First Read's Morning Clips: Nearing the End?

Ted Cruz
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at the Grand Wayne Center in Fort Wayne, Ind., Monday, May 2, 2016.Samuel Hoffman / The Journal-Gazette

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OFF TO THE RACES: My only friend, the end?

The big picture, from Benjy Sarlin in Indiana: "It's been a long strange trip, but the Republican primary may finally be coming to an end in Indiana Tuesday. On the eve of the critical contest, Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz closed their campaigns with familiar attacks."

The New York Times: "The Indiana vote has emerged as a decisive and perhaps final test for Senator Ted Cruz, who has abandoned hope of overtaking Mr. Trump in the race but still aims to throw the Republican nominating fight to a contested convention in July. Mr. Cruz, of Texas, has pleaded with Indiana voters in recent days not to anoint Mr. Trump as the party’s standard-bearer, and has devised a series of long-shot tactics to derail him in the state."

And the Washington Post: "This was supposed to be the pragmatic Midwestern state that would deny Donald Trump the delegates he needs to secure the Republican presidential nomination. Yet as voting began Tuesday morning in the day’s critical primary, Indiana appeared poised to help the front-runner get closer to locking it up."

POLITICO notes that the polling in the state hasn't been 100% consistent.

Our latest national online NBC News|SurveyMonkey poll shows that a big majority of Republicans are wary of the Cruz-Kasich alliance, and most think that Cruz's pick of Carly Fiorina as a running mate was merely intended to revitalize his campaign.

And Trump's national lead is up, the same poll found.

And Trump is already looking to the general election, focusing his fire on Clinton rather than Cruz even before polls opened Tuesday morning.

The Washington Post takes a look at the GOP's larger electoral map problem, one that doesn't have a lot to do with Donald Trump.

Don't forget about the GOP Senate primary in Indiana tonight, too. The Wall Street Journal offers a briefer.

CLINTON: She apologized in coal country for her "out of business" comments about the industry, NBC's Monica Alba reports.

The Washington Post reports on the network of supporters who helped her through her husband's infidelity in the 1990s.

POLITICO Magazine with the big picture: "How Hillary Could Win the Election -- and Lose the Country."

SANDERS: Most Democrats want to see him stay in the race until the convention.

TRUMP: He mocked Carly Fiorina's fall off a stage at a campaign event on Sunday, NBC’s Alex Jaffe reports.

The Wall Street Journal looks at how Trump's attempts to get more control over the convention are causing a tussle for some obscure internal posts.


*** Tuesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: Hillary Clinton joins Andrea Mitchell for an exclusive live interview at 12pm ET on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports.