Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton strengthen their leads in delegates in Tuesday night's primaries.

  • Clinton wins the Missouri primary
  • Marco Rubio's plans? Not veep, not governor and still no rival endorsement
  • Republicans in the anybody-but-Trump camp can cross Paul Ryan off their wish list
  • Lindsey Graham labels Ted Cruz a 'reliable Republican' in endorsement
  • CNN's president says the network is simply covering Trump like a front-runner
  • The delegate race means California's GOP primary could finally help determine a presidential nominee
  • Trump says he's skipping next week's debate, so it was canceled

Bernie Sanders assails Sheriff Joe Arpaio, makes appeal to Native Americans

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders condemned Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, an immigration firebrand, at a rally in Flagstaff, Ariz., on Thursday night.

"What he is doing is un-American and uncivilized," said Sanders, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president. He noted that the sheriff has been the subject of several racial profiling lawsuits in recent years.

"It's easy for bullies like Sheriff Arpaio to pick on people who have no power," Sanders said. "If I'm elected president ... watch out, Joe."

Arpaio, who has endorsed Republican front-runner Donald Trump, showed up when Sanders' wife, Jane, recently visited immigration activists outside of Maricopa County's Tent City Jail. Arpaio offered her a tour of the facility, which she accepted.

"She asked him about racial profiling and he didn't have an answer," said Sanders, who trails rival Hillary Clinton.

At the rally ahead of Arizona's primary Tuesday, Sanders reached out to Native Americans, who make up about 3% of the state's population, and who vote overwhelmingly Democratic.

"The culture of the Native American people is so rich, so extraordinary, that all of us will gain from preserving and enhancing that culture," he said.

Sanders then denounced a sports team's name that many Native Americans find derogatory. "The city of Washington has a very good football team, but it doesn't have to be called the Redskins," he said. 

Will Bernie's girls love Hillary in November?

 (David Horsey / Los Angeles Times)
(David Horsey / Los Angeles Times)

"Hillary Clinton might have the right chromosomes, but that is not enough for many politically engaged young women. They look at the compromises she has made through a long life in politics and do not see the unavoidable accommodations that must be made to achieve incremental change; they see collusion and clouded morality."

Welcome to the GOP horror movie

"And then there were two — the two whom most Republican Party elected officials, donors and political consultants have identified for months as the least appealing options to be their presidential nominee: Donald Trump and Ted Cruz... For Democrats, dealing with President Trump would be like appeasing an erratic, impulsive, self-centered teenager; deeply infuriating, but with the possibility of occasional moments of agreement. With President Cruz, it would be unending battle; a culture war without end."

Read more at Top of the Ticket.

I still think that we’ll go to Cleveland with a nominee.

Republican National Committee communications director Sean Spicer, speaking on CNN. Donald Trump is the front-runner for the GOP nomination, yet some Republicans, such as Ohio Gov. John Kasich, are prepared for a contested convention in Cleveland.

Hillary Clinton went five for five on Tuesday

It's official -- Hillary Clinton won all five primaries that were held Tuesday.

The Missouri primary was so close it took a few days to count absentee ballots and nail down the results. Sen. Bernie Sanders could have asked for a recount but decided against it, according to the Associated Press.

Even if Sanders had ended up edging past Clinton in a recount, the result would have had only minimal impact on the race for delegates to this summer's Democratic nominating convention. Under party rules, delegates are awarded in proportion to each candidate's vote, so the two candidates split Missouri's delegates. 

The victory gives Clinton a clean sweep of Tuesday's states -- Florida, Illinois, Ohio and North Carolina in addition to Missouri.

The outcome was a blow to Sanders, who had hoped for momentum after his surprise victory in Michigan earlier this month.  

Although Sanders pledged on Wednesday to continue fighting for the nomination, Clinton's team believes it's nearly impossible for him to overcome her lead in convention delegates at this point. 

Hillary Clinton wins Missouri primary

Hillary Clinton coming to California for cash

 (Justin Sullivan -- AFP/Getty Images)
(Justin Sullivan -- AFP/Getty Images)

Get ready for a whole bunch of Hillary Clinton and friends in Los Angeles.

A series of fundraising events kicks off Thursday at lunch when campaign Chairman John Podesta hosts a conversation at the home of Dr. Asif Mahmood in Bradbury. Contributors can give up to $2,700 and attend a host reception, according to a copy of an invitation obtained by The Times.

On Sunday, Chelsea Clinton will host a conversation at the Los Angeles home of Elsa and Jarron Collins.

Next Thursday, the candidate herself will appear at the Avalon Hollywood alongside performing artists Ben Harper, Estelle and Russell Simmons, who is emcee. One invitation, from former L.A. Councilwoman and City Controller Wendy Greuel, shows the lowest-priced ticket is $250. A separate invitation obtained by The Times from a fundraising bundler has the lowest price as $500. And $1,000 gives the ticket-holder “preferred viewing.” Event chairs can raise $50,000 and attend a host reception with Clinton and the performers.

