No Missouri winners tonight

The Associated Press is calling it a night instead of calling the winners of the Democratic and Republican primaries in Missouri. 

Our contact at the AP says there are two precincts left to be counted in Jackson County. Elections officials there, presumably, will get things sorted out in the morning. 

Until then, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton hold razor-thin leads over Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders. 

Full results from tonight's contests

With more than half the delegates yet to be chosen and a calendar that favors us in the weeks and months to come, we remain confident that our campaign is on a path to win the nomination.

Bernie Sanders in a statement after results showed a strong night for Hillary Clinton

The scene at Hillary Clinton headquarters in Brooklyn

It's been a big night for Hillary Clinton, who won four out of five states, including hotly contested Ohio and Illinois. (Missouri remains too close to call.)

Her staff celebrated with a singalong at her Brooklyn headquarters.

Jake Sullivan, a senior policy advisor, got in on the action too.

Hillary Clinton wins Illinois Democratic primary

Hillary Clinton has defeated Bernie Sanders in the Illinois Democratic primary, according to new projections.

With nearly all of the votes counted, Clinton was leading Sanders by about 36,000 votes.

After Florida, Illinois has the next highest number of delegates up for grabs Tuesday, and the victory gives Clinton a boost in her effort to tie up the Democratic presidential nomination. 

Track the delegate fight here.

Paul Ryan for president? 'We'll see. Who knows.'

Would he or wouldn't he? House Speaker Paul D. Ryan had a few answers to questions speculating he could become the Republican Party's presidential nominee were there to be a brokered convention this summer.

First there was a "we'll see."

But there was also a longer explanation from the Wisconsin Republican, who was Mitt Romney's vice presidential running mate in 2012, about wanting to run.

"I made that decision, consciously, not to," he told CNBC.

And then there was the actual no. 

"I don't see that happening," he said in the interview. "I'm not thinking about it. I'm happy where I am, so no."

Ryan, of course, was famously reluctant to take over after former Speaker John A. Boehner's sudden resignation last year.

Trump kicks Rubio while he's down

The Republican front-runner used one of the Florida senator's comments to mock him after he dropped out of the presidential race.

Cruz tells GOP he's the last, best hope to beat Trump

As Ted Cruz was locked in a tight battle with Donald Trump in the Missouri primary – the sole state the Texas senator had a chance of winning Tuesday night – Cruz argued he was the only alternative for Republican voters who did not want to support the brash businessman and reality-TV star.

“Starting tomorrow morning, every Republican has a clear choice. Only two campaigns have a plausible path to the nomination -- ours and Donald Trump’s,” Cruz told supporters in a Houston hotel ballroom. “Nobody else has any mathematical possibility whatsoever. Only one campaign has beaten Donald Trump over and over again.”

Cruz made his remarks shortly after Sen. Marco Rubio dropped out of the presidential campaign after losing his home state of Florida, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich had a small burst of momentum after winning his home state.

Cruz implored his rivals’ supporters to join his effort, and noted that he had the best track record against Trump among all the Republican presidential candidates.

Cruz said he had won nine contests “all across the country, from Alaska to Maine." And he harshly attacked the GOP front-runner as a politician who had failed to stand with conservatives, notably on Supreme Court appointees, Israel and the Iranian nuclear deal.

“Do you want a candidate who shares your values, or a candidate who has spent decades opposing your values,” Cruz said. “… It’s easy to talk about making America great again; you can even print that on a baseball cap. But the critical question is whether you understand the principles and values that made America great in the first place.”

Cruz repeated his campaign pledges to repeal President Obama’s healthcare overhaul, abolish the IRS and crack down on illegal immigrants before arguing that Trump was akin to Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

“Far too many politicians focus on Washington, D.C. To the lobbyists, those like Donald Trump who buy influence, and to those like Hillary Clinton who sell influence, Washington is the center of the universe,” he said. “But we understand that isn’t right. Together, we will make Washington less relevant in all of our lives.”

Donald Trump assails GOP critics for 'vicious, horrible' attack ads

After winning three more primaries on Tuesday, Donald Trump hammered the Republican groups that have spent millions of dollars on attack ads aimed at blocking him from clinching the party’s presidential nomination.

“Nobody has ever, ever in the history of politics received the kind of negative advertising that I have,” he told supporters at his posh Mar-a-Lago private club in Palm Beach, Fla.

“By the way, mostly false,” he said. “I wouldn’t say 100%, but about 90%. Mostly false. Vicious, horrible.”

Trump, who branded Sen. Marco Rubio “little Marco” over the last few weeks as the two traded scathing insults, congratulated the senator for running ”a really tough campaign.”

“He’s tough, he’s smart, and he’s got a great future,” Trump said, not long after Rubio ended his candidacy.

Trump also gloated over his double-digit victory in Florida.

“This is my second home, Florida,” he said. “To win by that kind of a number is incredible.”

Trump also used the occasion of his latest victory speech – he has won 18 states so far – to reflect on the punishing ordeal of running for president.

“There’s nothing like it,” he said. “Lies, deceit, viciousness. Disgusting reporters. Horrible people. Some are nice.”

Using a new variation of his campaign slogan, the Manhattan billionaire said, “We’re going to make our country rich again. We’re going to make our country great again, and we need the rich in order to make the great, I’m sorry to tell you.”

Did Donald Trump's poll numbers rise after last fall's terrorist attacks as much as he says?

 (Gerald Herbert/AP)
(Gerald Herbert/AP)

Donald Trump said Tuesday that after the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino last year, his campaign took on a “whole new meaning” and his poll numbers began to rise.

“The meaning was very simple: We need protection in our country,” Trump said at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla. “And that’s going to happen. And all of a sudden the poll numbers shot up, and I’m just very proud to be a part of this.”

As is often the case with Trump, his claims exaggerated reality.

While Trump’s support was at 24.8% in the RealClear Politics average of national polls on Nov. 13, the day of the deadly attacks in Paris, his numbers ticked upward in the weeks following the attacks, reaching 27.8% support on Nov. 28. The increase was far from “sudden,” nor could the boost, itself not far off the margin of error in most of the polls, be fairly described as having “shot up.”

Trump’s proposals on protecting the country, however, have gained support.

In the wake of both terrorist attacks, Trump called Dec. 7 for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S., after investigators determined that both attacks were inspired by Islamic State extremists. A few polls, including a Fox News survey released Dec. 18, found that a majority of respondents supported his proposal, which was condemned by Democrats and Republicans alike.

On Tuesday night, Trump insisted the country needs to “start winning again” – a theme of his campaign.

“This country is going to start winning again. We don’t win anymore,” he said. 

It's easy to talk about making America great again. You can even print that on a baseball cap.

Ted Cruz, insulting Donald Trump without naming him. Cruz went on to say that the crucial question for a candidate is whether he understands the values that helped make America great in the first place.

A confident Ted Cruz focuses on winning the GOP nomination

Unbowed, Bernie Sanders keeps up fire on Hillary Clinton

 (Sean Rayford / Getty Images)
(Sean Rayford / Getty Images)

The news was grim for Bernie Sanders on Tuesday, with Hillary Clinton on track to widen her lead in the Democratic presidential primary.

But Sanders, the senator from Vermont, did not seem chastened by the results, ignoring them while speaking at length to rapturous supporters in Phoenix.

"Do not settle for the status quo when the status quo is broken," he said. 

And though Clinton briefly praised Sanders for running a “vigorous campaign” in her own speech in Florida, Sanders repeated some of his toughest criticisms of Clinton in his own hourlong remarks. 

He blasted Clinton for voting in favor of the war in Iraq and repeated his demand for her to release the transcripts of speeches she was paid to deliver on Wall Street. 

Sanders also criticized Clinton for taking campaign donations from Wall Street and oil companies.

“This campaign is doing well because we are listening to the American people, and not just wealthy campaign contributors," he said. 

Sanders reiterated some of his boldest proposals, including a $15-per-hour minimum wage, universal healthcare provided by the federal government and free education at public colleges. 

“Think outside of the box, outside of the status quo," he urged supporters.

Sanders says he's most electable; Democratic voters think otherwise

For weeks, Bernie Sanders has pointed to public polls to rebut Hillary Clinton's claim that she's the most electable Democrat against Donald Trump. And he's right, based on the RealClear Politics averages (here and here).

But Democrats in the states voting Tuesday appear to have come to a different conclusion. Across the board, they say Clinton has the best chance to defeat the Republican front-runner.

