift rebuke from the city's police commissioner:
Shocking that @TedCruz is wrong, again, in his radio ad. Murders are down 20% in NYC. Stop & frisk never went away. Facts matter— Commissioner Bratton (@CommissBratton) April 13, 2016
To say something so factually inaccurate is an insult to the men and women of the NYPD keeping our city safe.— Commissioner Bratton (@CommissBratton) April 13, 2016
-- Ted Cruz again opened the door to possibly picking Marco Rubio as his running mate during a CNN town hall last night. Cruz credited the Florida senator with inspiring his own Senate bid in 2012: "Anyone would naturally look at Marco as one of the people who would be a terrific person to consider for VP, and we're in the process now of considering a number of different options," Cruz told Anderson Cooper. He added: "He would be someone that you would be a fool not to look at seriously."
- Cruz also accused Trump’s campaign of acting like “union boss thugs” to win the nomination: "Donald and his team, it's almost like they're subjects in a course in clinical psychology,” Cruz told Cooper. And he scoffed at Trump’s accusations that RNC rules were “stacked against him”: “What Donald doesn’t like is losing elections,” said Cruz. "Anyone who knows anything about Washington knows the establishment is not rooting for me!”
- The senator insisted he played no role in creating the “scorched-earth” nature of the campaign: "You could sit alone in the woods in the middle of nowhere," he said, "and somehow still hear Donald's tweets."
-- A New Jersey judge ruled Cruz can appear on the state’s primary ballot, rejecting an argument that he is not eligible to be president because of his Canadian birth. (NJ.com)
MORE ON THE DEMOCRATIC RACE:
-- Clinton and Sanders spent the day crisscrossing New York ahead of Tuesday's primary. While Clinton still leads Bernie Sanders in the state by an average of 13 points, the Vermonter has sliced her lead in half since early March. (Philip Bump)
Bernie made two shows of solidarity with labor unions, rallying alongside Communications Workers of America members on strike against Verizon and snagging an endorsement from the local Transport Workers Union. Last night, Hillary also visited the Verizon picket line. (David Weigel)
-- Clinton and Sanders both went on TV in Maryland with ads that invoke the deaths of African Americans in police custody. Early voting in the state begins today. An NBC-Marist poll released yesterday gave her a 22-point lead over Sanders (58-36). Our Washington Post-University of Maryland poll last week gave Clinton a 15-point lead, 55 to 40 percent. (Rachel Weiner)
-- Bernie is spending big on TV: The senator has run more commercials in each of the last six months than Hillary. (Chris Cillizza)
-- Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley (D) became the first senator to endorse Sanders. (New York Times op-ed)
-- Sanders said he would be “kicking himself forever” if he did not seize the opportunity to speak at the Vatican this Friday. His decision to leave New York – and for a 15-minute speech, no less – has stirred controversy. (Anne Gearan, John Wagner and Julie Zauzmer)
-- Sanders accused the pro-Clinton EMILY's List of abandoning House candidate Lucy Flores because she endorsed him. He emailed his fundraising list to ask his supporters to give her money to offset the lost support:
Bernie Sanders challenges the integrity of Emily's List - fascinating move here pic.twitter.com/DGvZqGt81s— David Sirota (@davidsirota) April 14, 2016
-- Sanders told Comedy Central host Larry Wilmore that the high volume of early southern primary contests “kind of distorts reality.” “Since we’ve been out of the South, we’ve been doing pretty well,” Sanders said of his campaign performance, noting he performs better in more “progressive” states. (John Wagner)
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
— ZIGNAL VISUAL: Trump supporters love to use EMOJIS.
The Donald dominates Twitter traffic among presidential candidates. But the way people tweet about Trump is also different than the way they post about the other candidates seeking the highest office in the land. Trump tweeters are more than twice as likely to use emojis than people tweeting about any other candidate. Over the last six weeks, our analytics partners at Zignal Labs have tracked more than 1.3 million Trump tweets with emojis.
Roughly two out of every three tweets with an emoji that also mentioned a presidential candidate were about Trump. And Trump earned a larger share of tweets with emojis (roughly 62 percent) than his share of overall Twitter traffic (44 percent) during the same six-week period. More than 248,000 tweets used the locomotive emoji -- the proverbial Trump Train. Here is a cloud of the top emojis used in connection with Trump on Twitter:
Among emotive tweeters, Sanders was second with slightly more than 501,000 illustrated Tweets. Clinton had just 122,000 emoji tweets, which may speak to her comparatively older following. Cruz had about 210,000 emoji-filled tweets over the same period, about 10 percent of the total share.
