The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The Daily 202: Obama’s brand faces a big test in Pennsylvania Senate primary

President Obama, continuing his Europe tour, steps off Air Force One in London. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

THE BIG IDEA: Tuesday will offer a valuable gauge of just how much juice Barack Obama has with Democrats in the eighth year of his presidency.

YORK, Pa.—Katie McGinty was running through the Pittsburgh airport last month when her phone rang with a number she didn’t recognize. The Democratic Senate candidate normally wouldn’t pick up, but she felt an urge to. It was Joe Biden, calling to say that he and President Obama wanted to endorse her.

At that point, she trailed in public and private polling to Joe Sestak. The retired admiral and former congressman won the 2010 Democratic primary despite Obama’s support for Arlen Specter, who had switched parties after realizing he could not get reelected as a Republican.

The race has moved in McGinty’s direction since Obama’s endorsement. With the primary tomorrow, polls now show a tight contest that could go either way. Monmouth University last week found the race to be tied. A Franklin & Marshall College survey, in the field around the same time, put Sestak up 6 points among registered Democrats. McGinty’s campaign responded with an internal poll that showed her ahead by 3 points, which is within the margin of error.

“It’s been electrifying,” McGinty said in an interview, reflecting on how the White House's support has changed the dynamic in the race.

Biden will campaign today with her in Philadelphia. The son of Scranton will also appear at a community college to announce $100 million in new grants.

McGinty’s closing ad prominently features Obama’s endorsement. “Katie will stand up to special interests to protect your right to health care, Social Security and equal pay for women,” the president says. (She’s also airing a radio ad with the president.)

-- “I don’t think it’s going to have that much of an effect,” Sestak said in an interview. “Don’t get me wrong, I have the greatest respect for him … But I haven’t asked anyone for an endorsement.” He complained that people are tired of back-room deals and power brokers telling them what to do.

As we spoke, though, his body man held a stack of flyers that included an old picture of Obama – from before he became president – campaigning with Sestak when he was running for House. The flyer noted that he “Passed Obamacare” and “Supported President Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill.”

Sestak has been running non-stop since he lost six years ago. He literally walked 422 miles across the state. He said he put 260,000 miles on his car and appeared at more than 800 events before even declaring his candidacy. The relationships he’s made, he’s convinced, matter more than an endorsement from an out-of-stater, even the president.

-- The winner of tomorrow’s primary will face Republican Sen. Pat Toomey this fall in one of the highest-profile and costliest congressional races of 2016. The Democratic establishment cannot stand Sestak. Party leaders see him as ornery and unwilling to take advice. He says they’re trying to control him. They say he could not defeat Toomey because he’s not willing to run a professional campaign. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has spent more than $2 million on TV ads to help McGinty through the primary.

-- The presidential primary, which Hillary Clinton is favored to win by double digits, will drive up turnout. The state’s vastness puts a premium on television advertising, and McGinty has a greater than two-to-one advantage in the air war. Bob Casey, the state’s senior senator, said he expects more than 1 million votes to be cast in the Democratic primary. He said most of these voters do not have deep impressions of McGinty, who he supports, because local news has been so saturated with coverage of Donald Trump and the Republicans. He thinks that makes the president’s endorsement – and ad – more potent.

-- Democrats familiar with private polling say that 58 percent of likely primary voters in Pennsylvania hold a “very positive” view of the president and 22 percent hold a “somewhat” positive view. The numbers, which came from a survey conducted at the very end of March, mean that 8 in 10 likely voters have good vibes about POTUS. Biden got similar marks: 49 percent saw him “very” positively and 32 percent saw him “somewhat” positively.

Private focus groups have shown that, while many Democrats are in an anti-establishment mood, base voters do not want to see Obama’s key legislative accomplishments rolled back by Republicans. The president has tailored his messaging accordingly.

-- Focused on his legacy and trying to win back the Senate, Obama is more willing to wade into contested Democratic primaries than he was in the past. He endorsed Ted Strickland in Ohio and Patrick Murphy in Florida over rivals to their left.

