--SANDERS SAYS ‘GAME ON’ TO DEBATE WITH TRUMP: With Hillary Clinton's big edge in the delegate math, rival Bernie Sanders is looking for a victory in California's June 7 primary. And although earlier this week, Clinton formally declined to debate Sanders ahead of the primary, another option surfaced last night: A potential one-on-one with Donald Trump, ABC’s JOSH HASKELL reports. "If I debated him, we would have such high ratings,” Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, said of Sanders on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" Trump also told Kimmel he would only debate for a price and if the money would go to “some worthy charity." Sanders quickly responded on Twitter writing, "Game on. I look forward to debating Donald Trump in California before the June 7 primary." http://abcn.ws/1WPBvVk
--ANALYSIS -- ABC’s RICK KLEIN: Did we close the door on debate season too soon? Donald Trump told Jimmy Kimmel Wednesday that he’d consider debating Bernie Sanders one-on-one … and Sanders quickly indicated that he’s interested. There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical of whether this is real, starting with Trump’s insistence that Sanders pony up cash for charity as a precondition. (We’ve seen where such demands ended in the past.) But this might be a wacky enough idea to happen. Trump would love to elevate Sanders as a means of tweaking Hillary Clinton before the general election is officially upon us; Clinton, of course, is refusing to debate Sanders in California. And Sanders would love to showcase the general-election matchup he is pitching as stronger for Democrats in advance of voting in California June 7. The matchup only “SNL” could imagine might be a fitting end to a wacky primary season.
--CLINTON HITS THE AIRWAVES: Hillary Clinton’s campaign is going on air with TV ads in California starting Friday, a campaign aide tells ABC’s LIZ KREUTZ. The two new ads include one narrated by Morgan Freeman and another featuring civil rights activist Dolores Huerta. According to the campaign, the ads will run in the Fresno, Sacramento, and Los Angeles media markets and are a part of an initial six figure buy. The buy also includes ads targeted at Latino voters in Spanish and spots in Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese and Korean.
--BY THE NUMBERS: A new poll in California released today from the Public Policy Institute of California shows a tight race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, 46 percent for Clinton to 44 percent for Sanders. According to ABC’s RYAN STRUYK, Voters older than 45 are more likely to back Clinton, the polls show, while two-in-three younger voters pick Sanders. The poll shows a slight gender gap among women: 49 percent for Clinton and 42 percent for Sanders. The California primary, slated for June 7, is the biggest delegate prize of the process for both parties (475 delegates are at stake for the Democrats).
DISPATCH FROM JAPAN -- OBAMA: WORLD LEADERS ARE 'RATTLED' BY TRUMP. President Obama said world leaders are "rattled" by Donald Trump as the likely Republican nominee for the U.S. presidency, ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ. "They are paying very close attention to this election," the president told reporters Wednesday in Japan of his discussions with world leaders. "They are surprised by the Republican nominee. They are not sure how seriously to take some of his pronouncements but they’re rattled by him and for good reason." Obama said Trump has shown an "ignorance of world affairs or a cavalier attitude or an interest in getting tweets and headlines instead of actually thinking through what it is required to keep America safe and secure and prosperous." The president made his comments after ending his first day of meetings at the G7 summit. http://abcn.ws/1XUVUrE
WHAT WE’RE READING
RYAN, REPUBLICANS, AND THE ART OF THE NON-ENDORSEMENT ENDORSEMENT. House Speaker Paul Ryan yesterday addressed rumors that he would soon be endorsing presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump during. “I haven't made a decision,” Ryan said during a meeting with reporters on Capitol Hill, referring to the much-speculated-about endorsement. And as for when a possible announcement might come, Ryan said he has “no timeline in mind." ABC’s MERIDITH MCGRAW writes, these are the kind of lukewarm responses and slippery semantics that Ryan and many of his congressional colleagues have employed as they try to balance their roles as conservative leaders with the expectation that most, if not all of them, will soon formally endorse Trump. http://abcn.ws/1sA6rfz
YESTERDAY ON THE TRAIL with ABC’s VERONICA STRACQUALURSI and PAOLA CHAVEZ
TRUMP SAYS PAST PRO-CLINTON COMMENTS WERE ‘A LITTLE BIT’ INSINCERE. During an appearance on ABC’s "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" Wednesday night, Donald Trump admitted that he wasn't sincere when he made glowing comments about Bill and Hillary Clinton prior to his bid for the presidency, ABC’s JOHN SANTUCCI notes. Kimmel asked the presumptive Republican presidential nominee about his once-effusive take on the Clintons, and Trump took the bait, acknowledging his past kind words. "She’s wonderful, the husband, everybody’s wonderful including contributions." Kimmel interjected and asked, "So you were full of s***?” Trump's response? "A little bit," he said, laughing. And while Trump has labeled many of his foes with nicknames during his campaign, he said he won't be anointing Bill Clinton with a nickname. "I don’t want to do anything like that," he said. "I have come up with 'Crooked Hillary,' and you know what’s going on, she’s very crooked." http://abcn.ws/1WkNk5K
