Bernie Sanders says wins will bring momentum
Celebrating a three-state sweep in the latest Democratic Party caucuses, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said Sunday he believed campaign momentum had shifted in his favor and would position him to defeat Donald Trump.
Sanders beat Hillary Clinton by decisive margins in Hawaii, Alaska and Washington.
“Our calculations are that in fact we can win the pledged delegates,” Sanders said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” with Chuck Todd. “And at a time when we have the momentum, we have won five out of the six last contests in landslide fashion, in all of the national polling that I have seen, we are beating Donald Trump by much greater margins than is Secretary Clinton.”
Asked why he no longer scolded his supporters for booing Clinton at his rallies, Sanders suggested crowd reactions were inevitable given the sharp differences in his and Clinton’s positions.
“What we are trying to do in this campaign is to differentiate our positions from Secretary Clinton on the war in Iraq, on fracking, on how we raise money,” Sanders said. “That is what the American people want to hear.”
Meanwhile, Trump, the Republican front-runner, and his chief rival Texas Sen. Ted Cruz continued a nasty, personal fight. On ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, Trump denied that he was behind a National Enquirer report that claimed Cruz had cheated on his wife.
Why Sanders’ big caucus wins on Saturday don’t change the shape of the race
Sen. Bernie Sanders put together a trifecta on Saturday -- lopsided wins in three caucuses that had his supporters cheering.
Unfortunately for Sanders’ backers, however, the victories didn’t do much to change the shape of a Democratic primary race in which Hillary Clinton remains the odds-on favorite.
Even after Saturday’s Sanders victories, Clinton holds a lead of more than 260 in the count of pledged delegates to the Democratic nominating convention. That does not include the additional lead of some 440 that she currently holds among the so-called super-delegates -- party leaders and elected officials who can vote as they choose at the convention.
A lead of 260 delegates is a big one -- bigger than the lead then-Sen. Barack Obama amassed over Clinton in 2008. Overcoming it would require some really big wins in big states.
Moreover, Sanders still has not succeeded in expanding his map. He has repeatedly shown he can win in states that have overwhelmingly white populations and in states that hold caucuses rather than primaries. Saturday’s contests were all caucuses, and two took place in states -- Alaska and Washington -- that have extremely white populations.
In today’s Democratic party, a candidate cannot win without significant black and Latino support. With the one exception of his victory in Michigan, Sanders has notably failed to win primaries in states with large black or Latino populations.
After Saturday, only two more states hold caucuses -- Wyoming and North Dakota, both small states with few delegates. There are also few heavily white states left to vote. In addition to the two caucus states, Sanders’ current pattern would indicate he should do well in West Virginia, Oregon, Montana and South Dakota.
But what he would need to do to actually defeat Clinton is win primaries in states with large minority populations. To overcome Clinton’s lead, Sanders would have to win states like Wisconsin, which votes on April 5, New York on April 19 and Pennsylvania a week later. And he needs to win those by large margins to make up for the big victories Clinton has achieved in states like Florida, North Carolina and Arizona.
It’s not an impossible task, but it is a tough one.
Clinton email inquiry enters new phase as FBI interviews loom
Federal prosecutors investigating the possible mishandling of classified materials on Hillary Clinton’s private email server have begun the process of setting up formal interviews with some of her longtime and closest aides, according to two people familiar with the probe, an indication that the inquiry is moving into its final phases.
Those interviews and the final review of the case, however, could still take many weeks, all but guaranteeing that the investigation will continue to dog Clinton’s presidential campaign through most, if not all, of the remaining presidential primaries.
No dates have been set for questioning the advisors, but a federal prosecutor in recent weeks has called their lawyers to alert them that he would soon be doing so, the sources said. Prosecutors also are expected to seek an interview with Clinton herself, though the timing remains unclear.
John Kasich: ‘Families have to be off-limits’
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who has made a point of running a positive campaign as he seeks the Republican presidential nomination, waded into the personal back-and-forth between front-runner Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz that has taken shape in recent days.
“Families have to be off-limits. I mean, you cannot get these attacks on families,” Kasich said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
“And if this becomes the order of the day, what kind of people are we going to have in the future that are going to run for public office? There’s got to be some rules ... some decency.”
Last week, Trump threatened to “spill the beans” about Cruz’s wife, Heidi, after an anti-Trump super PAC ran an ad with a salacious magazine photo of Trump’s wife, Melania, a former model.
Trump then retweeted a comparison of an unflattering image of Heidi Cruz and a glamorous photo of his own wife, Melania.
“Leave Heidi the hell alone,” Cruz responded.
Trump, who assailed Jeb Bush’s family before the former Florida governor exited the race, has a strong lead in delegates. He’s followed by Cruz and then Kasich.