-- Bigger picture: What a difference two years makes. In 2014, Democrats across the map were afraid to be seen with the president. Very few are now. Trying to re-activate his coalition, Hillary Clinton links herself with the president every chance she gets. It’s a constant reminder of how much the atmospherics have changed since the midterms.

Another factor is that the battle for control of the Senate is being fought in blue states this year. In 2014, Democrats had to defend seven seats in states Obama had lost in 2012. In 2016, Republicans must defend seven seats in states Obama carried four years ago.

-- The Obama endorsement could make the biggest difference in the African American community. Hillary bested Obama by 9 points in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary eight years ago. That year, exit polls showed African Americans accounted for 13 percent of the electorate.

Sestak visited eight black church services yesterday. McGinty attended a mother-daughter communion event at her home church. “The bummer is, in the Catholic Church, they don’t let you preach,” she told three retired school principals afterward.

She made the joke as she worked the brunch crowd at Relish, a popular hangout in a heavily African American section of northwest Philadelphia. She was accompanied by Gov. Tom Wolf, who hired her as his chief of staff after beating her in a 2014 gubernatorial primary. They reminded diners that Obama’s supporting her.

On Saturday afternoon, both candidates spoke at an NAACP forum in York, about 100 miles west of Philly.

Sestak repeatedly quoted Martin Luther King Jr. and said he could not have won the primary in 2010 without African American support. “You embraced me when no one else did,” he told a crowd of 75.

McGinty name-dropped Beyoncé and spoke about working to expand Medicaid and putting a moratorium on the death penalty. She read the names of activists she’d worked with off a cue card.

“President Obama stood up for me. He’s in,” she said at the end of her speech. “But his good wishes won’t carry me across the finish line. Only your votes will.”

Welcome to the Daily 202, PowerPost's morning newsletter.
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-- A NEW PHASE IN THE GOP RACE: Ted Cruz and John Kasich are coordinating in an effort to stop Donald Trump from clinching the nomination before Cleveland. With Trump favored to win all five states that vote tomorrow, the Ohio governor has agreed to pull out of Indiana to help Cruz. In exchange, the Texas senator will step out of Oregon and New Mexico to boost Kasich's chances in those contests.

The calculus: "Limited public polling in Indiana has shown that Cruz stands the best chance of stopping Trump," report Sean Sullivan and David Weigel. "Cruz allies believe Kasich is siphoning votes away from him, as evidenced by a pro-Cruz TV ad released last week that urged voters not to back Kasich. A loss to Trump in Indiana would be a devastating blow to Cruz, who is hoping to undercut some of Trump's momentum heading into the final month of the race.”

The backstory: The deal was discussed privately last week on the sidelines of the Republican National Committee meeting in Florida and finalized yesterday in phone calls between Cruz campaign manager Jeff Roe and Kasich adviser John Weaver. 

Both campaigns urged outside groups to follow their lead. The two campaigns released statements within minutes of one another. This is what campaigning in a post Citizens United world looks like:

  • "We would hope that allies of both campaigns would follow our lead," Roe said in his statement. 
  • "We would expect independent third-party groups to do the same and honor the commitments made by the Cruz and Kasich campaigns," Weaver said in his.

Reality check: This alliance would have been much more effective if the campaigns had agreed to it a month ago. It might be too little, too late.

Could it backfire? There is a real risk that this will look like backroom deal-making and boost Trump's case to voters that the establishment is trying to rig the race to stop him. It might galvanize his supporters. 

The context: Cruz dominated the hunt for delegates yet again. He clinched 65 of the 94 delegates that were up for grabs this weekend. Ed O'Keefe breaks down his haul:

  • Cruz nearly swept Maine, winning won 19 of 20 available delegates.
  • He won 36 of the 37 available delegates in Utah. “His slate includes Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Mia Love. Three more seats will be awarded to state party leaders. Cruz gets all 40 votes on the first ballot.”
  • Cruz grabbed one of three available slots in South Carolina, while the other two went to an uncommitted delegate and a Kasich supporter.
  • In Minnesota, Republicans in three congressional districts elected Cruz supporters for each of the nine seats up for grabs. Marco Rubio won the state, meaning that he will get 17 of Minnesota's votes on the first ballot, while Cruz will get 13 and Trump eight.”