Be sure to sign up for our Essential Politics newsletter and receive political news and analysis from California and beyond. 

Lindsey Graham labels Ted Cruz a 'reliable Republican' in endorsement

He's said that selecting Ted Cruz as the Republican nominee for president is akin to being "shot" or "poisoned," but South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham appears to have had a change of heart. 

Confronted with the likelihood of Donald Trump becoming the party's nominee, Graham, a stalwart of the establishment wing of the GOP, is now backing the Texas senator.

"He's the best alternative to Donald Trump," Graham said on CNN. "He's certainly not my preference, Sen. Cruz, but he is a reliable Republican conservative."

Graham noted he has doubts about the conservative credentials of Trump and said that he'll begin to raise money on behalf of Cruz. 

Since being elected to the Senate in 2012, Cruz has rankled Democrats and Republicans alike, vowing to disrupt the political establishment. The disdain from Cruz's colleagues has reverberated to the campaign trail, where he's received few endorsements from Congress. 

Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich are Trump's last remaining rivals, and both face uphill climbs against Trump, who has a strong delegate lead. 

In recent weeks, Cruz has called for Republicans to unite around his campaign as he's been the only candidate to repeatedly beat Trump in primaries around the country.

Marco Rubio's plans? Not veep, not governor and still no rival endorsement

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said Tuesday he hopes the Republican Party can stop Donald Trump by uniting around Texas Sen. Ted Cruz or Ohio Gov. John Kasich — but declined to endorse either former rival for the GOP nomination.

Speaking to reporters on his first day back to the Senate since suspending his presidential campaign, Rubio also ruled out his own future ambitions.

"I'm not going to be anybody's vice president," he said. "I'm not running for governor of Florida."

He said he would finish his first term in the Senate and, in January 2017, be a "private citizen" again.

Rubio gave no indication he would aim for a GOP nod at a brokered convention this summer, and said he expected the party to coalesce around a candidate.

"Hopefully, there's still time to prevent a Trump nomination, which I think would fracture the party," he said.

John Kasich focuses on Utah after win in Ohio

Fresh off a win in his home state, Ohio Gov. John Kasich is investing in Utah ahead of the Republican presidential caucuses there on Tuesday. 

Kasich this week unveiled a pair of new television ads, which will air statewide and run through the caucuses, as he fights to mount a viable challenge to GOP front-runner Donald Trump. 

In the first 30-second spot, titled "America: Never Give Up," Kasich gives viewers a glimpse into his career, which includes time as chairman of the House Budget Committee. 

The other ad, titled "Healing," offers a look at Kasich's personal life story, noting the death of his parents, who were killed by a drunk driver.

"I believe the Lord put us on this Earth to use the gifts that we've been given to bring about a healing," he says. 

In Utah -- which has 40 delegates -- Kasich has the support of a key figure: Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee. The two campaigned together in Ohio recently, and in Utah, Romney, who is Mormon, will likely help Kasich receive the support of members within the Mormon Church, a key voting bloc in GOP primaries. Kasich is scheduled to campaign across the state this weekend. 

Despite his win on Tuesday, Kasich still faces an uphill battle as Trump holds a commanding lead when it comes to overall delegates.

John Kasich has a message for Donald Trump about riots

Harry Reid: 'Cowardly' GOP gave rise to Donald Trump

Sen. Harry Reid, who has never been known for his political niceties, is not about to start now in the age of Donald Trump.

The 76-year Nevada Democrat delivered a scathing address Thursday, in his ever-so-grandfatherly way, landing blame for Trump's rise squarely on Republican leaders in Congress.

"The Republican establishment acts bewildered," Reid said at the liberal Center for American Progress. "But they shouldn’t. As much as they may try to distance themselves from Trump now, Republican leaders are responsible for his rise."

And then Reid, who is retiring at the end of this term, did what members of Congress are not supposed to do: He called out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan for "precisely the kind of moral cowardice that enabled the rise of Trump."

"If McConnell and Ryan think that Donald Trump’s racist, xenophobic demagoguery is wrong, they should not support him -- period," Reid said.

"If they refuse to revoke their support for Trump, they should both put on 'Make America Great Again' hats and stand behind Trump at his next press conference." 

If they refuse to revoke their support for Trump, they should both put on 'Make America Great Again' hats and stand behind Trump at his next press conference. 

Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) calling out GOP leaders to make a choice about Donald Trump

Reid, blinded in one eye from a New Year's accident and his walk slowed, drew a narrative arc of the last seven years: from the rise of the GOP opposition to President Obama through the tea party to the phenomenon of Trump.

