-- The day after Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and John Kasich announced they would coordinate their efforts against GOP front-runner Donald Trump in three upcoming primary contests, the two sent mixed messages about how they viewed the deal.
Kasich said he would not encourage his supporters in Indiana to vote for Cruz, despite his campaign saying last night it would shift its resources to “give the Cruz campaign a clear path” to take on Trump in the state.
"I've never told them not to vote for me," Kasich told reporters at a Philadelphia diner, when asked about his Indiana supporters. "They should vote for me."
Cruz, meanwhile, portrayed the dual announcements by his campaign and Kasich’s last night as Kasich “pulling out” of Indiana. Cruz’s campaign said it would focus on the Hoosier State ahead of its primary next week and allow Kasich to fight Trump in Oregon and New Mexico, which hold their GOP primaries on May 17 and June 7, respectively.
"It is big news today that John Kasich has decided to pull out of Indiana, to give us a head-to-head contest with Donald Trump,” Cruz said today during a campaign stop in Borden, Indiana. “That choice is important for the country.”
But Kasich said the agreement was not a “big deal.”
"I don't see this as any big deal other than the fact that I'm not going to spend resources in Indiana, he's not going to spend them in other places,” Kasich said today. "So what? What's the big deal?”
Even the message from Kasich’s campaign was not immediately clear. After Kasich told his Indiana supporters this morning to vote for him, his chief strategist, John Weaver, tweeted: "We're not telling voters who to vote for in IN” -- referring to Indiana -- "only where we are going to spend resources to ultimately defeat Hillary. They get it.”