Chris Stirewalt – Sign of things to come? Kasich helps Trump block Cruz

Chris Stirewalt – Sign of things to come? Kasich helps Trump block Cruz

FOX News First: April 11
By Chris Stirewalt

Buzz Cuts:
·        Sign of things to come? Kasich helps Trump block Cruz
·        Power Play: Trump’s wonk
·        Huge home state lead for Hillary
·        Obama helps Hillary by taking blame on Libya aftermath
·        Amazon Sub-Prime

Chris Stirewalt - Old Guard Audio

Chris Stirewalt – Old Guard Audio

Ted Cruz
is all in on the effort to block Donald Trump from winning the Republican nomination. John Kasich isn’t.

Over the weekend, Kasich’s campaign teamed up with Trump’s operation in Michigan to help Trump delegates gobble up convention committee posts that would otherwise have gone to Cruz. While the effects of the Michigan deal may be marginal, it was the best evidence yet that Team Kasich is more comfortable with a Trump nomination than a Cruz one.

The Kasich campaign defended aiding Trump on the grounds that Cruz deserved it as a punishment for trying to scoop up too many delegates. But whether it was bad blood, pique or part of a larger strategy, Kasich’s part in any anti-Trump strategy is increasingly in doubt.

From Kasich’s point of view, it’s understandable. We all know that the Ohio governor doesn’t have a path to win outright, or even on the first or second ballots in a contested Republican National Convention in July. But at the moment, Kasich doesn’t seem to have much of a path to win many more delegates in the remaining 16 states.

The sweet spot on the calendar for Kasich, a moderate establishmentarian who touts his record of bipartisanship, is the last two weeks of April, when a bevy of liberal Northeastern states hold their primaries.

The plan laid out by Mitt Romney and backed by the #NeverTrump movement is for voters to back the candidate with the best chance to deny Trump on a state-by-state basis, at this point either Cruz or Kasich.

Cruz is keeping up his side with not only primary wins in redder states to the west, but also working the process to Hoover up more delegates as the nitty-gritty of the selection process plays out.

But Kasich’s presumed advantage in blue states isn’t materializing, according to polls. Fox News polls out Sunday show Kasich getting smoked like a herring in New York and stuffed in the same pierogi as Cruz in Pennsylvania. Nor is there much good news for Kasich in the latest poll from Maryland.

We don’t have any clues yet about other purportedly happy hunting grounds for Kasich: Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island. And allocation rules in the six late-April states could certainly help Kasich snag some delegates.

Plus, Cruz isn’t showing any signs of clearing a path for Kasich in these states (in the same way that Kasich vainly tried to play spoiler in Wisconsin). Cruz seems determined instead to march headfirst into the late-April buzz saw and grab what scant delegates he can in hopes that he can endure until the map improves for him in May and June.

Whether he can improve his lot or not, Kasich, who still trails former candidate Marco Rubio in the delegate hunt, is looking to garner enough delegates to spoil the chances of both Trump and Cruz and force the convention into protracted balloting.

Let’s assume Kasich, who has won about 6 percent of the delegates awarded so far, had a great finish and won a quarter of those remaining, he would finish with a little better than 300 delegates bound to him in Cleveland. That’s not a building block for a majority, that’s an asset to be deployed to make a deal.

While Kasich’s campaign believes that the bound delegates for Cruz and Trump will flood to Kasich’s side on electability grounds when they are released, bear in mind that Kasich’s delegates would be released by that point too. They would all be free agents.

And the electability argument on the third ballot and beyond from Rubio or Carly Fiorina or Mike Pence or Scott Walker or any Republican with a puncher’s chance in the fall could be just as valid as the one from Kasich, who, like everyone else, would have no delegates to command anymore. And many of the others will be able to augment an electability argument with the promise of conservatism more stalwart than Kasich’s.

In a way, Cruz represents a greater danger than Trump to Kasich’s plan. Cruz could get close enough and then rely on some combination of Rubio’s support and/or unbound delegates to win on an early ballot. Those are all delegates that Kasich very much needs. Kasich and Cruz are playing the same game, but Cruz is playing it better.

There is one other role available to Kasich: the man who delivers the nomination to Trump. If Trump accepts Kasich as running mate with actual influence over the campaign and Kasich unbinds his delegates, it might be enough to put Trump over the top on the first ballot. Remember also that Kasich and Trump have advisers, Paul Manafort and Charlie Black, who were former business partners and longtime friends.

At least some Kasich backers still believe that despite all evidence to the contrary Trump is a better general election bet than Cruz. Certainly Cruz’s hard-nosed conservatism has been an enemy of much longer standing for the GOP establishment than Trump’s brand of populism.

That means a strategy that would 1) hurt Cruz the most, 2) leave a long-shot bid open to Kasich and 3) might end up with Trump as the GOP’s standard bearer would sound more appealing to Kasich and his backers than anything else currently on offer.

Trump touts charitable giving, but there’s a catch – WaPo: “Since the first day of his presidential campaign, Donald Trump has said that he gave more than $102 million to charity in the past five years. To back up that claim, Trump’s campaign compiled a list of his contributions — 4,844 of them, filling 93 pages. But, in that massive list, one thing was missing. Not a single one of those donations was actually a personal gift of Trump’s own money. Instead, according to a Washington Post analysis, many of the gifts that Trump cited to prove his generosity were free rounds of golf, given away by his courses for charity auctions and raffles.”

