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First Read's Morning Clips: Cruz's VP gambit echoes Reagan in '76

A roundup of the most important political news stories of the day
Image: Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas speaks to Carly Fiorina in Orlando, Fla., Friday, March 11, 2016. Cruz has picked Fiorina as his running mate.Mike Carlson / AP, file

OFF TO THE RACES: Cruz’s VP gambit echoes Reagan in ‘76

Ari Melber offers some history on Cruz's early VP pick: "Ted Cruz's decision to tap Carly Fiorina on Wednesday is certainly unconventional, but not unprecedented — it echoes Ronald Reagan's gambit heading into the 1976 convention, a history that offers cautionary notes for Cruz. Reagan finished the primaries as both a beloved conservative and party underdog, trailing incumbent President Gerald Ford by 100 delegates. On July 27, 1976, a few weeks before the GOP convention, Reagan held a press conference to announce he was picking Richard Schweiker, a liberal Republican from Pennsylvania, to be his running mate."

Here's all the background on the decision from Hallie Jackson and Vaughn Hillyard.

What Trump had to say about the Cruz-Fiorina move: "Cruz can't win. What's he doing picking vice presidents?"

The AP's take: "It was the move of a candidate desperate to block Donald Trump, a front-runner who is only growing stronger as the primary contest presses deeper into the spring."

From Leigh Ann Caldwell: "Donald Trump won a sweeping victory in the Pennsylvania primary and, more importantly, he dominated the fight for the state's 54 unbound delegates to the GOP convention -- making his path to obtaining the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the nomination much easier. NBC News reached out to all 54 delegate winners after the polls closed Tuesday night. Interviews reveal that as of Wednesday afternoon 35 said they intend to support Trump on the first ballot at the convention -- a number that could rise north of 40 when the final ten delegates are reached."

From the New York Times on the importance of Indiana: "There is time left on the clock in the primary season, but not much. The margin is not entirely prohibitive, but close to it. And in a fevered scramble to deny Mr. Trump a majority of delegates before the Republican convention in July, Mr. Cruz has let no page of the campaign playbook go to waste."

CLINTON: She's the insider who's surviving in the year of the outsider, writes the Washington Post: "The successes of Trump and Clinton underscore important nuances in the sentiments coursing through the two parties. While voters in both share a frustration with the state of the nation’s economy and politics, Republicans blame their own leaders as much as anybody else and are, therefore, more eager for a radical fix, whereas Democrats still believe their elected leaders can bring change from within."

CRUZ: He didn't get the endorsement of the nation's largest Hispanic group, the Washington Post notes.

KASICH: The Wall Street Journal: "The five states that voted Tuesday were thought to harbor large pockets of voters drawn to Mr. Kasich’s strain of solutions-oriented conservatism. But GOP voters in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island instead sided overwhelmingly with frontrunner Donald Trump. The results weren’t just bad news for Mr. Kasich’s struggling presidential campaign. They marked a turning point for a fading brand of Republicanism."

SANDERS: From Danny Freeman and Chris Jansing: "A day after Bernie Sanders won only one of five northeastern primary contests against rival Hillary Clinton, his campaign will lay off more than two hundred staffers in the effort to concentrate its remaining resources on upcoming contests, particularly the June 7 California primary."

The take from the New York Times: "Stymied in his efforts this week to challenge Mrs. Clinton’s dominance in the urban Northeast, Mr. Sanders said he would now refocus his efforts chiefly on the June 7 primary in California, a state laden with both delegates and political symbolism. By winning there, he said, he hoped to strengthen his hand ahead of the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, where he would push his core priorities into the party platform."

"Democrats close to Clinton’s camp saw Sanders’ post-results statement Tuesday evening as a tacit admission that his role at the convention would be in shaping the formal policy platform rather than contesting the nomination. That late-night missive specifically identified a carbon tax and opposition to “disastrous trade policies,” as well as support for a $15 minimum wage, universal health care, breaking up big banks, banning fracking and implementing tuition-free college — all points on which Clinton and Sanders have meaningful disagreements — as policies the party should adopt," writes POLITICO.

His latest pitch in Indiana: "Our job is to think big."

TRUMP: He outlined his "America First" foreign policy yesterday. Writes the New York Times: "Mr. Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, pledged a major buildup of the military, the swift destruction of the Islamic State and the rejection of trade deals that he said tied the nation’s hands. But he also pointedly rejected the nation-building of the George W. Bush administration, reminding his audience that he had opposed the Iraq war."

The IndyStar catches us up on what Bobby Knight had to say about Trump last night in Indiana.