-- Karlie Kloss and Bill Nye were at the White House Science Fair. They clowned around with the kids:
Protesters are getting creative with their anti-Trump signs:
These are new. pic.twitter.com/05aEdfVZzi— Ali Vitali (@alivitali) April 13, 2016
Things heated up quickly:
Getting more intense here. Lots of shouting, some shoving between Trump supporters and protesters. pic.twitter.com/NViZQkJUJP— Ali Vitali (@alivitali) April 14, 2016
Clinton's celebrity supporters urged voters to back her in New York's primary:
Kasich said he eats ice cream with a fork:
Kasich also compared himself to a millennial:
John Kasich told reporters today, "I'm a 21st century thinker. As somebody said, 'you're really a millennial in an older man's body.'"— Kailani Koenig (@kailanikm) April 13, 2016
CNN's Dana Bash snapped a selfie with the Cruz girls:
Twitter was buzzing with news that Obama got episodes of "Game of Thrones" in advance:
GoT producer: "When the commander-in-chief says, 'I want to see advanced episodes,' what are you gonna do?" https://t.co/woJtXgdk70— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) April 13, 2016
Biden hung out with Olivia Wilde at an award ceremony for the World Food Program:
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) met with Merrick Garland:
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) interviewed Gloria Steinem for her podcast:
Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) reunited John McCain with an officer who once served with him:
Lawmakers celebrated Thomas Jefferson's birthday:
On the campaign trail: Clinton and Sanders debate in Brooklyn, N.Y., on CNN tonight. Trump, Cruz and Kasich are also in the Empire State to speak at the 2016 New York State Republican Gala (New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is a guest of honor):
- Trump: New York, N.Y.
- Cruz: New York, N.Y.
- Kasich: Jericho, New York, N.Y.
At the White House: President Obama and Vice President Biden welcome the Wounded Warrior Ride cycling event to the White House. Later, Biden holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Edi Rama of Albania, speaks at the White House It's On Us event against sexual assault and holds a meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
On Capitol Hill: The Senate meets at 9:30 a.m. to resume work on the FAA bill. The House meets at 12 p.m. for legislative business.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"It was more of an inquisition," Jane Sanders said of her husband's sit-down with the New York Daily News editorial board. "We didn't realize that they had planned to release the transcript." (CNN)
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- We will have a day of “abundant sunshine” and warmer weekend temps to come. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “Abundant sunshine makes the cool start to the day manageable. Light east winds and highs in the upper 50s to lower 60s deem the afternoon delightful with just a few puff ball clouds”
-- Top Metro officials and House members squared off at a contentious hearing on the transit agency’s problems. Via Paul Duggan, Lori Aratani and Robert McCartney: "The board chairman, Jack Evans, who has long argued that the federal government should contribute money to the transit system’s operating budget, pounded the witness table at the House hearing to make his point. 'All I’m asking you for is $300 million, which is your fair share, given the fact that we transport 50 percent of your workforce every day,' Evans shouted, meaning that he wants Congress to approve an annual contribution to Metro’s $1.7 billion operating budget roughly equal to what the District, Maryland and Virginia kick in. 'You want there to be safety? You want this to be reliable? Or do you just want to leave here and do nothing? ... Next time something happens, I’m blaming you guys, because we need your help.”
Rep. John L. Mica (R-Fla.) called Metro “the most screwed-up mess I’ve ever seen in business or government": "I’m not here to make up for bad management. I’m not here to make up for a poor safety record. I’m not here to make up for a lack of action. ... I’m not going to bail you out.”
Watch some highlights:
-- A super PAC supporting Donna Edwards in the Senate race was forced to change a campaign ad after the White House complained that it used “misleading” footage of the president. (Rachel Weiner)
-- Three brothers accused of recording a fatal shooting at a Prince George’s County police station allegedly planned to post the video online to gain notoriety. (Lynh Bui)
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Jimmy Fallon walked through the pros and cons of campaigning in New York:
Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue, appeared on Seth Meyers wearing a "Hilary '16" T-shirt:
A man and woman at a bar in Billings, Mont., were so focused on their flirtations that they remained oblivious to three armed robbers holding up the bar. "The Tap Inn released surveillance footage of the April 11 incident, showing multiple angles of the bar and casino," Jenny Starrs reports. "As the unidentified couple kissed and cuddled at the bar, three bandana-wearing individuals stormed in demanding money. The frantic bartender and his patrons all put their hands in the air — save the pair of lovebirds. They continued kissing while the robbers — two men and a woman — emptied the cash register feet away from the couple and swiped cash off the bar right in front of them." Watch the footage:
Bono suggested sending Amy Schumer abroad to counter violent extremism:
Clinton's campaign released another ad featuring Morgan Freeman:
Highlights from the Trump family town hall:
A radio ad in New York slams Trump for joking about dating his daughter Ivanka if he wasn't married and they were not related:
Cruz posted a 1-minute video of himself riding a rollercoaster on Twitter:
Finally, in a major medical breakthrough, a paralyzed man regained the ability to move one of his hands via brainwave: