The Note: Trump, Cruz Spar Over Spouses

VIDEO: Donald Trump Continues War of Words Over Ted Cruzs
WATCH Donald Trump Continues War of Words Over Ted Cruz's Wife


--TRUMP TARGETS TED CRUZ'S WIFE ON TWITTER -- AGAIN: For the second night in a row, Donald Trump took to Twitter to target the wife of his fiercest rival in the GOP presidential race, Sen. Ted Cruz. On Wednesday, Trump retweeted a post showing a side by side image of Heidi Cruz and Trump’s wife, Melania, ABC’s JESSICA HOPPER reports. Text on the picture read: “No need to 'spill the beans.’ The images are worth a thousand words.” Cruz quickly responded with a tweet of his own saying, "Donald, real men don't attack women. Your wife is lovely, and Heidi is the love of my life.” The latest spat between the real estate mogul and the Texas senator follows Trump’s Twitter threat on Tuesday night to “spill the beans” about Cruz’s wife. Trump made the threat after the anti-Trump super PAC Make America Awesome released an attack ad featuring a racy image of the billionaire's wife, Melania, from her former modeling days. Trump blames Cruz for the ad. Cruz has said he had nothing to do with the anti-Trump super PAC's ad and that he finds it "inappropriate."

--WHAT DONALD IS SAYING: Trump defended his actions in an interview with Fox Business yesterday. "I wrote, I said be careful because otherwise I'll have to start talking about you know -- your situation. Now, do I like doing that? No," Trump said.

--WHAT TED IS SAYING: Cruz addressed Trump’s targeting of his wife at a campaign event in Pewaukee, Wisconsin last night. "You know folks were asking me today, 'Well, is Heidi upset that Donald Trump went after her?' And, listen, Heidi has been in the business world for over 20 years, she’s dealt with a lot of garbage in the business world. Women professionals deal with a lot of nonsense. She’s seen bullies her entire career and I’ll tell you, Heidi Cruz is not scared one iota by a bellowing Donald Trump,” Cruz said.

--WHAT HEIDI IS SAYING: Heidi Cruz responded to Trump during an impromptu press availability outside the Cruz campaign office in Waukesha, Wisconsin yesterday. “You probably know by now that most of the things Donald Trump says have no basis in reality," Mrs. Cruz said. "So we are not worried in the least. We’re focusing on our campaign. We're going to continue to do that."

--ANALYSIS -- ABC’s RICK KLEIN: While Trump was Tweeting outrage, something significant happened in the Democratic race: Bernie Sanders earned the right to stick around a while – maybe until the very end of voting. Sanders won two states while Hillary Clinton won only one on Tuesday, giving Sanders the rare election day where he picked up more delegates than his rival. That doesn’t change the stubborn math, which makes Clinton’s lead among pledged delegates virtually insurmountable, to say nothing of the gravy on top that is the superdelegates. But it does give heart and purpose to the Sanders campaign’s plan to fight until the end. It’s simply not true that he’s winning the Democratic nomination. It’s also, though, slightly disingenuous to suggest he should exit the race while he’s winning individual states and picking up delegates. “You're going to see me here more than you feel comfortable with,” Sanders told the Los Angeles Times, his eyes on California’s June 7 primary. He was talking to the newspaper editors and reporters, but the comment could have easily have been directed at the Clinton campaign.


BY THE NUMBERS -- CLINTON, SANDERS: ALL TIED UP IN THE THIRD QUARTER OF THE PRIMARY. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are in dead heat this far into the Democratic primary, according to a Bloomberg national poll. Sanders garnered 49 percent and Clinton received 48 percent of support from Democratic voters, ABC’s VERONICA STRACQUALURSI notes. Democratic voters believe Clinton has the better temperament to be president, work most effectively with Congress and can be best to combat Islamic terrorism. However, voters thought Sanders over Clinton cares more about people like them, will fight harder for the middle class and is the most honest and trustworthy. 64 percent of voters aren’t bothered by the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s private email server, but 54 percent are concerned by Wall Street firms paying Clinton thousands for speeches. For Sanders, it’s his lack of foreign policy experience that has 60 percent of voters concerned.



