Donald Trump has questions on campaign manager fallout in behind-the-scenes talks
Hillary Clinton camp has reasons for wanting to run against Ted Cruz instead of Trump
Clinton camp is looking for unity and more politeness from Bernie Sanders, surrogates
Inside takes on Donald Trump’s campaign leadership and rowdy rallies, two looks at Democratic campaign calculations and an endorsement that John McCain hopes helps – those all fill our “Inside Politics” forecast, where you get tomorrow’s headlines, today.
1) Trump stands by his manager – but in private is asking questions
In public, Trump has been nothing but a most loyal boss: standing by his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, and dismissing assault allegations by former Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields.
Privately, however, Trump apparently has some questions.
CNN is told that Trump this past week brought up the charges in at least two conversations with friends and associates, and asked for input about any possible political fallout.
In at least one case, CNN is told the response was harsh: Some said Lewandowski’s behavior was unacceptable and the fallout worse than it had to be because of video evidence. That release to the public proved false the initial statements by both Lewandowski and Trump that there was no physical contact.
Will the unvarnished advice mean anything?
CNN is told Trump left a meeting at the Republican National Committee this past week concerned his team was not on top of the intricate delegate process.
Just before that meeting, Trump struck a deal with longtime Republican hand Paul Manafort to step in and lead the campaign’s delegate operation.
Now, there is chatter about whether Trump’s asking questions is a sign he is thinking about additional changes in his hierarchy.
2) Democrats think Trump digging a general election hole, so why are they hoping for Cruz?
Hillary Clinton campaign insiders didn’t bother trying to mask their glee last week: They see Trump’s trouble with abortion questions and other dust-ups involving the GOP front-runner’s campaign as potential general election gifts.
What could be better, right? The first woman nominated for president by a major political party running against a candidate who is viewed unfavorably by more than seven in 10 women.
And yet Abby Phillip of The Washington Post reports that inside the Clinton team, there is more of a comfort level with running against Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. The key factor: predictability.
“He gives them a pretty standard map, the same one that Obama had in 2008 and 2016. And they think they can win with that map. So what Ted Cruz does not have is that X factor, the unpredictability that has made Donald Trump throw caution to the wind, and it gives Democrats a lot of worry.”
3) Clinton campaign allies look to change feisty tone
It’s crystal clear in recent days that a feisty Democratic race is turning even more testy. Some Clinton allies apparently think it is may be too testy.
Clinton has hardly been shy about lashing out at Bernie Sanders, recently accusing his campaign of “lying” about her support from the fossil-fuel industry.
Still, CNN’s Jeff Zeleny shared reporting of an nascent effort born of the Clinton campaign belief that her delegate lead is insurmountable. No, there won’t be calls for Sanders to exit the race. But look for ones for a more polite tone.
“Watch for people like Al Franken and others, the liberal progressives, to start making the case for respect for Secretary Clinton and for unity at the end of this long road here. The Clinton campaign is fed up, frustrated, furious with Bernie Sanders. They’re trying to not sort of let that spill out.”
4) John McCain hopes an endorsement helps
The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is making its first political endorsement — and the beneficiary hopes it helps in a state that has been center stage in the immigration debate in recent years.
The lucky candidate? Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, who is up for re-election in this volatile election cycle.
McCain’s longstanding support for comprehensive immigration reform could hurt him among some Republican primary voters. But Ed O’Keefe of The Washington Post told us that McCain believes he will win renomination, and that backing from a major Latino organization should be a boost in the fall.
“They’ve decided despite all the anti-immigrant, anti-Hispanic rhetoric out there, he and his record stand alone from all of that. That’s a big deal for McCain, of course, because he faces a bit of a challenging primary race right now and could potentially face one of the more challenging general election races in November in a state with a fast-growing Hispanic population.”
5) Trump rallies: Watch the crowds – and check the police logs
Are Trump’s rallies really more edgy and violent than other presidential campaign events?
One way to judge is to watch them. Another is to check local police records.
The Daily Beast chose the latter route, and the statistics, shared by Jackie Kucinich, are interesting.
“We found that one in seven (rallies) actually have a police-reported crime. And not only that, statistically, they’ve gotten more violent over by the week,” she said. “I talked to a crowd specialist that compared Trump to a rock star and said he has control over the mosh pit. You can either whip it up, or you can tone it down.”