The Note: Two Against Trump


--CRUZ, KASICH CAMPAIGNS AGREE TO COORDINATE TO STOP TRUMP: Ted Cruz and John Kasich’s presidential campaigns announced in statements last night that each candidate will cede states in the 2016 presidential race to one another in an effort to stop GOP frontrunner Donald Trump. Cruz's campaign manager Jeff Roe said in a statement that "to ensure that we nominate a Republican who can unify the Republican Party and win in November, our campaign will focus its time and resources in Indiana and in turn clear the path for Gov. Kasich to compete in Oregon and New Mexico, and we would hope that allies of both campaigns would follow our lead." Kasich's campaign manager John Weaver wrote in a memo that, "We are very comfortable with our delegate position in Indiana already, and given the current dynamics of the primary there, we will shift our campaign's resources West and give the Cruz campaign a clear path in Indiana." Officials in both the Cruz and Kasich campaigns told ABC News that the campaigns coordinated on the decision, ABC’s JESSICA HOPPER and BEN GITTLESON report.

--THE CALENDAR: Weaver added that Kasich's campaign expected to "to compete with both the Trump and Cruz campaigns in the remaining primary states." A spokesman for Kasich, Chris Schrimpf, told ABC News that Kasich was no longer going to hold any public events in Indiana on Tuesday, when he was next scheduled to be in the state. His campaign had planned to hold a town hall and primary night party in the Indianapolis area on Tuesday. Kasich is scheduled to hold two town hall meeting-style events in Oregon on Thursday.

--WHAT TRUMP IS SAYING: GOP frontrunner Donald Trump responded to the news in a series of tweets: “Lyin' Ted and Kasich are mathematically dead and totally desperate. Their donors & special interest groups are not happy with them. Sad!” and “Wow, just announced that Lyin' Ted and Kasich are going to collude in order to keep me from getting the Republican nomination. DESPERATION!”

--ANALYSIS -- ABC’s RICK KLEIN: A new era in a wild campaign began Sunday night, with the announcement that the Kasich and Cruz campaigns are coordinating efforts to block Donald Trump in the quickly dwindling number of upcoming states. It’s a bold leap on the part of both campaigns, though it might have been far more effective two months ago – back when there were more states ahead than behind the candidates. (Mitt Romney’s speech endorsing state-by-state coordination came March 3.) Even now, it assumes a level of strategic voting that voters have seldom, if ever, bought into. But now that “Senator Smear” (what John Kasich has called Ted Cruz) is working with “Trump’s vice president” (the role Ted Cruz has suggested Kasich covets), they have a clear week, in the run-up to Indiana’s primary, for a full run of #NeverTrump activities. It’s notable that this essentially cedes the next round of states – where there are more delegates being awarded than were in New York last week – to Trump. And going forward, Trump has a new argument that aligns with an old one. “Collusion is often illegal in many other industries,” Trump noted in a statement late Sunday.



CHARLES KOCH: WHY I DIDN’T TRY TO STOP DONALD TRUMP. Charles Koch says he won’t “put a penny” into trying to stop Donald Trump, that there are “terrible role models” among the remaining Republican presidential candidates, and that his massive political network may decide to sit out of the presidential race entirely. "These personal attacks and pitting one person against the other -- that's the message you're sending the country," Koch said in an exclusive interview with ABC’s JONATHAN KARL that aired Sunday, ABC’s ALEXANDER MALLIN and JONATHAN KARL report. "You're role models and you're terrible role models. So how -- I don't know how we could support 'em." The billionaire CEO of Koch Industries and one of the most powerful and controversial figures in politics said he and his brother David Koch have also turned down pleas to join the "Never Trump" movement, which aims to deny the real estate mogul the nomination. TRANSCRIPT: PODCAST:

KOCH: WHY WE'RE SKIPPING CONVENTION WHERE PAUL RYAN WON'T BE GOP'S 'WHITE KNIGHT'. Despite his disagreements with the Republican frontrunners, Koch told ABC’s JONATHAN KARL he doesn't believe House Speaker Paul Ryan should be selected in July as the party’s nominee. “Why go?” Koch said of his network "Freedom Partners" attending the convention in Cleveland. “We're not interested in politics. We’re interested in moving us towards a culture and policies that will enable people to improve their lives.”

KOCH: IT’S ‘POSSIBLE’ CLINTON COULD BE A BETTER PRESIDENT THAN GOP PICK. Koch says "it's possible" Hillary Clinton could make a better president than the remaining candidates in the GOP primary. Koch said in an exclusive interview with ABC News on "This Week" that he believed Bill Clinton was a better president "in some ways" than George W. Bush. "In other ways, I mean [Clinton] wasn't an exemplar. But as far as the growth of government, the increase in spending," Koch said. "It was 2.5 times [more] under Bush than it was under Clinton." Charles and David Koch both maintain they haven't yet spent a dollar for or against any candidates in the 2016 presidential primary. In his interview, Koch said that is a result of his disgust with the rhetoric in the Republican primary, and he even suggested Clinton could be a better choice for the country than the remaining crop of GOP candidates. "It's possible," Koch said, but didn't say whether he could see himself supporting Clinton in the 2016 cycle, ABC’s JONATHAN KARL and ALEXANDER MALLIN report

NOTED: CLINTON REJECTS ‘ENDORSEMENT.’ Hillary Clinton's campaign responded to Koch’s suggestion that he might prefer Clinton over the remaining Republican candidates. "Not interested in endorsements from people who deny climate science and try to make it harder for people to vote," the campaign tweeted on Clinton's account, ABC’s ALEXANDER MALLIN notes.

