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Donald Trump goes after Ted Cruz over citizenship -- again

As the conventions draw closer for both parties, Democrat and GOP leaders are sorting out delegates

The presidential election has Obama explaining it to concerned foreign leaders

(Kirsty Wigglesworth / Associated Press)

The American presidency is often called the most powerful job in the world. And perhaps in this election, more than most, many outside the U.S. would like a say in its outcome.

Concern about Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric, and its apparent resonance among large swaths of the American public, has become a regular feature of President Obama’s interactions with foreign counterparts and appears likely to trail him as he began something of a farewell tour of Europe on Friday.

“It’s fascinating the degree to which the single most important question I’m asked these days from other world leaders is, ‘What’s going on with your elections?’ ” Obama told interviewer Charlie Rose this week, calling the drama of the Republican race “the tip of a broader iceberg of dysfunction that we’ve seen.”

White House aides at times seem weary of questions about the extent to which the campaign is figuring in to Obama’s conversations with foreign leaders. But Obama and Vice President Joe Biden often have acknowledged the frequency of the inquiries, sometimes in jest. Toasting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a state dinner, he credited Canadians who “have, so far, rejected the idea of building a wall to keep out your southern neighbors.”

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Snapshot from the trail: A message for Bernie Sanders?

Bernie Sanders seeks support from black voters in Baltimore

Campaigning here ahead of Maryland’s Democratic primary on Tuesday, Bernie Sanders turned the spotlight on the city’s struggles.

Veering from his stump speech at a downtown rally, Sanders read statistics about local poverty, saying residents in some black neighborhoods have a life expectancy that is 20 years lower than elsewhere.

“This is America we’re talking about!” Sanders said to loud boos.

After a disappointing loss in New York’s primary last week, Sanders desperately needs to win some of the five states that vote Tuesday: Maryland, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island.

Recent polls show him trailing rival Hillary Clinton by double digits in Maryland. She also appears to be leading in the other states.

One of Clinton’s strengths this campaign has been her support among minorities, especially African Americans. Maryland is about one-third black.

Sanders’ rally Saturday drew thousands of supporters to a large stadium in downtown Baltimore, and he reached out to the city’s black voters.

He was introduced by several African American activists, including Ben Jealous, former head of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People.

“We’re here because we believe that everybody in this country is worth it,” Jealous said.

Sanders talks often about the need to reform the criminal justice system and end police brutality.

That issue has special resonance in Baltimore, which a year ago this month erupted in street protests after a young African American named Freddy Gray died in police custody.

“If a police officer breaks the law, that officer must be held accountable,” Sanders told a roaring crowd. “Police departments around America should not look like occupying forces.”

Donald Trump brings back line about Ted Cruz and Canada -- again

Donald Trump reprised an old — and misleading — jab at rival Ted Cruz on Saturday, questioning whether the Canadian-born senator from Texas can legally be president.

“Rafael,” said Trump, using Cruz’s birth name during a campaign event in Connecticut. “Straight out of the hills of Canada!”

If Cruz becomes the Republican nominee, Trump said, “the first thing the Democrats are going to do is sue him on the basis that he’s not a naturalized citizen; he wasn’t born in the country.”

Most legal experts consider that argument settled in Cruz’s favor.

The Constitution requires presidents to be “natural-born citizens,” and the children of U.S. citizens who are born abroad are automatically eligible for citizenship.

Cruz was born in Calgary, Canada, but his mother was an American citizen. He had dual citizenship until several years ago, when he gave up his Canadian passport.

Before the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses, Trump repeatedly suggested Cruz was ineligible to be president because of his Canadian birth.

He later moved onto other attacks, settling on “Lyin’ Ted” for most of them.

Cruz returned fire Saturday, calling Trump a “master illusionist” and a phony.

Ted Cruz calls Donald Trump a ‘master illusionist’ -- and a ‘phony’

Ted Cruz warned voters Saturday to be wary of Donald Trump — a “master illusionist’’ — who he said is just as entrenched in Washington as Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

“Donald Trump is the system,” the senator from Texas said after a campaign event in Monroeville, just down the road from a bustling Trump campaign office.

Cruz cited news reports that Trump’s key strategist, Paul J. Manafort, reassured party officials this week that the billionaire businessman’s blustery tone would soften if he becomes the Republican nominee.

“Donald Trump is the master illusionist. He is the Harry Houdini, engaged in an act of misdirection,” Cruz said. “Trump is a phony.”

Cruz has made his conservative credentials the centerpiece of his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination, and his stump speech won ovations here Saturday.

But polls show him trailing Trump in Pennsylvania despite efforts to woo religious voters and suburban moderates who may be looking for an alternative to Trump.

Cruz dismissed rival John Kasich, the Ohio governor and a native son, as a “spoiler.”

Kasich has won only the Ohio primary, but like Cruz, he hopes to win the nomination in a contested convention in Philadelphia.

Voters will cast ballots Tuesday in Pennsylvania and four other mid-Atlantic states, Polls show Trump is likely to win an important cache of delegates. that will push him closer to the 1,237 he needs to lock up the nomination.

But Cruz was motoring off to the next battleground and potentially friendlier terrain for his message in reliably Republican Indiana.

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Trump acknowledges Prince

For Donald Trump, California is key -- and polls look good

In his quest to win the GOP presidential nomination and avoid a contested party convention this summer, Donald Trump is banking on California.

Several polls of likely Republican voters show Trump in a strong position to win a majority of the 172 delegates in the June 7 primary.

Two polls released this week -- one from Fox News, the other from CBS News/YouGov -- showed Trump at 49% and far outpacing his rivals, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

An average of four polls from the past month in California has Trump up 15 percentage points over his rivals.

Cruz and Kasich trail Trump so badly in the delegate count that neither has any real possibility of winning the 1,237 required to win the nomination outright.

Both instead are trying to keep Trump from locking up the nomination before the party meets in Philadelphia in July.

If Trump doesn’t win on the first ballot, many delegates will be free to shift to other candidates if they wish.

Trump is trying to make sure that doesn’t happen.

The billionaire businessman has hired several senior aides whose sole purpose is to help him avoid a contested convention. He reportedly plans to pour millions of dollars into an effort in the coming weeks to nail down delegates.

Trump is the strong favorite in the five Northeastern states -- Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island and Delaware -- that hold primaries on Tuesday.

And in California, where Trump will speak this month at the GOP state convention, he has a team working to register Republicans so they can vote in the closed primary.

“We have a very important job to do in California,” said Tim Clark, Trump’s state director. “By harnessing the excitement surrounding Mr. Trump’s candidacy, it’s our intention to deliver 172 delegates for Trump to the national convention.”

Cruz and Kasich will do all they can to stop that from coming true.

Ted Cruz hits the ground in Pennsylvania

Understand how the presidential nomination delegate process really works

Unsure of how the delegate process works?

Check out this explainer:

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