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Can America Learn to Love Ted Cruz?

4 minute read

Ted Cruz makes his first appearance on the cover of TIME this week as the GOP learns to love his candidacy as an alternative to Donald Trump. In an interview with TIME, Cruz reflects on how he hopes to bring the party together, how he’s focusing on economic issues to appeal to Trump voters in the coming moderate and liberal-leaning primary states, and the last time he’s spoken with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Once public enemy #1 of the GOP establishment, Cruz proved he could win a broad swath of the GOP electorate in Wisconsin, a feat he hopes to repeat in the weeks and months ahead.

Trump, meanwhile, is looking to set his campaign back on track after a tumultuous 10 days. A meeting with his new delegate operations head Wednesday indicated that changes may soon be coming to Trump’s campaign staff as the candidate begins to internalize that the race isn’t about winning primaries and caucuses, but rather, the difficult work of securing delegates to the convention.

Both the Democratic and Republican races are off to an enthusiastic start in New York, which votes April 19, as Trump blasted Cruz for his criticism of “New York values” and Cruz defended the smear, saying he only meant liberal ones. Across the aisle, Bernie Sanders leveled his sharpest charge yet against Hillary Clinton, asserting she is “unqualified” to be president. The line will undoubtedly energize his core supporters, but could backfire among the broader Democratic electorate, which has issues with Clinton but generally views her as more qualified for the job than Sanders. Clinton’s campaign swiftly fired up the outrage machine, calling on Sanders to retract and apologize for his remark. Expect more fireworks in the coming days.

President Obama is traveling to his hometown of Chicago to make the case for his Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. Cruz will visit a matzo factory in Brooklyn. And who is more New York: Sanders or Clinton?

Here are your must-reads:

Must Reads

Can America Learn to Love Ted Cruz?
He has a plan to take the GOP nomination from Donald Trump. But first he must heal old wounds, TIME’s Michael Scherer writes

Ted Cruz Embraces Economic Populism in Interview
Talking to TIME, he explains how he hopes to unite the GOP

Who is More New York: Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders?
TIME’s Sam Frizell dives deep as the state’s primary approaches

Sanders Argues Clinton Not ‘Qualified’ to Be President
With the crucial New York primary less than two weeks away, the Democratic presidential candidates have ratcheted up their rhetoric [Bloomberg]

As Contested Convention Looms, Trump to Hire ‘Seasoned Operatives’ to Help
Trump looks to expand his small inner circle to deal with new challenge [Washington Post]

Sound Off

“She has been saying lately that she thinks I am quote-unquote not qualified to be president. Let me just say in response to Secretary Clinton, I don’t believe that she is qualified if she is through her super PAC taking tens of millions of dollars in special-interest money. I don’t think you are qualified if you get $15 million through Wall Street for your super PAC.” — Bernie Sanders at a rally at Temple University, delivering his sharpest broadside of the campaign at Clinton

“I don’t recall the last time Mitch and I have spoken.” — Ted Cruz to TIME on his last conversation with the Senate Majority Leader

Bits and Bites

Joe Klein: In Wisconsin, Trump Faltered and Palin Bombed. Why Cruz Will Struggle to Do Better [TIME]

Trump Slams Cruz for ‘New York Values’ Comment at Long Island Rally [TIME]

Obama’s Low-Key Barnstorming for a Supreme Court Nominee [TIME]

New York Underdog Ted Cruz Gets Cheers, Jeers in Bronx Visit [Wall Street Journal]

From Ukraine to Trump Tower, Paul Manafort Unafraid to Take on Controversial Jobs [Washington Post]

Hillary Clinton Again Looks Upstate for Win in New York [New York Times]

Ivanka Trump’s Chinese-Made Scarves Are Recalled [New York Times]

Union Effort to Create Super PAC Stalls [Wall Street Journal]

Cruz Defends New York Values Comment in New York [NBC]

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