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First Read’s Morning Clips: The Blue Wall

OFF TO THE RACES: The Blue Wall

NBC's Alex Seitz-Wald: "Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have voted Democratic every presidential election cycle since 1992, accounting for 242 electoral votes. Those states alone — often dubbed the "Blue Wall" — put the Democrats only 28 electoral votes away from the 270 they need to win. That gives Democrats plenty of room for error, as there are several avenues for the party's nominee to get those extra 28 electoral votes — including some that avoid the always treacherous swing states of Ohio and Florida."

The big story from yesterday: Paul Ryan says he's "not ready" to endorse Donald Trump. "I am not ready to support Speaker Ryan's agenda," Trump shot back in a statement.

POLITICO: "The decision will shape Ryan's political future in the short and long term, and could have a real effect on the outcome of the 2016 election. Immediately, the move could give the 200-plus Republicans up for reelection — particularly those in the swing districts that will decide the size of the GOP's majority, or even whether it keeps the House — a measure of cover from Trump's unpopularity. Many of them think the presumptive nominee is too politically crude to represent the party."

And from the AP: "Within the span of a single hour, Donald Trump gave Republicans wary of his presidential nomination yet another reason to worry — and House Speaker Paul Ryan tried to give them a way out."

Tensions are getting higher over Donald Trump's vice presidential choice, writes the Wall Street Journal: "While rank-and-file conservatives are searching for a signal that Mr. Trump shares their values, Ben Carson, a former GOP rival now helping the presumptive Republican presidential nominee pick a running mate, said Thursday Democrats may be among those considered."

CLINTON: The FBI has interviews Clinton aides over the email investigation, NBC's Pete Williams reports.

And from the Washington Post: "Prosecutors and FBI agents investigating Hillary Clinton's use of a personal email server have so far found scant evidence that the leading Democratic presidential candidate intended to break classification rules, though they are still probing the case aggressively with an eye on interviewing Clinton herself, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter."

David Brooks on Clinton: "The core problem is that she sounds like a normal Democratic candidate in the noble tradition of Edmund Muskie and Hubert Humphrey, but she doesn't sound like an imaginative candidate who is responding with fresh eyes to situations today."

Clinton's team is targeting Bush donors.

SANDERS: He's poised for a winning streak in May.

TRUMP: The New York Times looks at Trump's proposal to persuade U.S. creditors to accept less than full payment, a plan most experts call "fanciful."

He's got the backing of Rick Perry and Sheldon Adelson.

But Mitt Romney won't back him, saying he's concerned about "demagoguery and populism."

He told West Virginians not to bother voting in Tuesday's primary.

Harry Reid didn't hold back talking about Donald Trump in a conference call with reporters.

He's backing Brexit, saying the UK would be "better off without" the European Union.