Donald Trump Wins 5 Primaries; Hillary Clinton Wins 4, Loses Rhode Island Trump calls himself the presumptive nominee; Clinton solidifies her lead. In addition to Mara Liasson's roundup, Steve Inskeep talks to Democratic strategist Margie Omero and GOP strategist Jim Hobart
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Donald Trump Wins 5 Primaries; Hillary Clinton Wins 4, Loses Rhode Island

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Donald Trump Wins 5 Primaries; Hillary Clinton Wins 4, Loses Rhode Island

Donald Trump Wins 5 Primaries; Hillary Clinton Wins 4, Loses Rhode Island

Donald Trump Wins 5 Primaries; Hillary Clinton Wins 4, Loses Rhode Island

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/475848836/475848837" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Trump calls himself the presumptive nominee; Clinton solidifies her lead. In addition to Mara Liasson's roundup, Steve Inskeep talks to Democratic strategist Margie Omero and GOP strategist Jim Hobart

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

The math just got better for both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Each is trying to seal a party nomination.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Each moved closer by dominating yesterday's northeastern primaries.

INSKEEP: And we're going to talk this through with Republican pollster Jim Hobart. Welcome back to the program, sir.

JIM HOBART: Good morning.

INSKEEP: And also in our studios, Democratic pollster Margie Omero. Good morning to you.

MARGIE OMERO: Good morning.

INSKEEP: And let me begin by asking each of you - Maybe, Margie, you'd like to start - To sum up last night's results in one sentence.

OMERO: Well, as Clinton and Trump head toward consolidating their nominations, Clinton seems more presidential, Trump maybe not so much.

INSKEEP: OK, Jim Hobart.

HOBART: Meet Donald Trump, your presumptive Republican nominee. I think that we can finally say that the Trump train is almost impossible to stop at this point.

INSKEEP: The Trump train, OK. We're going to expand on that sentence and Margie's sentence after we listen to the candidates. Here's NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Donald Trump held his victory party at Trump Tower, where he called himself the presumptive nominee.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: The best way to beat the system is have evenings like this, where you get record-setting votes, where you get record-setting delegates.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: I use the analogy of the boxer, you know? When the boxer knocks out the other boxer, you don't have to wait around for a decision. So that's what it is. And that's what happened tonight.

LIASSON: Trump said he was confident he'd come to Cleveland with 1,237 delegates. But even if he didn't, he said it would be unfair and bad for the party if the GOP denied him the nomination.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: How do you pick a man on the second or third or fourth ballot who has millions of votes - Five, 6 million votes - Less than Trump? And I'm the one that brought all these people into the party. And you know what's going to happen?

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Those people, at a minimum, they're going to be very upset, very angry. But at a minimum, they're just not going to vote.

LIASSON: Trump took questions from reporters, including one about comments from his new campaign adviser, Paul Manafort, that Trump would be changing his behavior on the stump, that he'd been playing a part and would soon start acting more presidential.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: I'm not playing a part. Look, I started off with 17. I'm down, now I'm winning and it's over. As far as I'm concerned, it's over. These two guys cannot win. There is no path. So why would I change?

LIASSON: On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton won Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania, putting the nomination effectively out of reach for Bernie Sanders. Her victory speech was a plea for party unity after a bruising, increasingly personal campaign.

(SOUNDBITE of archived recording)

HILLARY CLINTON: I applaud Senator Sanders and his millions of supporters for challenging us to get unaccountable money out of our politics and giving greater emphasis to closing the gap of inequality. And I know together, we will get that done.

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: Because whether you support Senator Sanders or you support me, there's much more that unites us than divides us.

(APPLAUSE)

LIASSON: Sanders, who only won Rhode Island last night, is promising to stay in the race until the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, where he said he would fight for a progressive party platform. Last night, in West Virginia, he didn't sound like he was ready to concede.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECODRING)

BERNIE SANDERS: We have won over 1,200 delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

(APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: And in the last several weeks, the national polls, they don't show us 60 points down. A few of them have us, actually, ahead.

LIASSON: Donald Trump was already looking past the primaries. He attacked Hillary Clinton for lacking strength and stamina. And he accused her of breaking the law with her private email server.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: I called her crooked Hillary. She's crooked. She'll be a horrible president. She knows nothing about job creation. Her husband signed NAFTA, which destroyed this country economically. I will tell you.

LIASSON: Trump predicted that he would beat Clinton easily in the fall. And he accused her of playing the woman card.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: And frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don't think she'd get 5 percent of the vote. The only thing she's got going is the woman's card. And the beautiful thing is women don't like her, OK? And look how well I did with women tonight. OK.

LIASSON: Clinton had an answer for that one.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CLINTON: Well, if fighting for women's health care and paid family leave and equal pay is playing the woman card, then deal me in.

(APPLAUSE)

LIASSON: Neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton will have the delegates they need before California holds its primary on June 7. But last night might have been the first time the general election contest was joined. Mara Liasson, NPR News.

INSKEEP: Republican pollster Jim Hobart and Democratic pollster Margie Omero have been listening in with us here in the studios and are still with us. And we should mention Margie's husband is working for the Bernie Sanders campaign. But you remain unaffiliated, right, Margie?

