What to watch at GOP town hall
Watch Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich appear at the CNN GOP town hall Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET
The event comes one week before the state’s April 5 primary, a critical test of the candidates’ strength before the campaign heads to eastern states later in the month.
Even the bit about the size of Trump’s manhood didn’t go quite this far.
“I’m not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my family,” Cruz said. “Donald Trump is not gonna be the nominee. We are gonna beat him for this nomination.”
And the two are at each other’s throats over who leaked what pieces of information in negative stories about the other.
Cruz challenged Trump to debate at CNN’s town hall during a Monday campaign stop in Rothschild.
Though they won’t be on stage together, the fight between Trump and Cruz will be Tuesday night’s main attraction.
Trump on policy
Increasingly, as Trump nears the general election, his policy positions are coming under scrutiny. His comments in editorial board meetings with The Washington Post and The New York Times both made waves.
It’s a central challenge for a man who is new to politics: talking fluently about policies he hasn’t had to address in his work life before he decided to run for president.
Those moments will be closely watched — not just for instant impact, but for what they could mean in the general election.
Will Kasich hit anybody?
The subject line on John Kasich’s fundraising email Monday afternoon was an eyebrow-raiser: “Off Limits.”
He was talking about families, and declared that “enough is enough with the mud slinging and the personal attacks.”
So he has some decisions to make. Will Kasich put his foot down and go after one, or both, of his opponents for the direction they’ve taken the race and tell voters it’s disqualifying?
How he handles the clash between Trump and Cruz could set the tone for Kasich’s next three weeks, since Wisconsin is the only major contest before New York’s April 19 primary.
The Scott Walker effect
Then Trump ruined all of that.
The real-estate mogul’s distaste for politicians was so strong that Walker, who spent his adult life in local politics, couldn’t match it. His argument that he is stronger than everybody else was enough to drown out Walker’s case about beating back labor unions.
Walker will get a little revenge on Tuesday, when he’ll announce his endorsement on a radio show.
The Wisconsin governor could set the tone for a state that’s do-or-die for Cruz. And his popularity could make it tricky for Trump to fire back.
Walker could be positioning himself for a future run. At the CPAC gathering near Washington earlier this year, he sought to minimize the damage that anti-Trump Republicans fear he’s doing to the conservative brand.
“I want to offer you some enthusiasm, some optimism today, and tell you no matter what’s happening there, the conservative movement is alive and well in states all across America,” he said there.
And he’s thrown out the possibility that if the GOP race is decided at the convention in Cleveland, the nominee might not be one of the three candidates for president right now.
Kasich wasn’t exactly raising the stakes in Wisconsin when he talked with reporters Monday in West Salem.
Asked to name one state he can win as the campaign moves forward, he said: “Yeah, I mean we’ll see, yeah.”
“I’m not going to be predicting because every time I predict it ends with you people coming and throwing my words back in my face. The key for us is to pick up delegates,” he said.
So cross Kasich off the list of those whose fate depends on Wisconsin’s outcome.
Cruz, on the other hand, has much more on the line. Trump is already on course to come close to winning 1,237 delegates — enough to clinch the Republican nomination outright. Cruz is within striking distance in the Badger State, and if he’s to deny Trump that mark, he can no longer afford to lose winnable states.
Amid all the personal insults, Cruz seems to have recognized this as a moment to strike.