The delegate process continues next weekend in Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Delaware, Missouri and Virginia: “The contests in Arizona and Virginia are expected to be most closely watched, given that Trump won the state but Cruz and other anti-Trump forces have recruited candidates to run for open (slots).”

-- Embattled quarterback Johnny Manziel was indicted by a Dallas County grand jury on a charge of misdemeanor assault with bodily injury. The charge stems from an alleged January altercation in which the Heisman winner reportedly struck his ex-girlfriend so hard that she temporarily lost hearing in one ear. Colleen Crowley told police it happened during an argument about another woman: “She said that, after he forced her into his car, she jumped out and hid behind some bushes. When he found her and threw her back into the car, he struck her and told her that he was going to drop her off at her vehicle and then kill himself,” Des Bieler reports. “In March, Manziel was released by the Browns following two seasons marked by injury-marred, inconsistent play on the field and unrepentant partying off of it.”


  1. Obama announced the addition of 250 Special Operations troops to the American advisory force in Syria. (Missy Ryan, Karen DeYoung and Greg Jaffe)
  2. The administration is likely to declassify at least part of a 28-page chapter from a congressional inquiry into 9/11 “that may shed light on possible Saudi connections to the attackers.” (AP)
  3. The U.S. will use the military’s six-year-old Cyber Command to launch attacks against ISIS for the first time. (New York Times)
  4. House Republicans will take aim at the White House’s foreign policy planning apparatus in this year’s defense policy bill. House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry plans to offer an amendment “as soon as this week” to slash the National Security Council staff, increase Congressional oversight and subject the president’s national security adviser to a Senate confirmation process. (Karoun Demirjian)
  5. Saudi-backed forces in Yemen mounted a large-scale offensive to drive al-Qaeda militants out of their strongholds in the country’s south. The coordinated attacks on the group’s main base would be a first for the Saudi-led coalition, potentially signaling a major shift in the civil war. (Ali al-Mujahed and Hugh Naylor)
  6. North Korea fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile off its coast over the weekend, deepening concerns that the defiant country might conduct a nuclear test ahead of the Worker’s Party congress in May. (Anna Fifield)
  7. The Oklahoma legislature passed a bill that would revoke the licenses of many doctors who perform abortions. The mesasure now awaits the signature of Gov. Mary Fallin (R). (Niraj Chokshi)
  8. Ohio authorities called the execution-style slayings of eight family members, ages 16 to 44, a “pre-planned” attack and revealed that "marijuana-growing operations" were found at several of the crime scenes. (Katie Mettler)
  9. The New York Times Co. is reportedly preparing to lay off “a few hundred staffers” in the second half of this year. “The layoffs would likely occur between the Aug. 21 end of the summer Olympics in Brazil and Election Day on Nov. 8, the New York Post reports.
  10. A group of international experts faulted Mexico’s government for impeding the investigation into the abduction of 43 students in 2014. (Joshua Partlow)
  11. The entire police force in Green Mountain Falls, Colorado, resigned in a policy dispute with the newly-elected mayor. Reporters who attempted to visit the police headquarters said the building was empty and the lights were turned off. (Peter Holley)
  12. An 18-year-old Wisconsin teenager died after opening fire at his former high school’s prom with a high-powered rifle. Two students were shot and suffered non-life threatening injuries. (Peter Holley)
  13. A 20-year-old Connecticut man was arrested after threatening to bomb a Trump rally on Twitter. (WTNH)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TOMORROW'S "ACELA PRIMARY" (Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware and Maryland are the five states voting.)

-- Trump and Clinton are poised for double-digit wins in Pennsylvania, according to an NBC/WSJ/Marist poll: Trump pulls 45 percent, compared to Cruz at 27 percent and Kasich at 24 percent. Clinton leads Sanders by 15 points (55-40). Two consistent dividing lines:

  • Trump performs best among those without a college degree (52 percent) and worst among college graduates (37 percent).
  • Clinton leads among voters over 45 (66 percent) while Sanders holds the edge among younger voters (60 percent).

-- Clinton and Sanders are more closely matched in Connecticut and Rhode Island, according to an automated poll from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling. Clinton edges out Sanders 48-46 in Connecticut, while Sanders leads in Rhode Island 49-45. (Clinton leads in Pennsylvania by 10, 51-41, in their survey.) 

