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The Lid: How Clinton (Really) Pivoted to General Election

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos…Former House Speaker John Boehner said Wednesday night that Ted Cruz is "Lucifer in the flesh." We assume that Boehner knows what he's talking about too, since we're pretty sure that serving as the Speaker of the House for five years must be one of the innermost circles of Hell.

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'16 from 30,000

We've written before about the much talked about "pivot" -- that important transition a candidate makes from focusing on the primary to the general election. And Wednesday showed the clearest pivot yet as we learned Hillary Clinton's campaign is no longer spending money on ads in upcoming primary states. Bernie Sanders must win 81 percent of the remaining delegates, while Clinton needs just 19 percent, according to our math. And though we've seen a shift in rhetoric from Clinton that indicated her focus has increasingly been on November, how a campaign spends (or doesn't spend) its money is one of the best ways to gauge its priorities.

Even as the math looks better and better for Trump, he is still trying to land his knockout blow. And his rally with Bobby Knight today in Indiana was still filled with digs at rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich. (He also went after Clinton a bit, listing off a number of states he would beat her in). And though he can't brush off the remaining primaries in the way Clinton can, he did get some good news Thursday. By the NBC News count, Trump has hard confirmations from 37 of Pennsylvania's 54 unbound delegates. And that number could go up. It means his path to 1,237 delegates will be much easier, even if he loses the Hoosier State.

POPPING ON NBC POLITICS

  • That happened: John Boehner called Ted Cruz "Lucifer in the flesh."
  • Cruz fired back by comparing Trump and Cruz and saying he's never worked with Boehner.
  • Donald Trump continued his pivot toward the general election on Thursday with a low-key but energetic Indiana rally where he made his case against Hillary Clinton, NBC's Alex Jaffe reports.
  • Hillary Clinton is not airing ads in upcoming primary states, NBC News ad-spending data shows.
  • And from First Read: Cruz and his allies have five days to stop Trump.

FOR THE RECORD…

TED CRUZ: You know, Boehner's comments, he said something like he's the worst SOB I've ever worked with, something like that.

NBC'S HALLIE JACKSON: Lucifer in the flesh.

CRUZ: Well, there was that too.

  • NBC's Hallie Jackson on Thursday asking Cruz about John Boehner's comments.

TOMORROW'S SKED

Hillary Clinton addresses the Eagle Academy Foundation Breakfast in New York City.

Donald Trump and John Kasich are in California.