The Note: Kasich Condems Riot Rumors


--ANALYSIS -- WHAT OBAMA’S SCOTUS NOMINATION MEANS FOR 2016 RACE: Just when you thought the 2016 race for the White House couldn’t get any more divisive, the president’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court is yet another issue destined to be turned into a political football, ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE writes. In an ABC News/Washington Post poll last week, Americans by 63 to 32 percent said the president’s nominee should get a hearing. There’s no doubt Democrats will make this an issue in 2016 Senate races, and it’s something sure to concern vulnerable Republicans running for re-election. But, how will it impact the 2016 presidential campaign?

--LINDSEY GRAHAM OFFERS TO HELP CRUZ (AFTER DISPARAGING HIM FOR MONTHS): South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham yesterday pledged to help Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz “in every way I can,” calling the Texas senator the best alternative to GOP front-runner Donald Trump. “I'm going to raise money for him in the pro-Israel community,” Graham said in an interview with CNN, adding, “If I were in one of the states coming up, in terms of voting and I didn't like Trump, I would vote for Cruz.” Graham, who mounted a failed presidential bid, said Trump is neither a Republican nor a conservative. ABC’s VERONICA STRACQUALURSI and PAOLA CHAVEZ have more.

THIS WEEK ON ‘THIS WEEK’:  The Powerhouse Roundtable debates a big week in politics with Washington Post columnist EJ Dionne, Republican strategist and CNBC contributor Sara Fagen, National Review editor Rich Lowry, and host and managing editor of News One Now on TV One Roland Martin. See the whole political picture, Sunday on “This Week.”

REMEMBERING RUBIO -- 5 THINGS THAT ULTIMATELY DOOMED HIS CAMPAIGN. Marco Rubio was once the dubbed "The Republican Savior," but on Tuesday he suspended his campaign after a devastating loss in his home state of Florida. What went wrong? The son of a bartender and a maid -- both Cuban immigrants -- Rubio was young, charismatic, a great speaker with a compelling personal story. After a disappointing showing among Hispanic voters in 2012, Rubio’s background seemed a particularly good fit for 2016. After a meteoric rise in Florida politics, Rubio rode the Tea Party wave to the Senate in 2009. And during his presidential campaign, Rubio himself repeatedly made the case that only he could unite and grow the party. In short, his campaign seemed to have many of the right ingredients for success. But after his loss Tuesday, his White House hopes were quashed. ABC’s INES DE LA CUETARA looks at the top five things that ultimately doomed his campaign:


CLINTON WINS MISSOURI DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY. Hillary Clinton has won the Missouri Democratic primary, according to the Associated Press, sweeping all five states that voted March 15. The AP said Clinton won the contest two days after voters went to the polls, ABC’s ALANA ABRAMSON notes. Previously, the result had been too close to project. Sanders told AP he will not request a recount. "I prefer to save the taxpayers of Missouri some money," he said. Missouri remains too close to project for the Republicans, where Cruz and Trump each have 41 percent of the vote. They were separated by 1,726 votes with 100 percent of precincts reporting and 99 percent of the vote in, according to data from ABC News.

TRUMP’S TALK OF ‘RIOTS’ IF HE’S DENIED NOMINATION DRAWS FIRE. Donald Trump’s suggestion that riots may break out at the Republican National Convention this summer in Cleveland if he is denied the GOP presidential nomination was met on Thursday with condemnation by the head of the state party in Ohio. "Politically it’s a terrible message for him to be sending. It will work against him.” Matt Borges, an outspoken critic of Trump, told ABC News. “No one is going to come to Cleveland thinking they better vote for Trump or there will be riots.” Borges insisted the convention is going to be an “orderly process, transparent process,” and said if Trump shows up without the majority of the delegates "that’s his fault.” ABC’s PAOLA CHAVEZ, VERONICA STRACQUALURSI and KATHERINE FAULDERS have more.

SOME REPUBLICANS AND CONSERVATIVES ORGANIZING AGAINST TRUMP. An organized effort by some Republicans and conservatives to stop Donald Trump from securing the party's nomination appears to be taking shape as different groups and former candidates are putting their weight behind other efforts. A mix of anti-Trump campaign ads, endorsements for Sen. Ted Cruz and talk of a third party candidate are all part of the fight against what many view as inevitable. ABC’s MEGHAN KENEALLY has more on who is involved.

PAUL RYAN ON POTENTIAL PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION: ‘LET’S PUT THIS TO REST AND MOVE ON.’ House Speaker Paul Ryan said it’s time for the speculation of him potentially accepting a presidential nomination to come to an end after days of rumors he wouldn’t rule out the possibility, telling reporters “it’s not going to be me.” “There are people out there campaigning. That’s who should be president,” Ryan said yesterday at his weekly news conference. “Let’s just put this thing to rest and move on.” Ryan said he chided his predecessor, former Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, for fanning the flames of speculation this week. “I saw Boehner last night and I told him to knock it off,” Ryan said. ABC’s BENJAMIN SIEGEL, DEVIN DWYER, and LISSETTE RODRIGUEZ have more.


LAURA BUSH: ‘DON’T ASK’ IF I’LL VOTE FOR TRUMP. Former First Lady Laura Bush won't say whether she would vote for Donald Trump if he’s the Republican nominee. “I’m not going to answer,” Bush said in an interview with USA Today. “Don’t ask that.” Bush campaigned alongside her husband George W. Bush on behalf of her brother-in-law, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush earlier this year. The Bush couple reportedly is not planning to endorse again in the Republican primary this year, ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ notes.


@EliStokols: Their millions haven't stopped Trump. Do they have the will to ante up again? @politicoalex on reality setting in. …

@DavidMDrucker: Opposition to Trump is not just an "establishment" uprising. But that isn't stopping everyone from referring to it as such.

@MarcACaputo: Rick Scott to GOP: "respect the will of the voters and coalesce behind Donald Trump." GOP: crickets Here's why 

@Schultz44: Obama: Refusal To Consider Nominee Damages Public's Faith In The Judiciary … via @NinaTotenberg

@sbg1: Trump is his own fopo adviser. Cruz has 'the foreign policy equivalent of nativism' on his team. …