  • Florida: 75% of Democratic voters said Clinton was most electable; 20% said Sanders
  • Illinois: 64% Clinton, 34% Sanders
  • Missouri: 57% Clinton, 40% Sanders
  • North Carolina: 67% Clinton, 28% Sanders
  • Ohio: 64% Clinton, 33% Sanders

And so perhaps it's no surprise that Clinton seemed eager to pivot to the general election in her remarks Tuesday, laying out the stakes still to come and separating the grind of the campaign from the greater challenges of governing.

"Every candidate makes promises like this," she said after a quick summary of her economic platform. "But every candidate owes it to you to be clear and direct about what our plans will cost and how we're going to make them work. That's the difference between running for president and being president."

She quickly pivoted to foreign policy, saying the next commander-in-chief needed "to defend our country, not embarrass it; engage our allies, not alienate them; defeat our adversaries, not embolden them."

"When we hear a candidate for president call for rounding up 12 million immigrants, banning all Muslims from entering the United States, when he embraces torture, that doesn't make him strong, it makes him wrong," Clinton continued, alluding to some of Trump's core proposals and slogans without naming him.

Is Bernie Sanders still talking?

Ted Cruz is failing to make big gains on Donald Trump

Ted Cruz has so far failed to pick up big wins Tuesday, a blow to his efforts to make gains on Donald Trump's stride to the Republican nomination for president. 

He lost in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Illinois, with only Missouri offering a possible bright spot.

But the night wasn't a total loss.

Cruz, the conservative Texas senator, was second in delegates heading into Tuesday's contests and he will scoop up more in states where they are awarded proportionally.

The narrow defeat in North Carolina, in particular, offered a snapshot of his status: Cruz will still amass needed delegates, but he has a tough road ahead as the campaigns move north and west into states less aligned with his conservative and Christian message.

Winning, of course, is always best. And a victory in any of the states voting Tuesday would give Cruz more momentum as he tries to make the case he is best positioned to beat Trump.

But coming in a close second in this race of delegate math counts too.

An optimistic John Kasich vows to push ahead after defeating Trump in Ohio

Ohio Gov. John Kasich vowed on Tuesday after winning his home state to remain positive in the weeks ahead as he seeks to blunt some of the momentum of Republican front-runner Donald Trump.

“I will not take the low road to the highest office in the land,” Kasich, reprising a line he’s used often on the campaign trail, told an exuberant group of supporters at Baldwin Wallace University in the suburbs of Cleveland. “I’m getting ready to rent a covered wagon; we’re going to have a big sail and have the wind blow us to the Rocky Mountains and over the mountains to California.”

With Kasich’s victory -- he secured Ohio’s 66 delegates – aides insisted he’s well-positioned as the primary race heads into the spring and with Sen. Marco Rubio’s exit from the race on Tuesday.

Still, Trump far outpaces Kasich when it comes to total delegates.

In his roughly 15-minute victory speech, Kasich did not directly mention Trump. Earlier in the day, after casting his ballot, Kasich said he would take on Trump more forcefully.

“I will be … forced, going forward, to talk about some of the deep concerns I have about the way this campaign has been run by some others — by one other in particular,” he said, alluding to Trump who in recent days has assailed Kasich on such issues as trade and job creation.

But for Kasich, Tuesday night was about striking an optimistic tone as he moved forward.

Speaking in the suburbs of Cleveland, where the Republican Party will hold its nominating convention this summer, Kasich – ever the optimist – said his campaign will be ready.

“We are going to go all the way to Cleveland and secure the Republican nomination,” he said to deafening applause. 

Donald Trump wins Illinois GOP primary days after canceling Chicago rally amid violence

Donald Trump won the Illinois primary Tuesday, four days after racially tinged violence at a Chicago rally that he was forced to cancel led rivals to accuse him of poisoning America’s political climate.

Trump’s victory will give him the largest share of Illinois’ 69 delegates, a significant haul in his bid to secure the Republican presidential nomination.

Donald Trump wins North Carolina GOP primary, strengthening his hold on Southern states

Donald Trump won the North Carolina primary, completing a near sweep of the Deep South in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

Trump’s North Carolina victory follows his win earlier in Florida, the night’s biggest delegate prize with 99.

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