KOCH GOING OUT OF HIS WAY TO APPEAR ‘NON-PARTISAN,’ SAYS RNC CHAIR. RNC chairman Reince Priebus said Koch was going out of his way to appear non-partisan, ABC’s MOLLY NAGLE and NICKI ROSSOLL note. "Charles in particular has often times gone out of his way to appear non-partisan and maybe he is,” Priebus said on ABC’s "This Week." “They have their own activities they work on, we have ours. There isn’t that much intersection between the two."

TRUMP AT ODDS WITH NEW CAMPAIGN CHIEF’S COMMENTS. As Donald Trump spoke over the weekend in a crowded hangar on the border of Maryland and Pennsylvania, he sounded like the Trump we've heard for months. "I think I look real good. I mean, I think I look like a president. You mean, you mean, [Ohio Gov. John] Kasich looks better than Trump? I think a lot of people would disagree with that," he joked. At his rallies, he employs the same rhetoric that everyone is used to from the Republican frontrunner: "Lyin Ted" and "Crooked Hillary" litter his remarks as cries of "Build that wall!" ring out. If one were to take it from his new convention manager, Paul Manafort, however, it might seem as though a new Trump were approaching. "You'll start to see more depth of the person, the real person,” Manafort said, according to a New York Times' audio recording during the Republican National Committee's spring meetings. But Trump directly addressed his new campaign chief's comments, completely discounting them. ABC’s CANDACE SMITH has more:

SANDERS SAYS STAYING IN RACE ‘GOOD’ FOR DEMOCRATIC PARTY. Facing long odds to secure the Democratic presidential nomination after his loss in the New York primary last week, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders rejects the idea he should exit the race any time soon. “We intend to take the fight all the way to California so people throughout this country have a right to determine who they want as president and what kind of agenda they want for the Democratic Party,” Sanders said on ABC’s "This Week." “This is good for democracy. It’s good for the Democratic Party." Sanders faces off with rival Hillary Clinton in five closed primary contests this Tuesday and polling indicates she’ll expand her already sizable delegate lead, according to ABC’s ADRIENNE SALAZAR.

CLINTON ON TRUMP SHIFTING HIS IMAGE: ‘IF WE BUY IT, SHAME ON US.’ Hillary Clinton is not convinced that Donald Trump would be able to change his image, even if he tried, ABC’s LIZ KREUTZ writes. "Trump keeps saying things like, 'You know, uh, I didn't really mean it. It was all part of my reality TV show. Running for president will be on your screen,'" she said at at a campaign rally in Central Falls, Rhode Island Saturday, impersonating the Republican frontrunner. "Well, if we buy that, shame on us," she added. "Because he already showed us what he believes, and he has already said what he wants to do, and he wants go after every one of the rights we have."

CRUZ: TRUMP IS ‘BETRAYING AMERICANS’ BEFORE HE’S EVEN ELECTED. Ted Cruz is intensifying his attacks on chief rival Donald Trump, calling him a phony and liar who is betraying conservative voters. At campaign stops this weekend in both Pennsylvania and Indiana, Cruz coined new punchlines attacking Trump, calling him everything from a master illusionist like Houdini to a man who campaigns like Mick Jagger parachuting into a rock concert concert to someone who should consider writing "The Art of The Betrayal." Speaking from the bed of a pickup truck in the parking lot of a Plainfield, Indiana, diner, Cruz energized a crowd of supporters by calling Trump "crazy Donald" and a "phony Donald." ABC’s JESSICA HOPPER has more.



HOW CRUZ SECURED ANOTHER DELEGATE VICTORY IN MAINE. With the selection of Maine delegates this weekend, Ted Cruz procured further support as he aims to win the nomination at what could possibly be a contested Republican National Convention in Cleveland this summer, but his campaign came under fire for subverting a unity deal for its own benefit. Maine RNC committeeman Alexander Willette, a Donald Trump supporter, told ABC News that 19 of the 20 national delegates selected Saturday to represent Maine at the GOP convention were "endorsed by the Cruz team." The 20th delegate selected, Gov. Paul LePage, has endorsed Donald Trump. Maine will send 23 delegates to Cleveland this summer, ABC’s ALANA ABRAMSON, ERIN DOOLEY and JESSICA HOPPER note.



@rickklein: so now Trump has former campaign managers for Walker, Carson, and Christie working for him. … via @JenniferJJacobs

@HallieJackson: Cruz camp: "simply letting folks know where we will be focusing," but says won't tell ppl explicitly who to vote for

@woodruffbets: PA has a comparably large population of Syrian-Americans, and many love Trump bc they think he'll be good to Assad

@Mediaite: Cruz Campaign Manager Gets Home Plate Seats, Holds Up Cruz Sign During Astros Game 

@HerbieZiskend: the next president should start a "War on Pollen"