WHAT THIS WEEK’S PRIMARIES MEAN FOR TRUMP AND CLINTON. The 2016 presidential candidates tackled the wild, wild West Tuesday night. But, now, the battle for the White House enters a stretch of small contests in which every delegate counts. After divided results in Arizona, Utah and Idaho, no candidate got any unexpected boost from Tuesday night’s primaries and caucuses. And now, with only a few major contests coming in the next month, candidates must zero in on important states coming in late-April and, eventually, in early-June. ABC’s RYAN STRUYK has more on what Tuesday night means for each party's front-runner and where they go from here.

CLINTON CALLS A TRUMP PRESIDENCY ‘CHRISTMAS FOR THE KREMLIN’. Hillary Clinton delivered a speech Wednesday in the wake of the attacks in Brussels that was as much an assault on Republicans -- namely Donald Trump and Ted Cruz -- at it was a rebuke of terrorism. Clinton directly targeted Trump for his recent comments that the U.S. should limit its involvement with NATO -- warning such a move would only be a boon for Russian President Vladimir Putin, “who already hopes to divide Europe," ABC’s LIZ KREUTZ reports. “If Mr. Trump gets his way, it’ll be like Christmas in Kremlin,” the Democratic front-runner said during her remarks here at Stanford University."

NOTED: 6 TIMES JEB BUSH HAS BEEN CRITICAL OF TED CRUZ. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush endorsed 2016 GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz over billionaire Donald Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Wednesday. In a Facebook post, Bush called Cruz “a consistent, principled conservative” and said the entire Republican Party needed to unite behind a single candidate who was not Donald Trump. Bush cited Trump’s decisiveness and vulgarity as disqualifying factors. But Bush, who ended his own presidential bid after the South Carolina primary, was not always so generous to the Texas senator. ABC’s JEFF NAFT takes a look at the six times when Jeb Bush was critical of Cruz.

TINDER WANTS YOU TO ‘SWIPE RIGHT’ FOR YOUR FAVORITE CANDIDATE. Tinder users may soon find the familiar faces of Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton among their matches, thanks to a new initiative. The dating app and Rock the Vote, the non-profit organization focused on mobilizing young voters, have teamed up to launch "Swipe the Vote," Tinder announced in a post on its blog yesterday. The "Swipe The Vote" option will come up in a user's potential matches. If selected, it brings up a ten-question survey asking about issues ranging from same-sex marriage to oil drilling, ABC’s JENNIFER HANSLER notes.  “Once you’ve swiped through ten of the hottest issues, you’ll be matched with the candidate who best matches your views,” the company wrote on their blog. “We’ll show you how you compare with other candidates, too!” At the end, users have the options to learn more about the candidates and register to vote.



TED CRUZ CHANNELS SCREENWRITER AARON SORKIN TO REBUKE DONALD TRUMP. From "Jerry Maguire" to the "Princess Bride" and now "The American President" -- presidential candidate Ted Cruz seemed to channel famed screenwriter Aaron Sorkin yesterday when standing up to Donald Trump’s threat to “spill the beans" on Cruz’s wife. Cruz seemed to paraphrase a classic film about life in the White House. "She is way out of his league. If he wants to get in a character fight he should stick with me,” Cruz said in an interview. ABC’s JESSICA HOPPER has more.



@JasonMillerinDC: Ted Cruz, Day After Brussels Attacks, Belittles Donald Trump on Foreign Policy 

@russellberman: Most surprising in Bberg poll? Romney far more unpopular now than in 2012. Fav/unfav: 32/58, worse than Hillary/Cruz …

@NYTnickc: Clinton campaign advertising in Honolulu now, with spot on Hawaii schools focusing on early child education.

@mattbai: Why #NeverTrump Will Never Work … via @YahooPolitics

@RichardHaass: Potus right to go to Argentina, emerging as regional model. after #BrusselsAttacks tho, would have nixed tango. just saying. but no big deal