Snapshots: Clinton, Trump pulling away from rivals
Providence, R.I. — Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump surged Sunday toward another round of pivotal presidential primaries as their party leaders faced new questions about internal divisions that could complicate their nominees’ general election chances.
With less than 48 hours before voting began across five Northeastern states, GOP front-runner Donald Trump looked ahead to Tuesday’s contests in five states where he’s poised to do well and to a foreign policy speech later in the week. Republican challenger Ted Cruz, meanwhile, abandoned the Tuesday states and instead campaigned in Indiana, which votes May 3.
On the Democratic side, underdog Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, faced thousands of voters in Rhode Island, looking to the smallest state in the nation for momentum even as he appeared to soften his attacks on Clinton.
“If Secretary Clinton is the nominee — and we’re not giving this thing up, we’re going all the way to California — but if she is the nominee, I would hope that she puts together the strongest progressive agenda,” Sanders said on ABC’s “This Week” before courting voters in Rhode Island’s capital city.
The former secretary of state opened her day at a Philadelphia black church ahead of the primary in Pennsylvania, Tuesday’s top delegate prize.
“If you will vote for me, I will stand up for you throughout this campaign. I will continue to stand up and fight all the way into the White House,” Clinton told parishioners at Triumph Baptist Church in North Philadelphia.
With 172 delegates at stake Tuesday on the Republican side, Trump could take a significant step toward his party’s delegate majority with the dominant performance that many polls predict.
His rivals, Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, have been mathematically eliminated from earning the necessary 1,237 delegates and are instead trying to block Trump from the majority to force a contested national convention in July.
Koch: Clinton may be best candidate
Billionaire political donor Charles Koch said Democrat Hillary Clinton may make a better president than any of the Republicans vying for the job and derided the rhetoric of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.
The chairman and chief executive officer of Koch Industries Inc., in an interview with ABC’s “This Week” broadcast Sunday, also criticized “a tax code that subsidizes the wealthy.” This year’s Republican candidates, now whittled down to Trump, Cruz, and Ohio Governor John Kasich, have failed to win his backing because they aren’t addressing that issue, he said.
Koch said the U.S. has to “get rid of all” tax breaks. “I don’t hear any of the Republican candidates talking about this two-tiered system and getting rid of it. So that’s why we haven’t supported any of them,” he said.
The billionaire’s assessment of Clinton was based in part on the White House record of her husband. Bill Clinton “wasn’t an exemplar. But as far as the growth in government, the increase in spending, it was two and a half times” more under Republican George W. Bush than it was under Clinton, Koch said.