-- PPP says Trump looks poised to sweep tomorrow: The GOP front-runner is leading in Rhode Island with 61 percent (to Kasich’s 23 percent) and with 59 percent in Connecticut (to Kasich’s 25 percent). Cruz comes in third with 13 percent in both states. Trump’s margin is narrower in Pennsylvania, though he still whoops Cruz 51 percent to 25 percent.

-- Bernie might soon be mathematically eliminated from contention, but he's still turning out mega-crowds: More than 14,000 people came to see him in New Haven yesterday, just hours after more than 7,000 attended a Sanders rally in Providence, R.I. “The senator from Vermont took markedly different approaches regarding Clinton at his two rallies, John Wagner reports. “In Providence, he barely mentioned her name during his hour-long stump speech -- a signal, some thought, that he might be dialing back his criticism as his odds of prevailing grow longer. But [in New Haven], Sanders was back to mocking the former secretary of state for giving paid speeches on Wall Street ... and aggressively laying out his policy differences.”


-- Unbound Pennsylvania delegates may have the power to swing the GOP race, by Ed O'Keefe: “While most states award convention delegates on a winner-take-all or proportional basis, 54 of Pennsylvania’s 71 delegates … are officially unbound to a candidate and do not have to announce their intentions before Tuesday’s vote. The winners can vote for whomever they want at the convention. Trump has a full-time Pennsylvania director who has been recruiting potential delegate candidates since January. But Cruz is the most organized here in wooing delegates, just as he has been in other states with complex selection rules. Even if Cruz loses to Trump here Tuesday, there is a chance that the 26 delegate candidates who say they support the senator could win and cast votes for him at the convention."

-- “Connecticut primary focuses attention on Sandy Hook,” by The Boston Globe’s Annie Linskey: “Sandy Hook was mentioned 11 times in the Democratic debate in Brooklyn earlier this month, and at least five family members of Sandy Hook victims have appeared at events for Hillary Clinton. Among them is Erica Smegielski whose mother was killed in the shooting and who also stars in a TV spot supporting Clinton. … For some, the Clinton campaign is providing a fresh national platform to make their case. But for others affected by the shooting seeing and hearing about the Sandy Hook tragedy on the news again is jarring, particularly connected to a presidential campaign.”

Mitch Bolinsky, a Republican who represents Newtown in the state’s General Assembly, said he shuts off the television when Clinton’s Sandy Hook spots play. “It brings things flooding back,” he told the Globe. “This level of attention is something that I believe is not generally something most people in the community want to deal with. There are hundreds of families in Newtown, not all of them want to relive this.”

-- Connecticut Post:Clinton projected herself as an extension of Obama during an afternoon rally at the University of Bridgeport, where … [she] pledged to defend the Affordable Care Act and carry the torch on gun control reform. The Democratic front-runner is zeroing in on the cities — where [she] enjoys [a] decisive advantage over Sanders among black and Latino voters..."

“[Meanwhile], Trump … strayed from the traditional road map of Republicans in this reliably blue state with a raucous midday campaign rally at the Klein Memorial Auditorium. It was Trump’s second stop of the day in one the state’s hard-scrabble industrial cities, and the billionaire made promises of a jobs renaissance and lamented what might have been if his waterfront casino development had been allowed to advance 20 years ago. Gruff and unscripted, Trump harangued the media, Clinton, Cruz, Sanders and Karl Rove …. The Trump faithful, mostly blue-collar types with a few party insiders scattered about, were in all their glory. Some wore T-shirts that read: ‘Clinton for prison in 2016.’'’

-- Trump is now mocking the idea that he will become more “presidential”: “One thing was clear Saturday,” reported the Connecticut Mirror. “Trump didn’t come [here] … to pivot or go soft.” The brash billionaire mocked calls by his own wife to be presidential. He walked back suggestions … that a deeper, gentler Trump was about to emerge as he edges closer to the Republican presidential nomination.”

