The Note: Donald Trump’s Retails Politics

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NOTABLES

--TRUMP TOUTS WINS: Republican front-runner Donald Trump touted his victories last night in Michigan and Mississippi on "Good Morning America" this morning. "I think the big thing is [voters] are seeing a lot of fight," he told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, adding that his double-digit victory in Michigan was a "monster win." But confronted with lackluster favorability ratings in a general election match-up, Trump said he would change his style after the primaries, ABC’s RYAN STRUYK notes. "I think they’re going to see a very different person when this is all over with," he said. "I was hit very hard by Marco, and I had to hit him back harder." http://abcn.ws/1M6k4GH

--KASICH PREDICTS OHIO WIN: Ohio Gov. John Kasich, also on "Good Morning America,” said he was happy with his finish in Michigan, placing third behind Sen. Ted Cruz with roughly 24 percent of the vote. "We’re going to win in Ohio," he said. "That’s going to be a whole new ball game." Kasich, who has yet to win a state, won more than four in 10 late-deciding voters in Michigan. "For the first time, people are starting to hear what I have to say," he said. "We’ll competing all across the Midwest. We’re still standing." Republicans in Ohio and Florida will cast their votes for the candidates next Tuesday. But a CNN/ORC poll released Wednesday morning shows Donald Trump maintaining a slight lead over Kasich in Ohio and a substantial lead over Rubio in Florida. http://abcn.ws/1M6k4GH

--OF STAKES AND STEAKS: Early in Trump’s news conference at his eponymous golf club in Jupiter, Florida last night following his wins in Mississippi and Michigan, the focus shifted from politics to products. Still raw from recent criticism about his business dealings, the billionaire from Manhattan proudly displayed some of his namesake wares like Trump Steaks, Trump Spring Water, Trump Magazine and reserves from the Trump Winery (bottles of which he offered to the press). (As Mashable’s Jonathan Ellis points out, many of these products don’t actually exist: http://on.mash.to/1USlyvt). As ABC’s MERIDITH MCGRAW notes, cable news commentators weren’t buying it. Afterwards, they compared Trump’s event to a madcap hour on the Home Shopping Network. On Fox News, Megyn Kelly likened it to QVC. CNN commentator Van Jones said it was a “freak show infomercial.” And on the same broadcast, David Axelrod opined: “It’s true when candidates speak, generally they say the stakes are great, they’re not talking about their own product.”

--ANALYSIS -- RICK KLEIN: The Trump train is rolling, right over and through the assembled GOP establishment. And the list of candidates who can plausibly hope to stop it – even if they’re banking on a contested convention - is shrinking. Voting in Michigan and Mississippi confirms that Donald Trump is as dominant as ever in big primary contests, with Trump feasting on regions that his rivals were supposed to hold natural advantages. The win in Mississippi continues a sweep of the Deep South by a candidate whose main opponent tried to tag him as representing “New York values.” Mitt Romney’s warnings and millions of dollars in outside spending has had no discernible impact on the voters who continue to flock to Trump, despite the continuing weaknesses in his candidacy. Trump’s main rival now, Ted Cruz, sees many of his supposed strongest states behind him, and is in many ways less liked by the GOP establishment than Trump himself. “It shows you how brilliant the public is,” Trump said at his news conference late Tuesday. Meanwhile, the candidate whom the establishment has rallied behind as the most electable and most palatable – Marco Rubio – is continuing a remarkable fade that appears to have started around the time he began to attack Trump most aggressively. http://abcn.ws/1OZjHOc

 

BY THE NUMBERS: CHALLENGES FOR TRUMP VS. CLINTON. A rougher road to his party’s nomination isn’t Donald Trump’s only challenge: He faces trouble in a hypothetical general election contest as well, trailing Hillary Clinton in personal ratings, facing 2-1 opposition on his signature policy issues and falling short in vote preference and expectations alike. A fight still can be made of it: Trump runs competitively with Clinton in trust to handle the economy, the single most-cited issue in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, albeit well down from its prominence in past years, according to ABC’s GARY LANGER. Trump also has a slight advantage in handling dysfunction in the political system, a broad concern. And Clinton’s ratings on favorability and trustworthiness, while better than Trump’s, are no great shakes. http://abcn.ws/1QBX3Q0

--BUT CLINTON LEADS TRUMP by 50-41 percent in vote preference among registered voters, her widest advantage in three ABC/Post polls since September. Among all adults, including those currently not registered, Clinton’s lead swells to 54-36 percent. And the public by 59-36 percent predicts that Clinton would win -- up from a 12-point gap on this question in January to 23 points today. (Some political scientists suggest that, early on, expectations outdo preferences, predictively.) Polls, though, are not predictive -- they measure current sentiment, not future choices. Campaigns matter, and turnout generally helps Republican candidates. But the contours of this potential matchup are instructive as an early exploration of how voters may come to their choices. http://abcn.ws/1QBX3Q0

 

YESTERDAY ON THE TRAIL with ABC’s VERONICA STRACQUALURSI and PAOLA CHAVEZ

TRUMP PREDICTS TED CRUZ WILL ‘HAVE A HARD TIME’ IN UPCOMING CONTESTS. GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump celebrated projected wins in two key states -- Mississippi and Michigan -- while at the same time disparaging the rival who is emerging as his biggest threat: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. “He is always saying, 'I am the only one that can beat Donald Trump,'” Trump said Tuesday night. “I've heard it so many times, but he never beats me. Take a look. He never beats me.” He added, “Ted Cruz is going to have a hard time when he gets to certain states, he's going to have a hard time.” Trump made the remarks at his golf club in Jupiter, Florida. As has become his primary night custom, Trump held a lengthy news conference, fielding questions from reporters, ABC’s MICHAEL FALCONE and JEFF NAFT report. Trump also decried the “horrible things” and “horrible lies” that his opponents have said about him in recent days. http://abcn.ws/1p6EcmP

REPUBLICAN PRIMARY EXIT POLL ANALYSIS. Republicans voted in three primaries: Michigan, Mississippi and Idaho. Hawaii also held its Republican caucuses Tuesday. The ABC NEWS ANALYSIS DESK has more on Tuesday's primaries and caucuses and what motivated voters. http://abcn.ws/21jNx6Y DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY EXIT POLL ANALYSIS. And on the Democratic preliminary exit poll results. http://abcn.ws/1TqpGDE

SANDERS SAYS IT’S PREMATURE FOR CLINTON TO TALK RECONCILIATION. Hillary Clinton spoke twice Monday about how Bernie Sanders is an ally and how she hoped to enlist his supporters in her fight for the White House. Sanders told ABC News that language was “premature.” “Well, given the fact that during the last weekend we just won three landslide caucus victories -- we now have eight victories -- and we see the possibility of major victories coming in front of us in the weeks, months ahead. I think it’s a little bit premature,” Sanders told ABC News’ David Wright. Then the determined underdog candidate went a step further. “We’re running for president we think we have a path toward the White House and if we win it, we look forward very much to have Secretary Clinton’s support,” he continued. ABC’s MARYALICE PARKS has more. http://abcn.ws/1LQ4EvA

TRUMP DECRIES OUTSOURCING BUT MUCH OF FAMILY BRAND IS MADE ABROAD. As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump talks tough against outsourcing, but does he practice what he preaches? The GOP front-runner says that, if elected, he’d get Apple to build its computers in the United States rather than in other countries. He's also sworn off Oreo cookies ever since Nabisco moved part of its productions to Mexico. But if Trump is going to force other companies to move production to the United States, will the same rules apply to his own family business ventures? After all, many of the clothing and fashion products bearing the Trump name are not made in the U.S. ABC’s JORDYN PHELPS has more.  http://abcn.ws/1p6nEeM

A LOOK INSIDE FOUR ‘STOP TRUMP’ EFFORTS. There are several groups trying to stop Donald Trump, but what are they actively doing to slow down the Trump Train? From Mitt Romney’s voice to a secret confab and a ramp up of advertising, ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE has more on the ways different GOP groups are trying to “Stop Trump.” http://abcn.ws/1LPVcIG

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

ROMNEY ROBOCALLS FOR KASICH, RUBIO. Mitt Romney recorded robocalls to encourage voters to cast ballots for GOP presidential candidate John Kasich, as he did for Kasich's opponent Sen. Marco Rubio, telling them it is important to elect "a candidate who can defeat Hillary Clinton and who can make us proud." The robocalls started going out to voters in Michigan Tuesday morning, Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols told ABC News. ABC’s BEN GITTLESON has more. http://abcn.ws/1OYBepz

 

WHO’S TWEETING?

@jonathanellis: - Trump Steaks: fake - Trump Water: generic - Trump Vodka: gone - Trump Magazine: fake http://mashable.com/2016/03/09/donald-trump-infomercial/#ZD0oBRusLZqZ …

@ShaneGoldmacher: Leading @politico this morning: The Jebification of Marco Rubio, a candidate on the brink http://www.politico.com/story/2016/03/marco-rubio-on-the-brink-220475 …

@gabrielsherman: Romney's campaign against Trump is going about as well as his last one against Obama

@StevenTDennis: Talked to a LOT of senators last couple days. And still couldn't find 1 ready to endorse Ted Cruz. http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-03-08/cruz-s-rise-against-trump-fails-to-win-over-senate-colleagues …

@bpolitics: Trump’s VIPs get front-row seats to his political spectacle http://bloom.bg/1YvASOJ