In Philadelphia, Hillary Clinton confronted
Hillary Clinton talks police conduct with Sandra Bland’s mother at her side
Hillary Clinton sat beside women who had lost loved ones to confrontations with police as they recounted vivid details of the deaths Wednesday evening in a steamy packed church.
“For the mothers, fathers that have lost children and she didn’t call you, I am sorry. I only know that she called me. She called these sisters on the stage,” said Geneva Reed-Veal, whose daughter, Sandra Bland, died in a jail cell last year, three days after a traffic stop near Houston.
Reed-Veal and some of the women had appeared with Clinton before, providing powerful and personal testimony that is far different from typical campaign rallies. They also provide a rebuttal to critics of former President Bill Clinton’s get-tough-on-crime strategies that have caused some black activists to criticize Hillary Clinton.
Clinton, who sat with former U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder, promised to champion their cause, invoking her own daughter Chelsea as she tried to empathize with their loss. She talked about changing police policies, demilitarizing police forces, and increasing training programs designed to de-escalate tense situations. As she typically does, Clinton warned that no one would get everything they want, that there would have to be compromise.
“They’re asking us to be there for them,” Clinton said. “I will do everything I can imagine. I want these women and so many other family members to hold me accountable for everything I can possibly do, because it is wrong.”
Clinton’s event was held at St. Paul’s Baptist Church, a 126-year-old African American institution in Philadelphia’s West Poplar area. Pennsylvania is the site of the next primary. Inside the small church, media competed for space with church members, activists and campaign people.
The event was billed as a discussion of police conduct, gun violence and incarceration of black men. Clinton touched on all three topics. But the presence of the women ensured that police conduct took prominence.
“I can’t even imagine,” she said, looking at one of the mothers. “You mentioned Chelsea. I can’t even imagine. I have the greatest respect for what each of them has gone through, but also their protests, their speaking out, their demands. Because that is what all of us should be doing.”
The format is a contrast to large rallies, at which Clinton has trouble competing with the passion and size of the crowds generated by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, her rival for the Democratic presidential nomination. The poignant stories provided a different kind of emotional charge.
“There’s no one person, no one victim that’s more important than the other,” said Nicole Paultre, whose fiance, Sean Bell, died in 2006 after a confrontation with police in New York on the night of his bachelor party. “It’s a club that no one wants to be a part of. ... We don’t want no more members.”
Clinton said little about Sanders, but she did not refrain from criticizing him, despite calls from some Democrats to tamp down the increasingly contentious primary battle.
“There’s been a lot of talk in this campaign and the primary campaign about the power of certain interests in this country,” Clinton said. “But there is no more powerful lobby than the gun lobby. None.”
Clinton then criticized Sanders’ vote to give legal immunity to gun makers and sellers in the event of a shooting involving a weapon they made or sold.
“That’s one of the big differences between me and Sen. Sanders,” she said.
Ted Cruz: ‘We’re heading to a contested convention’
Fresh off a shutout in Tuesday’s New York primary, Sen. Ted Cruz said no GOP contender will be able to capture the nomination outright during the primary process, paving the way for a convention battle.
Cruz said Wednesday that Trump’s “good night in New York” came as no surprise, as the GOP front-runner was competing in his home state.
“You have to earn the support of the majority of the delegates elected by the people, and we are on a path to doing that,” Cruz said. “And Donald is on a path to losing the nomination. All of his bluster, all of his bravado is designed to hide that simple fact.”
Cruz addressed reporters at the South Florida resort where Republican party officials are gathering for their quarterly meeting. The confab of the party’s rules committee, which typically garners little attention outside establishment circles, has assumed greater significance in light of a potential contested convention, where arcane procedural matters could carry more weight.
Such a situation would arise if no candidate clinches a majority of delegates during the primary season. Trump, who leads in the delegate count, is pursuing a narrow path to do so, but Cruz said such an outright win would not happen.