-- Delaware State News: “While Clinton appears to have the Democratic nomination just about sewn up, the state’s 16 Republican delegates could be crucial for [Trump] ... Delaware Election Commissioner Elaine Manlove said she does not know what the turnout will be but is hoping the interest in this election results in a large number of people voting. .., Political observers say Mr. Trump is likely to win Delaware.

-- Baltimore Sun: “Bill Clinton took to the pulpit at African-American churches in Baltimore on behalf of his wife. Clinton attended services at two churches on Baltimore's west side … He noted the one-year anniversary of the death of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old Baltimore man who died after suffering injuries in police custody. It was the former president's second visit to the state in recent weeks."

Kasich is planning to make his third visit to Maryland on Monday, with a town hall in Rockville. Cruz has appeared in the state twice, but now appears to have shifted much his focus to Indiana … Trump campaigned Sunday within a mile of the Pennsylvania border, allowing him to reach voters in both states. Rural Western Maryland is a part of the state in which the New York businessman is expected to do well. About 5,000 people packed into the hangar to see him, according to the state fire marshal.”

-- “In Baltimore, a battered city seeks a new mayor who can heal its wounds,” by Steve Hendrix: “The winner of Tuesday’s Democratic primary, almost certain to be elected mayor come November in overwhelmingly Democratic Baltimore, will take office with police and black residents still wary of each other. The city is braced for the trials of the six officers charged in [Freddie] Gray’s death and still struggling to slow its soaring homicide rate … More than 16,000 houses sit vacant, and public schools rank at or near the bottom of many state measures ...The [candidate] pack bloomed to nearly 30 after Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced in September that she wouldn’t seek a second term. ‘It’s been a circus,’ said [Newborn Community of Faith Elder C.W.] Harris … ‘I just have to be hopeful that God will raise up somebody who will have the humanity to say, ‘Enough is enough.’”

-- Maryland reported a record number of early votes, saying nearly 260,000 people – or 7.5 percent of eligible voters – cast ballots in the eight days of early voting that ended Thursday.

-- Philadelphia Inquirer: “All three Republicans have been campaigning in Pennsylvania, but they are being pulled in four other directions as well. 'The campaigning hasn't been as intense as I would have thought,' said former Republican Rep. Phil English of Erie … 'It's a patchwork,' said English, who is running for delegate in his old Third District. The Trump campaign is still generating the most energy and turnout for events in the state, but Kasich has made significant progress in last few weeks. Cruz has a resilient network and put some elegance into his field operation."

"Clinton, whose father was from Scranton and who has deep political ties to the state, was the only candidate in Pennsylvania on Sunday. At [several] churches, she touched on reforming the criminal-justice system, honoring Harriet Tubman, and continuing President Obama's work. She called for 'more respect, more kindness, more love.'"

  • The Inquirer's editorial board endorsed Kasich, saying the governor has the best chance of running a competitive campaign this fall.
  • Sanders won the endorsement of the Philadelphia Tribune: The traditionally African American paper credited Sanders with an “inspiring and bold message for America” without the “excessive baggage” of Clinton.

-- “'Bernie or Bust' efforts persist despite Sanders' vow not to be another Ralph Nader,” by the Los Angeles Times' Kate Linthicum and Chris Megerian: “In recent months, Sanders has transformed Dennis Brandau from a guy who hated politics into a first-time voter. On Tuesday, the 29-year-old line cook will proudly cast a ballot for the Vermont senator in Pennsylvania's Democratic presidential primary. But the bruising campaign this year also has turned Brandau into a fierce opponent of [Clinton] … He says he has a hard time imagining backing her this fall if she wins the nomination. ‘I don't know if I can vote for her,’ Brandau said. ‘I don't even want to hear her talk.’"

-- Hillary's final ad before the Acela Primary is titled "Love and Kindness." It features uplifting vocals and a message of unity. It's running in the Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Hartford and Baltimore media markets and boasts cameos from Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.). Watch:

— ZIGNAL VISUAL: "The Acela Primary" is something of a Beltway term. Our analytics partners at Zignal Labs tracked only about 1,000 usages of the term across all forms of media over the past week. Usage of the catchphrase, though, spiked last night after news broke of the Cruz-Kasich deal. Here's a chart showing chatter about it and who was mentioned most often in tweets and stories that used the phrase:


-- Charles Koch said it is “possible" Clinton might be better in the White House than Trump or Cruz: The billionaire donor suggested HRC could be a favorable choice on ABC’s “This Week," saying “we would have to believe her actions would be quite different than her rhetoric.” He also said he believed Bill Clinton was a better president “in some ways” than George W. Bush: “I mean, [Clinton] wasn’t an exemplar … But as far as the growth of government, the increase in spending, It was 2.5 times [more] under Bush than it was under Clinton."