The partisan battlefield is littered with Obama's agenda: the proposed Recovery Act stimulus, unemployment benefits, payroll tax cuts, Wall Street reform.

"So what thrived in the wasteland Republican leaders created?" Reid asked. "Resentment and hatred, which Republican leaders were all too eager to embrace and too cowardly to renounce."

Republicans are increasingly being asked where they stand on Trump in what is becoming a defining question for the party.

McConnell's office declined to comment directly. Ryan said he would defend Republican beliefs.

"It isn't my place to say who our nominee is or what. If anybody, not just Donald Trump, if anybody is out there representing the Republican Party in ways that we believe disfigure conservatism or do not portray what our views and principles are, I, as a party leader, and others, I assume as well, have an obligation to defend our principles from being distorted, and we are going to continue doing that," Ryan said Thursday.

11:41 a.m.: This post was updated with comments from Paul Ryan.

Speaker Paul Ryan says he doesn't want to be the GOP nominee for president

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Thursday he really -- really -- does not want or expect to become the Republican Party's presidential nominee.

"It is not me," said Ryan, who was Mitt Romney's running mate in 2012.

"Look, I made a decision over a year ago not to run for president," he told reporters at his weekly news conference. "It's not going to be me. It should be somebody running for president."

Ryan made news earlier this week when he said a few things about the GOP primary race, and appeared to leave the door open to a movement to draft him.

The Wisconsin Republican, it might be recalled, was the famously reluctant nominee to become House Speaker after former Speaker John A. Boehner's abrupt resignation last fall.

Boehner piled on this week by saying that if none of the GOP candidates win on first-round balloting at the party's summer convention, he'd support Ryan.

"I saw Boehner last night and I told him to knock it off -- I used slightly different words," Ryan said.

"Let's just put this thing to rest."

Ryan has repeatedly said he would support the party's nominee, including Donald Trump, but has declined to weigh in on his preference.

Marco Rubio returns to his day job

CNN president rejects claims the network helped Donald Trump's rise

Jeff Zucker, president of CNN, in November. (Larry Busacca / Getty Images)
Jeff Zucker, president of CNN, in November. (Larry Busacca / Getty Images)

CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker said Wednesday that he doesn’t feel his organization holds any responsibility for Donald Trump’s success in the media.

“He has been the front-runner of the Republican party since he announced last June,” Zucker said. Adweek’s TVNewser first reported the remarks.

Zucker claimed that like Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, the businessman receives the attention expected for a party's leading candidate. He added that Trump also makes himself more available for phone, TV and live interviews than other candidates in the race — Zucker can’t penalize him for saying “yes.”

"My point is, you can’t have it both ways,” he said, explaining that candidates such as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz turned down numerous TV spots. “So I actually reject that premise that we’ve given too much attention to [Trump]."

Univision anchor: Donald Trump's view toward immigrants is racist

Univision anchor Jorge Ramos called Donald Trump’s disparaging claims about immigrants false and racist.

Ramos said the Republican front-runner's assertions that immigrants bring rape, criminal activity and drug trafficking across U.S. borders don’t make sense.

“Immigrants are less likely to be criminals for a very simple reason — they don’t want to get in trouble with the police,” Ramos said on CNN’s “New Day.”

During a Wednesday appearance on the “O’Reilly Factor,” Ramos also accused Fox News hosts Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity of failing to challenge Trump on immigration. He said their coverage of the presidential race has been unfair.

“What he said about Mexican immigrants, he’s wrong. What he said about women is unacceptable and what he said about Muslims is simply un-American,” Ramos said. Trump has a history of critical comments about women and has called for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S.

The two clashed over their approaches to Trump.

“I’m not promoting Donald Trump in any way, shape or form,” O’Reilly said. “I want you and Univision, because you’re so influential in those precincts, to explain … how you could possibly cover this man fairly if he’s the nominee. You can’t.”

Capitol Journal: Forget comparisons, Trump's bombastic showmanship is in a league of its own

Donald Trump at a rally Friday in Orlando, Fla. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
Donald Trump at a rally Friday in Orlando, Fla. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Two things should be debunked about Donald Trump: One is that he’s the new Arnold Schwarzenegger. Another is that he’s continuing what was started by another California governor, Pete Wilson.

I’ve read and listened to these comparisons in some news media recently and they’re simply stretches of baloney.

And as the Republican fisticuffs get closer to California, the false correlations should be chucked. Our primary election will be among the nation’s last on June 7 — sort of a grand finale ending a fireworks display. And for Republicans, the late California voting for once could help determine the presidential nominee.

True, Trump and Schwarzenegger both are celebrity showmen. And never underestimate the desire of voters to be entertained. Ronald Reagan was another star who got his political start by attracting the curious and capturing their attention.

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