“What is clear today is that we’re heading to a contested convention,” Cruz said. “Nobody is able to reach 1,237 [delegates]. ... We’re going to arrive in Cleveland with me having a ton of delegates and Donald having a ton of delegates.”
At that point, Cruz said, the fight will be over swaying delegates to consolidate enough support in a second round of voting or beyond. The Cruz campaign has been assiduous in tracking the delegate selection process, working to ensure delegate slots go to his supporters.
“We will have a tremendous advantage in that battle because the party is unifying behind our campaign,” Cruz said.
Cruz appeared to be bracing for another tough round of primaries next week, when five states in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic will vote. He was more bullish on his prospects as the race heads west afterward to contests in Indiana, Nebraska and Montana.
He put particular emphasis on California’s primary on June 7, where 172 delegates are at stake.
John Kasich continues to believe, despite immense odds
Ohio Gov. John Kasich amassed a paltry three delegates from New York on Tuesday, but in a mix of spin and wild optimism, his campaign heralded it as a victory.
Yet Kasich, like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, has no mathematical chance of winning the Republican nomination ahead of the party’s national convention in July.
Kasich’s 148 delegates are less than even the 171 that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has; Rubio ended his campaign last month. And unlike Cruz, who has won several nominating contests, Kasich’s lone victory came in his home state.
Still, “it doesn’t matter,” said John Weaver, Kasich’s chief strategist, before New York results came in Tuesday.
Kasich and his team have their sights set on the convention in Cleveland this summer. They’re gambling that front-runner Donald Trump will come up short in his quest for the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination on the first ballot and that they can mount a challenge on subsequent ballots, when fewer delegates are bound to the candidate chosen by their state’s or district’s popular vote.
But as Trump continues to notch wins, the chance to nab delegates on a second or third ballot in Cleveland becomes less realistic because no such votes might ever take place. Nonetheless, Kasich’s team is courting delegates who back Trump and Cruz in the hopes they will switch to Kasich should multiple ballots take place.
Weaver insisted Wednesday “it is highly unlikely” Trump can win on a first ballot at the convention. He said delegates should consider which candidate is best positioned to defeat Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and pointed to polls that show Kasich as the lone Republican outpacing her.
Kasich’s campaign sees opportunities to scoop up delegates in primaries Tuesday with relatively moderate Republican electorates, such as Rhode Island, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
In an email to supporters Wednesday, Weaver urged the so-called #NeverTrump movement, which consists of super PACs who successfully spent millions of dollars to blunt Trump in Wisconsin’s primary, to again forcefully denounce the billionaire businessman in the upcoming states.
As a nod to Kasich, the grassroots movement sent out a tweet Wednesday afternoon, touting its endorsements for the next week’s contests. Kasich netted its support in four out of the five primaries.
Map: Sanders won most counties in New York, but Clinton won areas with most voters
Bernie Sanders may have won the most counties in New York’s Democratic presidential primary, but Hillary Clinton won in areas with the biggest populations. That includes Manhattan, where she took 177,496 votes to Sanders’ 90,227.
Ted Cruz in Pennsylvania picks up where he left off — courting evangelicals and conservatives
A day after Donald Trump flattened him in New York, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz fought back against the perception that his campaign cannot compete in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states that have become essential to his tenuous claim on the Republican presidential nomination.
“Let me tell you what Donald and the media want to convince everyone, that Pennsylvania is a suburb of Manhattan,” Cruz told a friendly crowd at an antique car museum Wednesday morning. “I’ve got a lot more faith in the people of Pennsylvania.”
Baiting New York hurt Cruz on Tuesday — he won zero delegates in the state — but it won him applause here in Hershey, not far from the eponymous chocolate factory and theme park. It is surrounded by the amber fields and rolling hills of farm country.
Opinion polls show Cruz lagging Trump in Pennsylvania and four other states — Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware and Maryland — that will hold GOP primaries on April 26.