Power Play: Trump’s wonk – Stephen Miller, senior policy advisor to the Trump campaign joins Chris Stirewalt to talk about the GOP frontrunner’s broad policy proposals, like building a wall on the border with Mexico, and how they would be implemented. WATCH HERE.

[GOP delegate count: Trump 743; Cruz 545; Kasich 143 (1,237 needed to win)]

How big is University of Kentucky Wildcat basketball in the commonwealth? The leaders of the storied hoops program believe it is so big that it owns the rights to merchandize bearing the name Kentucky, even for moonshine… NYT has the story: “Moonshine packs a punch in this corner of Appalachia, where making hooch is steeped in local lore. But when Colin Fultz, the grandson of a bootlegger, opened a gourmet distillery here last fall, he ran afoul of a spirit even more potent than white lightning: University of Kentucky basketball…Mr. Fultz also tried to trademark his business name: Kentucky Mist Moonshine. And that, sports lovers, is how a moonshine maker wound up suing the University of Kentucky — the basketball behemoth exalted by its ‘Big Blue Nation’ of fans — in federal court over a fundamental question: Who owns the rights to the name of the state?”

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Real Clear Politics Averages
National GOP nomination:
Trump 39 percent; Cruz 32.3 percent; Kasich 20.5 percent
National Dem nomination: Clinton 46.8 percent; Sanders 45.8 percent
General Election: Clinton vs. Trump: Clinton +10.6 points
Generic Congressional Vote: Republicans +0.5

New York may be Sen. Bernie Sanders’ native state, but voters seem more inclined to their former senator and Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton over Brooklyn’s own Sanders.

The latest Fox News poll in the Empire State shows Clinton ahead by 16 points overall and, more significantly, leads Sanders by 19 points in the New York City region where Sanders has hopes of catching Clinton.

Sanders has staged some stunning comebacks in places like Michigan and Wisconsin, but with a little over a week until New Yorkers head to the polls, that’s a lot of ground for him to cover. Plus, while Clinton made an early shift to building a New York firewall, Sanders only opened a campaign office in New York a few weeks ago.

But it’s not so much the ground game that will be Clinton’s advantage as it is the electorate. Unlike Michigan where Sanders won a huge upset despite projections that he would lose, New York’s large minority demographic and Clinton loyalty Upstate are working against the idea that he can pull out another surprise victory.

As for those who hold that states like New York could flip in the general election if Donald Trump were the nominee this poll shows that seems highly unlikely. Both Clinton and Sanders dominate the Republican frontrunner in the general election matchups for the Empire State with Trump trailing by 16 and 19 points, respectively.

Obama helps Hillary by taking blame on Libya aftermath – Bloomberg: “A failure to adequately plan for the aid and governing of Libya after the U.S.-led NATO attacks in 2011 ‘probably’ was his biggest error in office, President Barack Obama said in an interview on ‘Fox News Sunday.’ Asked by host Chris Wallace about the ‘worst mistake’ of his soon-to-end White House years, Obama listed the aftermath of the ouster and death of Moammar Qaddafi, even as he defended the intervention. ‘Probably failing to plan for the day after,’ Obama said in the session, which was taped at the University of Chicago on April 7. He added that intervening in Libya ‘was the right thing to do.’”

[Did you miss Mr. Sunday’s big exclusive? Well, never fear. You can watch it here.]

California’s delegate rules favor Hillary – LAT: “It’ll be extremely hard for Sanders to play delegate catch-up in California. Nationally, he trails by around 250 pledged delegates. Plus more than 400 ostensibly unpledged super-delegates tilt toward Clinton. She could clinch the nomination here…Each district’s delegate number is based on its past support of Democratic presidential candidates…Clinton and Sanders will divide up the delegates based on their vote totals in each district and statewide. Most delegates, 317, will be awarded by district, and 105 will be allotted statewide. Another 53 will go to party leaders. And there’ll be 71 unpledged so-called super-delegates, a group leaning strongly toward Clinton. In fact, much of the system leans Clinton’s way.”

Bernie lands another superdelegate – AP: “U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan says he plans to support presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at the Democratic National Convention in July. In a statement, Nolan said he has considered a number of factors, including ‘the will’ of Minnesota caucus attendees and particularly those in the state’s 8th congressional district…The congressman is a so-called superdelegate for the Democratic Party.”

[Dem delegate count: Clinton 1756; Sanders 1068 (2,383 needed to win)]

CalCoastNews: “What happens when someone receives the wrong package from Amazon, one with several odd items including men’s undergarments sprinkled with a cosmetic powder? Roads are closed and the San Luis Obispo County Hazardous Materials team is called in. On Sunday afternoon, a resident on the 300 block of North 11th Street in Grover Beach opened a package that arrived in the mail and called 911. While the recipient was expecting plumbing parts, the package contained men’s briefs, hot sauce, ladies stockings and a loose dusting of a white powder. Grover Beach officers arrived, closed North 11th Street from Brighton Avenue to Newport Avenue and called the Five Cities Fire Department, SLO County Hazardous Materials Response Team, SLO County Environmental Health Services and the FBI to the scene. The FBI quickly determined the cosmetic powder posed no threat to public health, according to a press release. Nevertheless, the investigation is ongoing.”

Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

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