Mara Liasson | KERA News

Mara Liasson

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Conventions give candidates a second chance to make a first impression, even candidates who have been covered by the media as obsessively as Donald Trump.

The Republican convention in Cleveland gives Trump that chance. Here are six things to watch this week:

1. Will the Cleveland convention stick to a script?

Donald Trump's wife, Melania Trump, may be quiet but she's not invisible.

She spends most of her time at home, raising the couple's 10-year-old son, Barron, and sometimes makes appearances with her husband at rallies. On occasion, she introduces him.

Now, she is scheduled to address the Republican National Convention Monday night.

At a Milwaukee rally in April, she sounded a bit like her husband, the presumptive GOP nominee.

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Donald Trump is headed for steel country today. He's going to be talking about trade, and that is nothing new. Back in the primaries, Trump made a bold promise to supporters in Pittsburgh.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Donald Trump did what Republicans have begged their presidential candidate to do for months — lay out the case, from A to Z, against Hillary Clinton.

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Hillary Clinton delivered a remarkable speech Thursday, one that was billed as a foreign-policy address, but was principally about laying out the case for why Republican Donald Trump is disqualified to be commander in chief.

Here are three questions answered:

1. What did she do with this speech?

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are turning their attention to the general election and to one of the most important decisions they will make — choosing a vice president.

Picking a vice president is the first "presidential level" decision any candidate makes. Although vice presidential candidates have rarely, perhaps never, determined the outcome of an election, the choice tells voters a lot about the candidate.

The two most important criteria are always the same:

1. Pick someone who would ready to be president, if necessary, and
2. DO NO HARM

Hillary Clinton isn't over the finish line yet, but as she continues to battle Bernie Sanders she's also turning her attention to a general election matchup with Donald Trump.

A lot of Democrats say that in order to beat Trump, she needs to be developing a clearer message on the economy.

That's not Donald Trump's problem.

Not only does he have a simple, clear message — he often says so himself.

Five delegate-rich states on the East Coast will vote Tuesday: Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Call it the "Acela Primary" for the train that runs through those states.

There's a lot at stake. Here are four things we're watching:

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Now, the Brussels attacks came on a voting day here in the United States. NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson is covering the primary and caucus voting in Arizona, Utah and Idaho. Hi, Mara.

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Donald Trump is the GOP delegate leader and has the clearest path to the presidential nomination of any remaining candidate. But does he have an electoral path to 270 in November?

There's a basic math problem for any Republican nominee.

In every one of the past six presidential elections, Democrats have won states that add up to about 240 electoral votes — pretty close to the majority needed to win.

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The remaining four Republican candidates debate once again tonight, this time in Miami. Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and John Kasich will be on the stage together for the last time before next Tuesday's big primary night, when voters in Ohio and Florida — Rubio and Kasich's home states — go to the polls. Tuesday is a make or break night for the two of them and tonight's debate is the last chance they have to change the dynamic in a race that has not been going their way.

Here are four things to watch — one for each candidate.

Tonight the two Democratic candidates — Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders — meet in Miami for a debate.

Before Tuesday night, the debate was looking like an unimportant afterthought to a race that could have been all wrapped up. But not anymore, after Sanders' stunningly unexpected win in Michigan last night.

Here are three things to watch:

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SHAPIRO: And I want to turn now to NPR's Mara Liasson here in the studio. Mara, tonight is not as big as Super Tuesday one week ago and perhaps not as big as when we'll hear from Ohio and Florida next week. But what conclusions can we take away from tonight?

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The GOP may be in the midst of an identity crisis, but the Democratic Party is also facing a political crisis that could be made a lot worse if it doesn't win the White House in November.

Here's why:

Part of President Obama's legacy is the health of his party. He's had many successes in office — health care reform, climate change regulations, Wall Street reform — but his legacy will also include one huge failure: a diminished Democratic Party.

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Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

All right, there, as Sarah Said, it was a strong day of words on the campaign trail. NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson is with us now to talk about what's been happening today. Hi, Mara.

In any ordinary year, Donald Trump's big win in South Carolina on Saturday night would all but anoint him the Republican presidential nominee. That's especially true after his big win in New Hampshire, where he won with support across various age and income groups in the party.

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