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First Read's Morning Clips: Trump's Convention Strategy

A roundup of the most important political news stories of the day
Image: Balloons swirl in the air following Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's acceptance speech
Balloons swirl in the air following Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's acceptance speech at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida, on August 30, 2012 on the final day of the Republican National Convention (RNC). The RNC culminates today with the formal nomination of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as the GOP presidential and vice-presidential candidates in the US presidential election. AFP PHOTO Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)STAN HONDA / AFP - Getty Images, file

OFF TO THE RACES: Trump’s contested convention strategy

NBC's Katy Tur and Ari Melber have an exclusive look at how Donald Trump's team is plotting out how to win a contested convention. "While Trump publicly dismisses talk of a battle in Cleveland, he is quietly assembling a team of seasoned operatives to manage a contested convention. Their strategy, NBC has learned, is to convert delegates in the crucial 40 days between the end of the primaries and the convention - while girding for a floor fight in Cleveland if necessary."

NBC's Leigh Ann Caldwell takes a look at how the Stop Trump effort is amping up its efforts in Wisconsin.

Ted Cruz called Donald Trump a "sniveling coward" for taking aim at his wife's looks on Twitter.

One of us(!) looked at the significant problem Trump faces with female voters.

Are we looking at the year of the libertarian after all?

Scott Walker told reporters Thursday: "I think if it’s an open convention, it’s very likely it would be someone who’s not currently running." (Hmmm, wonder whom he has in mind…)

The New York Times looks at why there were such long lines at some of those Arizona primary polling places last week.

CLINTON: Want to hang out with Hillary Clinton and the Clooneys? That'll be $353,400.

CRUZ: Delegate watch from the Wall Street Journal. "Donald Trump beat Sen. Ted Cruz earlier this month in Louisiana’s Republican presidential primary by 3.6 percentage points, but the Texan may wind up with as many as 10 more delegates from the state than the businessman. Mr. Cruz’s supporters also seized five of Louisiana’s six slots on the three powerful committees that will write the rules and platform at the Republican National Convention and mediate disputes over delegates’ eligibility this summer in Cleveland. The little-noticed inside maneuvering that led to this outcome in Louisiana is another dramatic illustration of the inside game that could have an outsize influence on the bitter race for the GOP nomination. A similar process played out three weeks ago in Coweta County, Ga."

KASICH: While the Ohio governor is portraying a cuddly persona, his old colleagues recall "a three-decade career in government punctuated by scolding confrontations, intemperate critiques and undiplomatic remarks."

SANDERS: He's finding friendly turf in Seattle, the AP notes.

He's hoping for a big showing in the weekend's caucuses to close the delegate gap with Hillary Clinton.

TRUMP: Critics of Trump are facing threats and harassment online,'s Jane Timm writes.

Real talk from the Washington Post: "Donald Trump is not beating Hillary Clinton in the polls, no matter how many times he says it"

Trump's hard line on trade is uniting his supporters, but it could backfire, writes the Wall Street Journal.

OBAMA AGENDA: Another Republican breaks ranks in SCOTUS fight

The New York Times looks at the battle over the Supreme Court fight as it's being manifested in Wisconsin's Senate race.

From the AP: "Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday tried to clear his name and tout his record on Supreme Court nominations, calling Republican branding of his past remarks on the subject "ridiculous" and casting himself as a longtime advocate of bipartisan compromise in filling seats on the high court."

Republican Jerry Moran broke with party leaders to say the Senate should take up Merrick Garland's nomination.