PHILADELPHIA (CBSNewYork/AP) — Donald Trump swept all five states that held Republican primary contests Tuesday night, but Hillary Clinton was held back from a sweep on the Democratic side with a win by Bernie Sanders in Rhode Island.
CBS News called the race for Trump in Connecticut, Maryland, and Pennsylvania right as the polls closed. Rhode Island was called for Trump about 25 minutes later, and Delaware a few minutes after that.
Hillary Clinton won Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Connecticut for the Democrats, but Bernie Sanders was the winner in Rhode Island.
Voters in those five states cast their ballots Tuesday as the two front-runners sought to build on their momentum. More than 500 delegates were at stake, CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported.
The Tuesday night contests have been dubbed the “Acela” primary because all the states involved are on the Amtrak high-speed line.
On the Republican side, Trump’s sweep was a major blow for GOP rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich. They had been pinning their hopes of stopping him on a fragile coordination strategy in the next rounds of voting.
Trump stayed in New York Tuesday night and spoke to supporters at his base of operations at Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue. He emphasized that he had won all five states and was racking up more than 60 percent of the vote in those states, and slammed Cruz and Kasich for working together against him.
“It’s collusion,” he said. “In business, they put you in jail for collusion. In politics, you can get away with it.”
Trump noted that he had received millions more votes than Cruz or Kasich, and record-setting turnout at his rallies. He claimed that since-withdrawn candidates Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie – who has since endorsed Trump and was with him at the rally – were more successful than Kasich before they each dropped out.
“I use the analogy of the boxer, you know, when the boxer knocks out the other boxer, you don’t have to wait for a decision,” Trump said.
Trump further had kind words for the news media, after having clashed with many news organizations since the start of his campaign.
“I want to thank the media. The media’s really covered me very fair for the last two hours,” he joked. “No, they’ve really been fair over the past few years.”
Trump even talked up Democrat Sanders, saying the Democratic candidate had been second to Trump himself in terms of rally attendance.
“The Democrats have treated Bernie very badly, and I think he should run as an independent,” Trump said.
Trump waited to discuss policy ideas, noting that he would “have our country back” and “make America great again,” and mentioning plans to keep jobs from leaving the country. He only mentioned in passing his plan to build a wall on the Mexican border.
Trump also turned the rally into a news conference and took a few questions after speaking. In response to one question, he said, “I consider myself the presumptive nominee, absolutely.”
Trump also said he saw no need to change his approach so as to appear more “presidential,” because, “As far as I’m concerned, it’s over,” and Cruz and Kasich cannot win.
“If you have a football team, and you’re winning, and then you get to the Super Bowl, you don’t change the quarterback, right?” he said.
When asked about Clinton’s jab at Trump wherein she said “love trumps hate,” Trump said Clinton would be “horrible” on foreign policy and “terrible” on job creation. He further claimed that Clinton lacked the “strength and stamina” to deal with countries such as China.
“Hillary – I call her crooked Hillary,” Trump said. “She’s crooked.”
Trump also repeated an earlier remark claiming that Clinton plays her gender to her advantage.
“If Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5 percent of the vote. The only thing she’s got going is the woman’s card, and the beautiful thing is women don’t like her,” Trump said.
Trump said he was not worried about being labeled as someone who encourages hate.
“I’m not a hateful person,” Trump said. “I’m a person that loves people.”
Trump also said he would not be held to any “doctrine” as president.
“You have to have flexibility,” he said. “I can’t say: ‘This is my doctrine, I will not move,’ because the world changes. Countries change. Leaders change.”
CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett said Trump will likely take 90 to 105 delegates as a result of the sweep.
The results Tuesday night eliminated Cruz from winning the nomination outright. Earlier, Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski called on Cruz and Kasich to withdraw from the race and unite behind Trump.
As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, there are still 502 Republican delegates at stake after Tuesday night.
Cruz was betting that he would do well enough in Indiana, Nebraska and California to prevent Trump from reaching the 1,237 delegate count.
Over the weekend, Cruz and Kasich made an unconventional pact to slow the billionaire’s momentum. Both campaigns released statements Sunday saying that Cruz will focus his campaign resources on winning enough delegates in Indiana, while Kasich will focus his efforts on western states, including Oregon and New Mexico.
“Tonight, this campaign moves back to more favorable terrain,” Cruz said during an evening rally in Knightstown, Indiana. His event was held at the “Hoosier gym,” where some scenes were filmed for the 1986 movie, “Hoosiers,” starring Gene Hackman as the coach of a small town Indiana basketball team that wins the state championship.
Exit polls in Pennsylvania showed 58 percent of Republican voters said the campaign has divided the party, CBS News’ Weijia Jiang reported.
On the Democratic side, wins in four out of the five Tuesday contests brought Clinton more confidence that she would be her party’s nominee — even though Sanders kept her from a full-on sweep.
Clinton spoke to her supporters in Philadelphia on Tuesday night, saying she hoped to return to the City of Brotherly Love for the Democratic National Convention in the summer.
“We will unify our party to win this election and build up America, where we can all rise together,” she said, “an America where we lift each other up instead of tearing each other down.”
Clinton also had some kind words for Sanders and his supporters, emphasizing that they have drawn attention to income inequality and the influence of money in politics.
“Whether you support Senator Sanders or you support me, there’s much more than unites us than divides us,” she said.
Clinton also slammed the “woman card” remarks by Trump.
“Well, if fighting for women’s health care and paid family leave and equal pay is playing the woman card, then deal me in!” she said.
Clinton spoke as if the nomination were wrapped up, Aiello reported.
“I want you to keep imagining a tomorrow where instead of building walls we are breaking down barriers, we are making it more likely that Americans will be part of a prosperous inclusive decent society,” she said.
In Maryland, the first contest called, Clinton won with strong support from women voters, older voters, and African-Americans, CBS News polling indicated. Clinton won more than 70 percent of African-American voters, and 69 percent of women voters.
Sanders still won in Maryland for those under age 30 by 72 percent, compared to 26 percent for Clinton.
But a total of 73 percent of Maryland Democrats thought Clinton had a better chance of defeating Trump in a general election, CBS News reported.
Among Pennsylvania voters, 73 percent of poll respondents saw Clinton’s policies as realistic compared with 51 percent who said the same about Sanders. A total of 73 percent also said they expect Clinton to be the nominee, including 49 percent who actually voted for Sanders.
Meanwhile Tuesday night, Sanders held a rally in West Virginia, where he continued to talk up the success his campaign has seen.
“The fight that we are waging is not an easy fight, but I know you are prepared to wage that fight against the 1 percent, against the billionaire class, and against a small number of people with incredible wealth and incredible power who control our economic life, our political life and our media life,” Sanders said.
Sanders also addressed the issue of independents being shut out of a closed primary system at the rally, and mentioned New York state in particular while doing so.
“Three million people in New York state could not vote because they were independents,” he said.
Despite his victory in Rhode Island, Sanders has fallen further behind Clinton in the delegate count – even as he insisted he was more electable.
“Our national polls which have us 15, 20 points ahead of Donald Trump, far more than Secretary Clinton,” he said.
The Vermont senator said earlier in the day that “we are going to fight all the way to the Philadelphia convention.” But when pressed on whether he’d continue in the race even if Clinton secures enough delegates for the nomination, he said, “We are going to fight through California and then we’ll see what happens.”
In an interview on CNN Tuesday, he said, “We’re in this until the end.”
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