NOTED: TRUMP HITS CLINTON ON EMAIL CONTROVERSY. Donald Trump wasted no time Wednesday digging into the news about Hillary Clinton’s emails. “She's as crooked as they come, she had a little bad news today as you know from some reports came down weren't so good,” Trump told the packed crowd. According to the State Department's inspector general, Clinton and some of her predecessors violated the government's policies on email use and records retention. The department's investigative office offered the conclusion in a report released on Wednesday to members of Congress and obtained by ABC News. The report examined the email practices of five U.S. secretaries of state and found that there was "a limited ability to retrieve email records, inaccessibility of electronic files, failure to comply with requirements for departing employees and a general lack of oversight." Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon said that her use of email was consistent with her predecessors and that political opponents were misrepresenting the findings. More from ABC’s JOHN SANTUCCI and CANDACE SMITH: http://abcn.ws/1Ue6c2R BACKSTORY ON THE E-MAIL CONTROVERSY FROM ABC’s JUSTIN FISHEL: http://abcn.ws/1XwTeQr
RYAN SAYS HE HASN’T MADE A DECISION ON ENDORSING TRUMP. House Speaker Paul Ryan said yesterday that he hasn't made a decision about whether to endorse Donald Trump's presidential campaign. "I have no timeline in mind," Ryan told reporters in his office on Capitol Hill about any future announcement. Ryan and Trump met privately at the Republican National Committee office off Capitol Hill two weeks ago, after Ryan had said he wasn't prepared to support the presumptive GOP nominee. ABC’s MARY BRUCE notes, Ryan wouldn't speculate on why the Trump campaign continues to claim he is ready to endorse. http://abcn.ws/1qJEtNa
CALLS CONTINUE FOR WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ TO LEAVE POST AS DNC HEAD. Speculation reached a tipping point Wednesday over whether or not Debbie Wasserman-Schultz should step down from her post as the head of the Democratic party. ABC’s ALI WEINBERG and MEGHAN KENEALLY report, the Bernie Sanders campaign has been warring with Wasserman-Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chair. Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver said he was being "diplomatic" by asking her to leave. "I think someone else could play a more positive role," Weaver said when asked about whether or not he wanted her to resign during an interview on CNN. http://abcn.ws/1ONOHlD
NEW MEXICO GOVERNOR FIRES BACK AT TRUMP. After Donald Trump slammed New Mexico's Republican Gov. Susana Martinez during a raucous rally in Albuquerque Tuesday night, her office is firing back. “Gov. Martinez doesn’t care about what Donald Trump says about her. She cares about what he says he will do to help New Mexicans,” Martinez’s press secretary, Mike Lonergan, told ABC News in a statement. “She’s disappointed that she didn’t hear anything about that last night.” ABC’s JORDYN PHELPS reports, Trump went after Martinez’s record during his New Mexico rally, quipping in jest that “maybe” he should run for governor of the state and “get this place going.” http://abcn.ws/20Cu0iI
MEET THE SHIRTLESS MEN WHO STOOD FRONT ROW AT A CLINTON RALLY. The crowd at Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's rally in Buena Park, California, was so fired up that two men standing in the front row lost their shirts. The shirtless men, who arrived at the venue at 5 a.m. to secure their spots, were fully clothed when the event started but dramatically took them off as Clinton spoke. ABC’s LIZ KREUTZ, PAOLA CHAVEZ, and VERONICA STRACQUALURSI report, the cops at the rally were going to ask them to leave, but Clinton joked that they could stay as long as they didn't take anything else off. http://abcn.ws/1OXDeFq
‘GET ‘EM OUT’: HOW DONALD TRUMP DEALS WITH HECKLERS. Donald Trump may now be the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, but that doesn't stop him from reacting to hecklers in the same way he has throughout his campaign. At a particularly turbulent rally in New Mexico on Tuesday, where demonstrators clashed with police outside the venue, multiple protesters interrupted Trump during his speech. Trump used his trademark "Get 'em out!" dismissal for at least one and brushed off another by declaring it "So exciting." ABC’s MEGHAN KENEALLY has more. http://abcn.ws/1OX054a
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
CLINTON PICKS ACTOR TONY GOLDWYN OVER BIDEN, SANDERS FOR VP ON ‘ELLEN’. As speculation circulates about whom Hillary Clinton's veep pick would be, Ellen DeGeneres decided to push the process along for the Democratic candidate in a game of "Who'd You Rather?" As a guest on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," Clinton was shown a picture of two people and she had to pick the one she would like as a running mate. "This is very helpful," the Democratic front-runner joked. "Don't tell anyone because we want it to be a big surprise." ABC’s VERONICA STRACQUALURSI has more. http://abcn.ws/247EAiB
@ktumulty: For those of you who don't remember the 90s: Why Donald Trump is dredging up all the old Clinton scandals http://wapo.st/27THMDn
@politicalwire: Trump says he only needs $500 million, not a $1 billion to win the election http://bit.ly/1TBYr4u
@TexasTribAbby: Can those who aren't wealthy run for Congress in Texas? "I don't know." http://bit.ly/25nDsxt