To win the nomination, Cruz is counting on a bank-shot strategy that requires him to gain on Trump in those states and others still to vote, including California.
Cruz also is relying on using complicated delegate systems in each state to boost his tally in hopes that he can prevail in a contested convention in Cleveland this summer.
To do that, he needs to stop Trump from winning 1,237 delegates ahead of the convention, and prevent the billionaire businessman from cementing the perception that he is the presumptive nominee.
“I would hope that New York is a blip,” said Kathleen Skobieranda, a 53-year-old homemaker who attended Cruz’s event Tuesday night in Philadelphia and is deciding between him and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Cruz won in Wisconsin two weeks ago, giving his campaign a much-needed boost. The cowboy-boot-wearing Texan has stayed on Trump’s heels by portraying himself as an outsider in Washington and emphasizing his deeply conservative interpretation of the Constitution and his evangelical values.
The Northeast has fewer evangelicals than the South and Midwest, making the challenge more difficult for Cruz.
Religious conservatives remain a crucial part of his coalition. Several pockets of central Pennsylvania, centered around Lancaster, are deeply religious.
“The big problem I see is Philadelphia and Pittsburgh,” said Brenda Oren, a 56-year-old home-schooling mother from Harrisburg who came to Wednesday’s rally.
She said she knows many religious conservatives who will support Cruz. “Hopefully, there are enough to put him over.”
Anne Grable, 66, another religious conservative supporter from nearby Mechanicsburg, agrees that Cruz faces difficult political terrain in the Northeast. But she is surprised he is not showing more strength.
“I am shocked that he’s not having more support than he is with all the conservative Christians in the Northeast,” said Grable, who sat in the front row Wednesday and wore a large Cruz pin on her Cruz T-shirt that matched her Cruz hat .
Cruz walked on stage with the Alan Jackson country song “Where I Come From” blasting on the amplifiers.
Cruz stuck largely to his stump speech — which emphasizes national security, job creation, religious liberty and constitutional conservatism — with a few nods to the local region, including pointing out that he has a nephew who works in a chocolate factory.
Lowman Henry, his state chairman, said Cruz would run aggressive campaigns for delegates in state congressional districts. Pennsylvania allows voters to vote for delegates directly on the ballot.
The ballots do not specify which candidate delegates support, so supporters of Cruz, Trump and Kasich are all trying to ensure their voters know who to pick.
The Cruz campaign aims to elect delegates who promise to support him on the first or second ballot in Cleveland, regardless of whether he wins Pennsylvania.
Cruz’s best hopes in attracting voters here may lie with Tea Party supporters who care most about a strict fealty to a constitutional interpretation that values limited government.
“It’s not about evangelicals. It’s about him being a constitutional conservative here,” said Vonne Andring, Cruz’s state director. She emphasized she was giving her personal opinion and was not in charge of Cruz’s strategy.
Many Cruz supporters here point to Cruz’s tenure as Texas solicitor general, when he argued before the U.S. Supreme Court and filed briefs on behalf of several conservative causes.
He was introduced Wednesday by Henry, the Pennsylvania state chairman, as “our nation’s foremost defender of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.”
Lowman also noted that Cruz kicked off his official campaign here Tuesday, before the New York results were announced, at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.
John Rentschler, who wore colonial garb and a tri-cornered hat to Wednesday’s rally, cited the Constitution as his chief concern.
“Ted Cruz is the only one who seems to revere it,” said Rentschler, 32.
Many supporters believe Cruz can shift his emphasis here to broaden his appeal. But they warn against changing his message, which depends on convincing conservatives that he is sincere and unyielding.
His speech Tuesday night was unusual for a candidate known best for his take-no-prisoners call to partisans. It was a soaring testimony to American potential — with references to John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama and the moon landing — that served as a call for unity.
