--CRUZ AND CARLY TAG-TEAM ATTACKS ON TRUMP: On their first full day as a political power team, Ted Cruz and newly-minted running mate Carly Fiorina tag-teamed attacks on Donald Trump, part of their fight to dethrone the front-runner. At a rally in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, Fiorina stayed mostly silent while Cruz interacted with the gaggle of press beforehand. But, when she later took the stage, Fiorina proved why she has been such a strong surrogate for the Texas senator, according to ABC’s JESSICA HOPPER and BEN GITTLESON: http://abcn.ws/1rD4n6C
--ANALYSIS -- ABC’s RICK KLEIN: After all the anticipation, might the Republican race end early? Those are the stakes in Indiana, and they’re being reinforced by the optics and realities being projected by the GOP establishment. At the very moment that anti-Donald Trump forces need the party to turn against Trump, it’s turning against Ted Cruz instead. John Boehner calls Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh,” and former Sen. Judd Gregg calls him a “demagogue’s demagogue.” Trump, meanwhile, has picked up three new House endorsements, and – for the first time – showed grassroots organizing muscle in sweeping the delegate slates in Pennsylvania. Sen. Bob Corker offered praise for his foreign-policy speech, and Ron Kaufman – a prominent veteran of the Mitt Romney and George H.W. Bush campaigns - is equating Trump to an eastern version of Ronald Reagan. A Trump win in Indiana would put an exclamation point on his recent win streak that will be near-impossible to erase. Historians will debate whether Trump is more lucky than good, and having a final matchup against Cruz will argue for the lucky camp. But this looks like a Republican Party coming to terms with Trump, rather than gearing up for a final battle to block him.
--WHAT ALLIANCE? Cruz said yesterday there is "no alliance" with fellow GOP candidate John Kasich to stop Trump from securing the Republican nomination. “There is no alliance. Kasich and I made a determination where to focus our energies, where to focus our assets, where to focus our resources," Cruz told reporters while campaigning in Indiana. ABC’s JESSICA HOPPER and BEN GITTLESON report that Cruz went on to say that Kasich is a "good" and "honorable" man. http://abcn.ws/1VE6Hq1
--THE CLINTON PIVOT: After a string of recent primary victories, Hillary Clinton is solidly on the path to the Democratic nomination -- and she knows it. The presidential candidate (who confidently blurted out during an interview this week, “I’m winning!”) has all but declared herself her party’s nominee. And though she and her campaign aides are still focused on the primary contests ahead, they’re now more than ever pivoting to the general election and preparing for a run against Republican front-runner Donald Trump. The shift was apparent the morning after the Pennsylvania primary, when the Clinton campaign appeared to preview their anti-Trump strategy by blasting out a series of messages and tweets critiquing Trump ahead of his foreign policy speech. ABC’s LIZ KREUTZ has more: http://abcn.ws/1Wt32dF
THIS WEEK ON ‘THIS WEEK’: Ahead of the crucial Indiana primary, Sen. Ted Cruz comes to “This Week” Sunday. Then, Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates weighs in on the 2016 race and Trump’s big foreign policy speech, only on “This Week.” And, the Powerhouse Roundtable debates the week in politics with Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd, ABC News contributor and ESPN senior writer LZ Granderson, and ABC News contributor, Republican strategist and pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING
--HUNDREDS OF PROTESTERS DESCEND ON TRUMP CALIFORNIA RALLY: Following Donald Trump's rally in Costa Mesa, California, last night, hundreds of protesters lined the streets, blocking cars leaving the OC Fair & Event Center, while others jumped on police cars. The Orange County Sheriff's Department said about 20 people were arrested, and there were no major injuries. There were nearly 200 officers outside the Trump rally, according to the Sheriff's Department. More from ABC’s ALANA ABRAMSON, DAVID CAPLAN, JOHN SANTUCCI and BRIAN MCBRIDE: http://abcn.ws/1NYVd8G
--NON-HAZARDOUS SUSPICIOUS WHITE POWDER SENT TO TRUMP TOWER. Law enforcement sources confirm to ABC News that established protocol for opening letters was not followed when a suspicious white powder was discovered at the Trump Tower in Manhattan Thursday night, ABC’s DAVID CAPLAN and BRIAN MCBRIDE report. The incident prompted the New York Fire Department, the New York Police Department and EMS workers to investigate -- but the powder was deemed not hazardous, according to the NYPD. http://abcn.ws/24nRICc
YESTERDAY ON THE TRAIL with ABC’s VERONICA STRACQUALURSI and PAOLA CHAVEZ
KASICH KEEPS GOING. It had all the makings of a dropping out speech -- minus the punchline. Republican presidential candidate John Kasich revealed to voters in Oregon that he had been seriously thinking about whether or not to continue his campaign, ABC’s VERONICA STRACQUALURSI, PAOLA CHAVEZ and RYAN STRUYK report. He trails rivals Donald Trump and Ted Cruz by hundreds of delegates. “I want to tell you that I got up yesterday and, well, I started thinking about my campaign, started thinking about my effort,” Kasich told a crowd of supporters at a Portland town hall yesterday. “I thought about should I keep going? Should I carry on? What is this all about? And I thought deeply about it,” Kasich admitted. “I’ve decided to keep going. And there are going to be people who are going to criticize me for that, and it’s not always an easy road,” Kasich said. “I’m gonna do my very best.” http://abcn.ws/1STYHkm