-- Sanders conceded his narrow path. The Vermont senator was noticeably more resigned on “Meet the Press" than in past appearances, though he insisted his campaign is preparing for all upcoming states. “We're in this race to California,” he said, “and we're proud of the campaign we ran."

  • Should Clinton win the party nomination, Sanders said he would do “everything he could” to make sure Trump is not elected,” though he put the impetus on Clinton to “convince all people, not just my supporters, that she is the kind of president this country needs to represent working people in this country."
  • He also chalked up his losses to the lack of participation from low-income Americans in elections: “Poor people don’t vote," he said, “I mean, that's just a fact. That's a sad reality of American society.”
Sanders said his support for Clinton's nomination is "totally dependent" on whether she takes on a more progressive agenda. (Video: Monica Akhtar/The Washington Post)

-- Trump’s chief strategist said his comments last week that Trump was “playing a part” in order to win the nomination were taken out of context. “We were talking about evolving the campaign, not the candidate,” Paul Manafort said on “Fox News Sunday.” “He has not changed any of his positions.”

-- Donald Trump Jr. said Cruz’s only path to the Republican nomination requires “bribing delegates": Appearing on CNN’S “State of the Union,” Trump’s oldest son said the Texas senator has been “mathematically eliminated” and has no chance of winning otherwise. Trump Jr. added that Cruz will subsequently “lose more states than Mitt Romney, because I can't name a single state that Mitt lost that Ted can possibly win."

-- Kasich said his campaign is vetting potential running mates: “You don't want to have yourself in a position where you have to pick somebody out of a hat. So I have some skilled hands who are beginning now to take a look and figure out who would really fit," he said on CBS’s “Face the Nation."


-- Bathrooms have become a flashpoint in the GOP race, by Katie Zezima: “Cruz has seized on Trump’s assertion that the North Carolina law, which also rolled back other protections for gay, lesbian and transgender people, was unnecessary and bad for business … There has been some backlash: A woman holding a ‘Trans lives matter’ sign protested outside of a stop Cruz made in Allentown, Pa., on Friday.”

  • Pennsylvania is the only Northeastern state that does not extend anti-discrimination protections to gay and transgender people. “More than 30 municipalities in Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Scranton, both of which Cruz visited Friday, have passed transgender protection. … Pennsylvania’s physician general is a transgender woman.” (At least 18 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws barring discrimination against transgender people.)
  • Kasich, like Trump, said he probably wouldn’t have signed the North Carolina law.
  • President Obama weighed in on the issue Friday from Britain: “I want everybody here in the United Kingdom to know that the people of North Carolina and Mississippi are wonderful people,” said Obama, who also took a question from a person who claims no gender. “I also think that the laws that have been passed there are wrong and should be overturned.”

-- “This German village wants to be known for wine. Instead, it’s Trump — and ‘Drumpf,’” by Frances Stead Sellers: “Petra Berghold had no idea there was anything unusual about the modest winemaker’s house she and her husband bought in 1994 and set about renovating … [But] the Bergholds own the Trump Haus, where Donald Trump’s grandfather, Friedrich, lived before leaving for America in 1885. The Trump connection has brought a new brand of political tourist to a village whose inhabitants prefer it to be known as a mecca of fine wine and a sausage delicacy … Some in Kallstadt admire Trump’s business acumen. Still, few here think warmly of Trump. His winner-take-all bluster is at odds with how business is done, the locals say. Trump’s tough talk sounds like a craftsman boasting about his wares, explained the soft-spoken Roland Freund, a second cousin of Trump’s. ‘I am the best.’ ‘I will do this.’ ‘I will buy that.’ ‘And then what happens?’ Freund asked. In politics as in business, extravagance leads to problems: ‘No more money.’”