OMERO: That's right.

INSKEEP: OK, so what do you make of this? You said Donald Trump, in terms of the presidential, not so much.

OMERO: I mean, the comment he made about Clinton playing the woman card is just so preposterous, especially considering how badly Trump does with women. He continues to have a gender gap in his own primary, where he does better with Republican men than with Republican women.

That's unprecedented. You didn't see that with Romney and McCain. They did better with women in their primaries or even, no better or worse. He is unpopular with - So unpopular with women overall. He loses by 12 points with married women. That's a group that went for Romney seven points in the general election. I mean, however you slice it, he does terribly with women. For him to try and make this about gender is just outrageous.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Jim Hobart, is a contested convention right now just a fantasy? You know, it just seems to me like it will not be feeding into what the Republican rank and file seem to want.

HOBART: It is a lot less likely today than it was yesterday, I think. I think that both the Cruz campaign and the Never-Trump movement is going to try and make their last stand in Indiana. But right now, that evidence points to that last stand looking more like General Custer's than anything else.

INSKEEP: Wow, well, let's talk about this because we just heard Margie say that Trump is offending women, doing terribly with women. But we've had a series of primaries yesterday where, unlike a lot of other primaries, Trump actually got more than 50 percent of the vote - Way more than 50 percent of the vote. Is he consolidating the party, or at least the party voters, behind him?

HOBART: It certainly looks like it. For a long time the narrative was, hey, Trump's ceiling is 35 percent. Now, as you mentioned, he topped 50 percent - And well over 50 percent in all five of these states. So it certainly looks like he's getting more of the Republican vote than he was in previous primaries.

INSKEEP: And let's put this out on the table as far as what Hillary Clinton is doing as well. We have Trump making this statement about Hillary playing the women card, which, Margie, it sounds like you find that to be entirely, aside from being offensive, just not very wise.

OMERO: Right. It just doesn't even make any sense. I don't even know what it means.

INSKEEP: On a basic level, is it true in that Hillary Clinton is running as a woman, as a historic candidate, much more than the last time she ran?

OMERO: I mean, so I think she - Well, first, she can only run as a woman, right? She's a woman.

INSKEEP: She's a woman.

OMERO: That's the only option she has, right? And she is talking more about her candidacy, I think, more than last time. She's always been an advocate for women's issues for decades. That's not new. That's something that she has always done.

I think you're seeing some of these issues a little bit more front and center this time around. And as well they should be. I mean, you think you see a lot of candidates on both sides of the aisle recognizing the importance of reaching swing-voting women. And for Trump to do well while alienating that group just shows, I think, not just the what's going on in his party. It shows the weakness of the rest of the field. It shows a lot of problems for the Republican Party broadly going into the general.

INSKEEP: And Lulu asked about the convention. Let's ask about between now and the convention. What does it mean for each party? Walk me through it if there's a contest, all the way through to the convention in each party.

HOBART: I think that for Republicans, it means that the party is going to continue to be more and more divided. They asked an exit-poll question of both parties. Is this primary something that has inspired the party or has it divided?

Democrats are saying that despite the close race between Clinton and Sanders, that it's inspiring the party. The majority of Republicans are saying it's dividing the party. So from the Republican standpoint, a contested convention would be tough.

INSKEEP: Margie Omero, could it actually be good for Democrats for Sanders to fight all the way to the finish?

OMERO: Yeah, I mean, you know, Jim took my point. I mean, the New York exit showed the same thing, as then last night's exit showed the same thing. And national polls show the same thing. Democrats feel energized. I don't believe this story that Clinton is hurt by this continued dialogue because obviously she's doing really well.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: But, you know, Margie, Sanders' attacks have been really pointed. I mean, he sent out an image of her laughing with Trump at a party. Do you think that will hurt her in the general election?

OMERO: I don't think so. I mean, I think what you're seeing on the Democratic side is just a normal drawing of contrasts. It's not nearly as personal as - and schoolyard taunts - as what you see on the Republican side, where, you know, Trump just hates the idea of having to be presidential for more than 24 hours and then changes his mind. You don't see anything like that on the Democratic side. And so I don't really see how that's going to hurt her going forward.

INSKEEP: Jim?

HOBART: Nothing to unite the Democratic Party like Donald Trump. I can tell you that much. And I think that in 2008, we saw a lot of the same talk. Are Hillary Clinton supporters going to go to Obama? And there was some talk during the primary that it wouldn't happen.

But they - almost every single one of them - voted for President Obama. And I think in this case, the almost will all - all the Sanders supporters would vote for Hillary.

INSKEEP: Just got about 10 seconds. Have the elites in your party been dragged to the same position as the base voters in your party? Because that's been the divide here.

HOBART: It certainly looks like Donald Trump is dragging them somewhere, and it's not somewhere where they ever thought they would be.

INSKEEP: OK, Jim, thanks very much. That's Jim Hobart of Public Opinion Strategies. Margie Omero, thanks to you as well.

OMERO: Thanks.

INSKEEP: She's a Democratic strategist and co-host of the podcast, "The Pollsters." And they've both become virtually regular guests here on MORNING EDITION.

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