KNIGHT ON TRUMP: 'THAT SON OF A B---- COULD PLAY FOR ME!' Republican front-runner Donald Trump seems to have found a kindred spirit in famed, former Indiana University head coach Bobby Knight, ABC’s CANDACE SMITH notes. Knight has appeared with the businessman at two events in Indiana, praising Trump’s “preparedness.” Both have reputations for pursuing the win -- Knight boasting 900 career wins and Trump on a primary winning streak. While speaking to an Evansville, Indiana crowd, Knight defended Trump against claims that the candidate was not presidential enough, comparing him to Harry Truman, who Knight said was accused of the same thing. http://abcn.ws/1Tzed2b
CRUZ MOCKED BY JOHN BOEHNER AS ‘LUCIFER IN THE FLESH.’ Former House Speaker John Boehner isn't buying Sen. Ted Cruz's pitch to unite the Republican Party against Donald Trump. In a talk at Stanford University Wednesday, the plainspoken Ohio Republican called the Texas senator "Lucifer in the flesh," adding that he found Cruz difficult to work with in Congress. “I have Democrat friends and Republican friends," Boehner said, according to the Stanford Daily. "I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.” ABC’s BENJAMIN SIEGEL has more. http://abcn.ws/239ECGd
INDIANA ‘REALLY IMPORTANT’ FOR SANDERS, WIN OR LOSE. Sen. Bernie Sanders has turned his attention to Indiana, despite his diminishing chances to secure the Democratic presidential nomination. Sanders’ focus on the next primary comes during a tough week, which started with his winning only one of the five East Coast primaries on Tuesday. The campaign then announced the next day it was cutting hundreds of staffers, though arguing that fewer remaining primaries call for a realignment of resources. But his overall campaign has shrunk dramatically, to between 325 and 350 staffers from more than 1,000, a campaign source told ABC News, ABC’s MEGHAN KENEALLY and MARYALICE PARKS. http://abcn.ws/1XXerBs
VEEPSTAKES 2016: WHAT’S IN IT FOR CARLY? Even though it is mathematically impossible for Sen. Ted Cruz to win the Republican presidential nomination outright, Carly Fiorina agreed to join him on his hypothetical ticket as his vice president. As Donald Trump’s chances of becoming the GOP nominee increase with each primary win, the benefits of her joining Cruz's ticket are not as obvious as they would be if he had a clear path to victory. But it is still a path, senior fellow Philip Wallach of the Brookings Institution argues. ABC’s MEGHAN KENEALLY has more. http://abcn.ws/1YVFdKq
RNC DELEGATE CANDIDATES CAMPAIGN HARD, SPEND BIG TO GET ELECTED. In Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary, Donald Trump wasn’t the only candidate whose ground game helped him win big, ABC’s JESSICA PUCKETT notes. Several of the state’s 54 newly-elected unbound delegates staged their own elaborate campaign operations in the hopes of paving their way to what is expected to be a historic Republican convention in Cleveland in July. Pennsylvania's huge heap of unbound delegates is the biggest in the country. At a contested convention, these 54 people could make or break the nomination process for the next leader of the free world. http://abcn.ws/1NWPCzG
CRUZ'S DELEGATE COUNTER CUCCINELLI SAYS THEY'RE ‘CLEANING’ TRUMP’S ‘CLOCK’. Ken Cuccinelli, the former attorney general of Virginia and chief delegate counter for Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, brushed off this Tuesday’s losses to Donald Trump in five northeastern states. He said the Cruz campaign will “march on.” In the latest edition of the “Powerhouse Politics” podcast, Cuccinelli told ABC News’ Political Director Rick Klein, who hosts the podcast with Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl, that Tuesday was a “good day” for Trump, but many of the states the real estate mogul has won “will never in a million years vote a Republican for president.” http://abcn.ws/1VEaRhJ
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
TWITTER REACTS TO DONALD TRUMP’S ACCUSATION THAT HILLARY CLINTON IS PLAYING THE ‘WOMAN CARD.’ Donald Trump recently accused Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton of using the “woman card” to get elected. "I think the only card she has is the women's card," Trump said in New York earlier this week. "She has got nothing else going.” It was only a matter of time until the hashtag #womancard took Twitter by storm. While some tweeters got creative using memes to criticize Trump’s comment, others focused on the deeper issues, ABC’s PAOLA CHAVEZ reports. http://abcn.ws/1T7ZAzB
@mattbai: .@jonward11 goes deep into the emerging GOP split. https://www.yahoo.com/news/the-gop-has-split-into-trump-and-ryan-wings-203522305.html?soc_src=social-sh&soc_trk=tw … via @YahooNews
@DavidMDrucker: California by #s: As of Jan. 5, 2016, registered Dems = 43.1%. Repubs? 27.6%, barely better than Indies (24%.)
@mkraju: Should Bernie drop out in June if he continues to trail Hillary? "Yes," said Merkley, Bernie's lone Senate backer. http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/28/politics/bernie-sanders-jeff-merkley-endorsement/index.html …
@bethreinhard: Early Trump ally on Capitol Hill: "You’re not having to stick your neck out quite as far as a few months ago."