-- “The steep, unexpected downfall of Dennis Hastert,” by Matt Zapotosky: “J. Dennis Hastert had risen to the highest levels of American politics without any of the sordid allegations about his past coming to light. ... Even prosecutors remarked in sentencing papers on how Hastert achieved such a high-profile position with the alleged misdeeds in his past. ‘Defendant was so sure his secrets were safe that he apparently had no fears about entering a profession where one is subject to constant scrutiny and media attention,’ they wrote. To a man, former pupils, athletes and Scouts contacted by The Washington Post said they saw no signs Hastert was abusing anyone."

-- “Zika funding battle steals states’ public health emergency money,” by Lena H. Sun: “Cities and states preparing for possible Zika outbreaks … are losing millions of federal dollars that local officials say they were counting on, not only for on-the-ground efforts to track and contain the spread of the mosquito-borne virus but also to respond to other emergencies that threaten public health. The across-the-board funding cuts are part of a complicated shift of resources that the Obama administration blames on Congress and its refusal to approve the White House's $1.9 billion emergency request to combat Zika. But in that scramble, the administration also redirected about $44 million in emergency preparedness grants that state and local public health departments expected to receive starting in July. They use the grants for a broad range of events, including natural and human disasters and terrorist attacks. Some agencies lost up to 9 percent of their awards.” “It’s the first time I recall something like this, where the [emergency preparedness] funds were repurposed for another crisis or emergency,” said a top health security adviser James Blumenstock.

-- Jim Webb is very angry about the disparagement of Andrew Jackson. “Any white person whose ancestral relations trace to the American South now risks being characterized as having roots based on bigotry and undeserved privilege,” the former Virginia senator and failed presidential candidate writes in an op-ed for today’s Post. “Far too many of our most important discussions are being debated emotionally, without full regard for historical facts. … Mark Twain once commented that ‘to arrive at a just estimate of a renowned man’s character one must judge it by the standards of his time, not ours.’ By any standard we should respect both Jackson’s and Tubman’s contributions. And our national leaders should put aside their deliberate divisiveness and encourage that we do so.”


In this weekend's biggest viral photo, the Obamas met Prince George:

Then hung out with William, Kate and Harry:

Kasich bumped into Will Smith at the airport:

Sanders visited Gettysburg:

Trump addressed a big crowd in Connecticut:

Who is that behind home plate?

(Pretty sure that's an iPad, not a sign...)

Debbie Wasserman Schultz (and family) celebrated Passover:

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) rallied with constituents to commemorate the Armenian genocide:

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) enjoyed the New Orleans Jazz Fest:

Even the Nats are using Trump's slogan:


-- Former Sen. Harris Wofford (D-Pa.), now 90, is marrying a man 50 years his junior, who he met on a Florida beach, two decades after his wife died. "I assumed that I was too old to seek or expect another romance," Wofford wrote in a first-person piece for Sunday's New York Times. "But five years later, standing on a beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, I sensed a creative hour and did not want to miss it … We both felt the immediate spark, and as time went on, we realized that our bond had grown into love. Other than with Clare, I had never felt love blossom this way before."

Coming attraction --> Indianapolis Star, “In Gary, memories of Trump's casino promises,” by James Briggs: “Trump … arrived in 1993 to meet with local and state officials who hoped casino gambling would rejuvenate the city's shattered economy.  He impressed the right people. He received a casino license.” More than two decades later, many Gary officials remain disappointed over a pledge Trump made during that first visit to fix a crumbling Sheraton hotel. “’Well, that's the first thing I will do if I get one of these licenses,’ Trump said … He would repeat it so many times that it was ‘almost signed in blood’ … But the project never happened. Trump had said redevelopment ‘would not be that difficult’ and Gary's elected officials wanted to believe him. They hoped for the best when Trump said he'd give Gary a downtown building that people could be proud of. But now all they see is an empty lot. ‘Maybe,’ said Rogers, the Gary state senator who is retiring this year, ‘our expectations were too big.’”