Sam Goykhman, a Philadelphia supporter who attended the event, said it might help if Cruz altered his tone a bit. “But if he goes away from his main objective, everyone will say he changed his views.”
Elizabeth Warren unleashes a Twitter attack on Ted Cruz
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Clinton aide warns Sanders against jeopardizing Democratic unity
Sen. Bernie Sanders should back off his attacks on Hillary Clinton and stop threatening Democratic Party unity, a Clinton aide said Wednesday.
Further dividing Democratic voters in the presidential race could hurt the party’s chances against the Republican candidate in November’s general election, Clinton Press Secretary Brian Fallon warned.
“Can we conduct the remaining part of the primary campaign with a civil tone, with an issues focus so that we’re not doing anything that would jeopardize our ability to unite the party?” Fallon said on CNN’s “New Day.”
Though Sanders is pursuing the Democratic nomination, in Congress he has long been an independent who describes himself as a democratic socialist.
Sanders and Clinton grew increasingly hostile toward each other going into the contentious New York primary on Tuesday, but Clinton took the win.
Fallon predicted that Sanders’ digs at Clinton in connection with her speeches to Wall Street groups will lose him votes.
“Even if he won every state left by 15 points, he still wouldn’t catch Hillary Clinton in the popular vote or the pledged-delegate total,” Fallon said.
New York wins boost front-runners’ delegate hauls
Thanks to their big wins in New York on Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump — the front-runners of their respective parties — added to their significant delegate lead over their primary rivals.
On the Democratic side, Clinton — who scored a double-digit victory over Bernie Sanders — picked up 139 delegates, while Sanders notched 103 delegates from the state, according to projections by the Associated Press.
Clinton’s win helps pad her existing delegate lead, making it harder for Sanders to catch up in the remaining contests.
On the Republican side, Trump’s commanding victory in New York added 89 delegates to his column. John Kasich, the Ohio governor, won three delegates in the state, while Ted Cruz was shut out entirely.
It is now mathematically impossible for Cruz or Kasich to win the nomination outright. The only hope for Trump’s rivals is to stop him from clinching the majority of delegates and try their hand at a contested convention.
Clinton rolls over Sanders in New York, says Democratic nomination ‘is in sight’
Hillary Clinton decisively won New York’s Democratic primary Tuesday over Sen. Bernie Sanders in what could prove to be a pivotal contest, scoring a double-digit victory that essentially foreclosed her rival’s last, best opportunity to win the nomination.
Sanders had vowed to win the state and had outspent Clinton significantly here. In the end, however, she was the one who emerged with the win in the state she represented in the Senate for eight years. She will add heavily to her already formidable lead over her rival in delegates to this summer’s Democratic nominating convention.
“We have won in every region of the country from the north to the south to the east to the west, but this one’s personal,” Clinton said to supporters in New York City. “The race for the Democratic nomination is in the home stretch, and victory is in sight.”
Clinton made little mention of Sanders in the speech, other than to reach out to his backers following a particularly contentious period in the race during which the Vermont senator made an energetic, and at times bitter, effort to overtake the front-runner.
Trump celebrates Republican primary victory in New York, still railing against system
Donald Trump roared to a huge victory Tuesday in New York’s Republican primary, delivering a much-needed chance to reset his presidential campaign and regain the upper hand in the fight for the GOP nomination.
There had been little doubt Trump would carry his home state, where the real estate mogul is literally a household name: In giant letters and various forms, “Trump” adorns some of Manhattan’s most exclusive properties.
The outcome was clear the instant that polls closed, with the front-runner leaping to an enormous lead that never wavered. With nearly all of the votes counted, Trump had 60% support, followed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich with 25% and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz with 15.
The key question was the size of Trump’s victory and whether he would capture all of the delegates by winning 50% of the statewide vote and a majority in each of New York’s 27 congressional districts. It appeared he would claim at least the overwhelmingly majority of the state’s 95 delegates, with Kasich taking a handful.