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Hollywood, Fla. — His general-election appeal in question, Donald Trump’s senior team is promising anxious Republicans that voters will see “a real different way” soon after the GOP front-runner claims his party’s presidential nomination.

“When he’s out on the stage, when he’s talking about the kinds of things he’s talking about on the stump, he’s projecting an image that’s for that purpose,” Paul Manafort, who is leading Trump’s primary election strategy, told Republican National Committee members in a private briefing late Thursday. The Associated Press obtained a recording of the discussion.

“You’ll start to see more depth of the person, the real person. You’ll see a real different way,” Manafort said.

“He gets it,” Manafort said of Trump’s need to moderate his brash personality. “The part that he’s been playing is evolving into the part that now you’ve been expecting, but he wasn’t ready for, because he had first to complete the first phase. The negatives will come down. The image is going to change.”

The message is part of the campaign’s intensifying effort to convince party leaders that Trump will help deliver big electoral gains this fall, despite his contentious ways. Yet it also opens him up to questions about his authenticity.

Republican rival Ted Cruz seized on the remarks in a radio interview late Thursday.

“I’m actually going to give Trump a little bit of credit here. He’s being candid. He’s telling us he’s lying to us,” Cruz told host Mark Levin. “You look at what his campaign manager says, is that this is just an act. This is just a show.”

The Texas senator continued: “When Donald talks about building a wall, when Donald talks about enforcing immigration laws, when Donald talks about, I guess, anything, that it’s all an act, a show.”

Meantime, some Democrats are also calling for candidate Bernie Sanders to strike a more civil tone now that his 16-point loss to Hillary Clinton in this week’s New York presidential primary has made it almost certain that she will be the party’s 2016 nominee.

The sharp rhetoric at the candidates’ April 14 Brooklyn debate — when Sanders criticized front-runner Hillary Clinton’s judgment — is only counterproductive at this point, some of his fellow senators say. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democratic leader, said he’s counting on Sanders to help bring party members together at the Philadelphia convention in July.

The Republican National Committee gathered at a seaside resort in south Florida for its annual spring meeting. While candidates in both parties targeted primary contests in the Northeast, Hollywood’s Diplomat Resort & Spa turned into a palm-treed political battleground.

Senior advisers for Trump, Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich courted RNC members in a series of private meetings on the resort’s grounds, sometimes sitting at adjacent tables in the marble-floored lobby. Trump’s tightening grasp of his party’s presidential nomination dominated much of the hallway discussion.

“He’s trying to moderate. He’s getting better,” said Ben Carson, a Trump ally who was part of the GOP’s front-runner’s RNC outreach team.

Despite his team’s aggressive message, Trump was telling voters he wasn’t quite ready to act presidential. “I just don’t know if I want to do it yet,” he said during a raucous rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, that was frequently interrupted by protesters.

Campaign

update

Firms that paid for Clinton speeches have federal interests

It’s not just Wall Street banks. Most companies and groups that paid Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to speak between 2013 and 2015 have lobbied federal agencies in recent years, and more than one-third are government contractors, an Associated Press review has found.

The AP’s review of federal records, regulatory filings and correspondence showed that almost all the 82 corporations, trade associations and other groups that paid for or sponsored Clinton’s speeches have actively sought to sway the government — lobbying, bidding for contracts, commenting on federal policy and in some cases contacting State Department officials or Clinton herself during her tenure as secretary of state.

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