“Gov LePage: Indian Workers Are 'The Worst Ones' To Understand,” from Talking Points Memo: “Maine's Republican governor says it's hard to understand workers ‘from Bulgaria’ and workers from India are ‘the worst ones' ... LePage said Saturday that foreign workers are being used in restaurants after he criticized a referendum proposal to raise Maine's minimum wage to $12. He says he's disappointed his alternative proposal to hike the wage to $10 didn't get traction. He described Indians as ‘lovely people but you've got to have an interpreter.’ He also [said] Obama stands for ‘one big-a** mistake, America.’"



Trump Thinks Men Who Change Diapers Are Acting ‘Like The Wife,’ from  Buzzfeed: “Do you actually change diapers?” host Anthony Cumia asked Trump on the Opie and Anthony show in 2005. “[Trump] … whose wife Melania was pregnant with his fifth child and her first, responded bluntly: ‘No, I don’t do that.’ ‘There’s a lot of women out there that demand that the husband act like the wife and you know there’s a lot of husbands that listen to that,’ Trump [said]. ‘I mean, I won’t do anything to take care of them. I’ll supply funds and she’ll take care of the kids. It’s not like I’m gonna be walking the kids down Central Park,’ Trump said in the interview.”


On the campaign trail: Several candidates could cross paths in Philadelphia today. Here's the rundown:

  • Clinton: Wilmington, Del.; Youngwood, Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Sanders: Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Trump: Warwick, R.I.; West Chester, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
  • Cruz: Borden, Columbus, Greenwood, Franklin, Ind.
  • Kasich: Philadelphia, Pa.; Rockville, Md; McKees Rocks, Pa.

At the White House: President Obama meets with French, Italian, British and German leaders in Hannover, Germany, before departing home for Washington. Vice President Biden speaks at the Community College of Philadelphia and campaigns for Katie McGinty.

On Capitol Hill: The Senate meets at 4 p.m. to work on the energy bill, with an amendment vote expected at 5:30 p.m. The House meets in pro forma session at 11:30 a.m. with no votes expected.


Actress Rosario Dawson invoked Monica Lewinsky during a Sanders rally in Wilmington, Del., on Saturday. “We are literally under attack for not just supporting the other candidate,” she said. “Now I’m with Monica Lewinsky with this. Bullying is bad. She has actually dedicated her life now to talking about that. And now as a campaign strategy, we are being bullied, and, somehow, that is okay and not being talked about with the richness that it needs.” (John Wagner and Anne Gearan)


-- Beautiful sunny temps (again) with low humidity. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “It looks a lot like yesterday — just a little bit warmer! Highs climb into the upper 70s and possibly the low 80s, depending on high clouds. I’m a little concerned about that cloud cover, but I’m still going to slap a Nice Day stamp on this one. At the very least it will be bright and warm and dry!”

-- The Nationals beat the Twins 6-5 in 16 innings.

-- Metro said the Federal Transit Administration is investigating the fire that occurred on the Red Line this weekend near Friendship Heights, but provided few additional details about the fire itself. (Faiz Siddiqui and Fenit Nirappil)

-- Activists are voicing concern over a plan to place a shelter for homeless families next to D.C.’s largest bus garage, saying it could expose kids to bad air. (Terrence McCoy)


Who said it: a Game of Thrones character, or a presidential candidate?

Was it Tyrion Lannister or Donald Trump? Post reporters who cover politics and pop culture team up to guess the source of various quotes from "Game of Thrones" and 2016 presidential candidates. (Video: Nicki DeMarco, Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)

Funny or Die spoofed Finnish television covering the Supreme Court blockade (McConnell is described as "Scared Owl" and Trump as "Mr. Baby Want Power"). Watch the video here.

Prince fans had mixed reactions to this SNL tribute sketch:

Obama spoke about Prince in Europe:

Watch Bruce Springsteen's tribute to Prince from Saturday night:

Justice Stephen Breyer spoke about Shakespeare at a commemoration of the 400th anniversary of his death:

Here's footage of William, Kate and Harry greeting the Obamas (watch POTUS and FLOTUS with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip here):

President Obama and First Lady Michelle arrive for a casual dinner with Prince William, Kate and Prince Harry at London's Kensington Palace. (Video: Reuters)

Finally, watch how tigers react to a normal cat: