Countdown to the Five Primaries; Former WWE CEO on Jobs, Wages in Northeast; Can the GOP Come Together? - Part 1

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Northeast; Can the GOP Come Together? - Part 1>

Ed Rollins, Tony Sayegh>

Economy; Policies; Donald Trump; Republican Party>

MARIA BARTIROMO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Good morning.

The Northeast is back in the spotlight this morning as we approach five areas that could paint a clear picture of the race for the White House.

Good morning, everyone. I'm Maria Bartiromo. Welcome to SUNDAY MORNING FUTURES.

What is at stake this coming Tuesday? And what could the results tell us about a possible contested convention? A FOX News digital politics director will break it down with us coming up.

Plus, jobs and wages are a big story in this election. Former WWE CEO and Connecticut Senate candidate Linda McMahon on the struggles we are seeing in the five primary states.

And can any of the three GOP candidates bring the parties together as RNC chairman Reince Priebus is hoping? A spokesman for Donald Trump with us and the Pennsylvania congressman on that.

All ahead right now as we look ahead on SUNDAY MORNING FUTURES.

(MUSIC)

BARTIROMO: Good morning.

The GOP candidates in the final sprint ahead of Tuesday's crucial primaries this morning. Five Northeastern states up are grabs on Tuesday, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

Donald Trump honing in on those states right now, hitting the trail in Maryland today.

Meanwhile, Ted Cruz is back in Indiana this morning, fighting to block Mr. Trump from winning that nomination outright. That primary is a week from Tuesday May 3rd. He's treating the Hoosier State May 3rd primary with 57 delegates up for grabs as a key part of that.

Linda McMahon is with us. She's the cofounder and former CEO of WWE, cofounder and CEO of Woman's Leadership Live. She's also a former Connecticut Senate candidate.

Good to see you, Linda.

LINDA MCMAHON, FORMER CEO OF WWE/FORMER CONNECTICUT SENATE CANDIDATE: Good to see you.

BARTIROMO: This Women's Leadership Live Group that you have created is real interesting. I want to get your take on woman and what is happening on that when it comes to the election. Let's start off ahead of Tuesday. What do you think are the most important issue that voters will be voting on this coming Tuesday?

MCMAHON: You know, it's the same as it was when I was running in 2010- 2012, it's the economy and it's jobs. This is on the forefront of the thinking of the people in Connecticut. We have -- we have lost tax revenue. Our economy is upside down. We're going into next year of a $900 million deficit. GE left the state and is in process of leaving the states. All of those have a critical impact.

BARTIROMO: And one of the reasons that GE left the state or is in the process of leaving the state is because the leadership voted again to raise the corporate taxes on a country level where the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world.

I want to show you the top marginal tax rates in 2016. Pennsylvania 9.99 percent, Connecticut, 9 percent, Delaware, 8.7 percent, Maryland 8.25 percent, and Rhode Island, 7 percent. These are marginal tax rates in 2016, and this, of course, is just the state of Connecticut, that's on top of federal, on top of Citi. GE basically said, you know what, I'm going to Boston.

MCMAHON: Yes, no mas. I chatted with Jeff Immelt, and I said really when I heard the news that they're leaving I said really? He said, you know, we talked and talked and now it's just time. He said that we have to go to a different area.

BARTIROMO: You studied this so much obviously in your run for the Senate. Why is that that the leadership will not just change the tax code? Knowing that we -- I mean, you look at New Jersey, one individual David Tepper, a hedge fund manager, leaves New Jersey because of his high tax rates and what -- and then leaves $120 million hole in the coffers for the New Jersey budget.

MCMAHON: There's this lack of understanding it seems that you raise taxes, you think, OK, I'm going to charge now and make up the numbers and 10 percent on a hundred dollars. Well, if it's 5 percent, that 10 percent is not going land you that much. You don't understand that and you reduce the revenue base by raising the taxes and driving the revenue producers out of the state. It's so counterintuitive.

BARTIROMO: Which is why I think candidates with the best tax plan or plan to move the economy in terms of growth will resonate with the people.

MCMAHON: Absolutely. We talked about, you know, lowering the tax rate and bringing the business here. Let's be business friendly and do not drive them out by having the highest tax rate.

BARTIROMO: Who do woman want? Let's talk about Women's Leadership Live, you founded this. You're trying to train woman wherever they are for success.

MCMAHON: Exactly. Whatever the tools are that they need for success and how do they define success? Is it the middle management, they want to go to the C suite, are there young entrepreneurs starting their own business, have they left the workforce to raise a family, now they're transitioning, what are those tools that they need. And that's what Women Leadership Live is all about.

BARTIROMO: You know, it's interesting, because a lot of people say that Donald Trump does not resonate with woman, and yet, he did get the women vote in New York last week. Do you know who they're going to vote for in Connecticut?

MCMAHON: I don't know who they're going vote for. But I do know that Trump is leading right now. I have known Donald for over 20 years. And I found him, you know, all the personal relationships with him. He is loyal. He's patriotic.

In private setting, he's very gracious. He is a good businessman. He hires smart people around him. So, I think that all of those factors are now resonating more.

BARTIROMO: In terms of Women's Leadership Live, you say that you can use the tools like social media to grow your network.

MCMAHON: Exactly. That's one of the biggest things that we can do and Debbie Saviano (ph) who is our social media gurus says tweeting and Facebooking and blabbing on Pinterest and all of the aspects and they can use them where they can spend money before and now they can go online and now they can use social media and it's such a great tool.

BARTIROMO: Actually, that relates to the election as well because you're saying and candidates tweeting all the time. I mean, initially, people thought why is Donald Trump tweeting so much? And then at the end of the day, you look at how it's helped him.

MCMAHON: Sure.

BARTIROMO: He hasn't spent much money in this election. He doesn't have to.

MCMAHON: No, and it's just followers after followers after followers, retweeting, comenting, and it's a great tool. So, at Women's Leadership Live, we can learn more about us at WomensLeadershipLive.com and register for the first event that's coming up in May just outside Dallas and Irving, Texas.

BARTIROMO: So, you're running the organization, and how do you compare it to running for public office as you did, and how does when you run from the Senate and differ in the time today where you're seeing such vitriol?

MCMAHON: Well, when I ran for the Senate, there was a lot of vitriol in the state as well with. But running Women's Leadership Lives compare to running for the Senate, there is just no comparison. There's a totally different animals, thank goodness.

BARTIROMO: Why is there such vitriol right now? I mean, there was a time when the right and the left got together. I mean, Congress, the Senate and the House, the members would go out for a coffee, go out for a beer. They don't have any relationship and they don't get anything done.

MCMAHON: I'll tell you, the woman in the Senate, they do that. Once a month, they get together, both parties, they'll have a nice dinner. They may agree to disagree on some things. In fact, Susan Collins was telling me she was riding up in the elevator one day after they had one of these dinners and one of the men from the Senate floor said, what do you woman talk about when you have these dinners, and she says, a complete overthrow.

(LAUGHTER)

MCMAHON: I thought that was really cute. But they do get together. The women do. If you have more women in board rooms, more women in the C- Suite, it's a better operations.

BARTIROMO: Do you still have aspirations to run for public office?

MCMAHON: No, don't have any aspirations for that.

BARTIROMO: Been there and done that.

MCMAHON: Been there, it was great. It was great. I enjoyed, I learned a lot about myself and I love the people of Connecticut.

BARTIROMO: Linda, great to have you on the program tonight.

MCMAHON: Thank you so much.

BARTIROMO: Thank you so much.

MCMAHON: Thank you so much.

Linda McMahon is cofounder and CEO of Women's Leadership Live, joining us this morning. We'll see what happens in the result in Connecticut. Linda, thank you.

It is high stakes and high rewards in the upcoming primary on Tuesday. Chris Stirewalt joins me next to talk about how the outcome could shift the Republican race. Follow me on Twitter @MariaBartiromo, @SundayFutures, let us know what you want to hear from the upcoming guest.

Stay with us as we look ahead on SUNDAY MORNING FUTURES this morning.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO: Welcome back.

Tuesday is shaping up to be a big deal for the Republican candidates. They're facing off in five states Tuesday night. With Pennsylvania, 71 delegates offering the biggest price. Donald Trump is a heavy favorite in the region, picking up wins there could go a long way for Trump in solidifying his statues with the GOP establishment.

Meanwhile, one of the top aides try to find common ground at the RNC spring meeting.

Joining me right now is FOX News digital politics editor, Chris Stirewalt, who covered the RNC meeting.

Chris, good to see you.

CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS DIGITAL POLITICS EDITOR: Good morning.

BARTIROMO: So, first, take us inside that meeting because there was the talk about Trump's aide saying that he is going to be more presidential and he's about to turn a corner in terms of the perception of Trump. What can you tell us?

STIREWALT: Well, what you he said that they really wanted to hear is that Trump was putting on an act with the some of the over the top rhetoric and the issues, the topics he was discussing, all of that was an attempt to win the primary. Once the primaries were done, then he would pivot, and that would take place.

Now, whether that's true or not, I don't know. But I can tell you that the people who were down there and hanging approximate by the open bar and seafood platter, were eager to believe it. They want to believe it because if it's not true, they know what they're facing not just on the presidential level, but down ballot, because these people really care -- yes, they care about the presidential, but they really care about can they keep 31 Republican governors, could they try to keep control of the Senate, could the House go closer to the parity? Those are the things that they care about, including their own state houses and state legislature.

BARTIROMO: How much of a risk is Donald Trump becoming more, quote, "presidential", alienating his supporters who basically got on the Trump train because he says it the way it is and says it, you know, not very presidential. So, is it a risk for him to change his tone now?

STIREWALT: I think for the core, let's say third of the Republican Party, or third of Republican primary voters who came in for Trump and believe in Trump not just as a disruptor, or not just as the last man standing, but the people who really believes, see this guy as he claims and that's Ronald Reagan, or most presidential person since Abraham Lincoln, they believe that, and they will give them a broad latitude because it's about him not policies, and they will give him latitude. This helps him then with the Republican establishment.

He's starting to pay the money that it pegs to get the quietus on these people and he is or promising that this is a put on and he is going to do the same thing not the get smoked like a Christmas ham in the general election.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

What do you think about the general election then? I mean, all of the polls say one thing, but do you think that Trump can beat Hillary Clinton?

STIREWALT: Well, sure, he can beat Hillary Clinton. We don't have any evidence that that is so, but he could beat Hillary Clinton. We said eight months ago, he can't win the Republican nomination, it's not possible. But his combination of, as you were talking about with Linda McMahon, combination of mastery of social media, the deep disaffection of so many in the Republican Party, plus the profusion of candidates field divided 17 ways, Donald Trump became possible.

You know, head to head matchup with Hillary Clinton right now, obviously, it looks pretty dire for the Republicans, but we don't know what's going to transpire in the next 200 days. So, that's why -- Maria, that's why they need us. That's why they have to keep us around.

BARTIROMO: I like that. I like that a lot.

Let me ask you this, because, you know, when I speak with the Cruz campaign, they are adamant that there's a path for Ted Cruz. It may not be mathematical to get 1,237 before the convention, but they're sure that he has a real shot to be the disruptor here. Kasich is saying the same thing, let's just take it to Ohio, take it to the July, convention and let's see how it plays out.

What's your take on all of this?

STIREWALT: Trump's math for winning the delegate, for winning the requisite number of delegates outright in primaries and caucuses isn't great. It's better than Cruz's obviously. Cruz is now reaching the mathematical vanishing point, and will presumably because Trump is going to have a great Tuesday and how great will say something about his own path.

But nobody has a great path right now to an outright clinch. What Ted Cruz has, though, is a Republican Party that lines up with him ideologically and attitudinally, substantially better than Trump. And, yes, Ted Cruz is right. If Donald Trump can't win on the first ballot, he must win on the first ballot. And if he can't, we would expect to see hundreds of delegates, not a couple of delegates, but hundreds of delegates flee from Trump and go Cruz as the most likely next person.

BARTIROMO: And you think that they would do that, that they would on the second ballot actually change direction?

STIREWALT: Sure, because they're bound by the law or the rules in their states to vote one way on the first ballot, in some states it's two ballots. But these are people who didn't want Trump to begin with and are obliged to be there for him on the first ballot, and then will change to go with the way that they want to go and the people will crash out and somebody will throw a chair and it will be quite a spectacle.

BARTIROMO: Wow. I'll tell you. It is going to be such an unbelievable convention. Anything can happen at this July convention.

Top Trump aides are saying that he wants to mend fences with the Republican National Committee. Chris, do you believe that that he is trying to mend the fences, because he says he wants to mend fences with the RNC, he wants to be all on the same time and then he gets out and then trashes them and saying that the system is rigged.

STIREWALT: Right. And what he does is, so, Donald Trump provides a credible threat. The credible threat is that if he does not get what he wants, that he will guarantee the party loses in November, number one. And number two, the convention itself could be chaotic and even violent. That's a credible threat that he's making.

Meantime, his aides go to the RNC and say, now, look, I know that it sounds bad and there are emoluments too. There are -- the bar is open, the seafood tower is chilled, please come and we will hire you, and maybe we'll make sure that some money gets to your state party.

So, they're working both sides of it. One side is the threat, the other side is the emolument. If you bring those together -- look, the RNC just wants to lay down. They are tired of fighting and terrified of what is going to happen at their convention. The members of the Republican National Committee just want this to over. And Donald Trump is the shortest path our of this primary season.

BARTIROMO: Yes. Which is why they punted on any changes to the rules. The rules are the same, and at that meeting they decided no, rule changes at this point.

Chris, always a pleasure my friend. Thanks so much.

STIREWALT: You bet.

BARTIROMO: We'll see you soon.

We're waiting on President Obama's joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. We will take you there live. The two leaders are expected to touch on a wide array of issues. We will take you there live from Hanover, Germany. As soon as it happens, we will bring it to you.

Then, Trump looking to move closer to clinching the nomination with a strong showing on Tuesday night. One of his senior campaign advisers will join us on what they're expecting next, as we look ahead this morning on SUNDAY MORNING FUTURES.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO: Welcome back.

Just two days away from the primaries in five states in the Northeast. Donald Trump is hoping to pull away from his challengers this Tuesday, 172 delegates at stake, which would be a huge bump for the front runner. He currently has 845 delegates to Ted Cruz's 559 delegates, and John Kasich's 148.

All of this as we hear that Mr. Trump is set to adopt more traditional campaign tactics and reach out to more Republican leaders in Washington.

Let's talk about it right now with his senior campaign adviser, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Sarah, good to see you. Thanks so much for joining us.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, SENIOR ADVISOR, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Thank you.

BARTIROMO: Is Donald Trump changing going into Tuesday?

SANDERS: You know, look, I think that Donald Trump is becoming the nominee and he is transitioning into the role and going into that and making the focus Hillary Clinton. As you see him do that, I think he is laying out a clear vision for America and doing things like the big policy speech that he has coming up this week.

So, I think that you're starting the see the transition and at the same time Donald Trump will be Donald Trump. That's what voters love about him, and you're not going see that change.

BARTIROMO: Yes, I am looking forward to this speech that Donald Trump is going to be making this week, because we're at that point in the campaign that people really do want some specifics and some substance. Can you give us the flavor of what the speech is about?

SANDERS: I can tell you that this is going to be a great moment for Donald Trump. He is going to show that he's got a very commanding understanding of how to lead in a very dangerous world and you're going to see some of the things that people have been wanting from him. But as far as giving the specifics, you're going to tune in and see Donald Trump for that one.

BARTIROMO: Absolutely, absolutely. But you say it's going to be more specific in terms of dealing in the dangerous world. I assume that's practicality about ISIS, dealing with Russia, dealing with obviously super powers like China.

SANDERS: Absolutely. I think that he will see again him give a very clear vision of what a strong understanding of where the place in this world is. I think that it's going to be something that you definitely want to tune in to see.

BARTIROMO: Yes, look, Sarah, you're a senior adviser on the Trump campaign. You're absolutely daughter of Governor Mike Huckabee?

SANDERS: Yes, they claim me as long as I behave. Yes, ma'am.

BARTIROMO: So, what was it that lured into the Trump camp when you had obviously influences in your own household to go in different roads?

SANDERS: Well, obviously my first choice was my dad's campaign, and I ran that into he was in the race, and then I got involved with the Trump campaign, like many other Americans and millions of other Americans across the country are getting behind him because of his message of shaking up Washington. He's not a wholly owned subsidiary and he will break up the Washington to Wall Street access to power. I think that's something that the country desperately needs.

And he is the ultimate contrast to Hillary Clinton. He is the outsider and there's nobody that's a bigger insider to Washington than Hillary Clinton. And I think that's the contrast that we need in November to win, and he's the only one that can do that.

BARTIROMO: This is why Clinton's speeches come up, because people want to have a feeling that she's going to be able to be independent. But how do you be independent when you know that Wall Street has paid you millions of dollars to give speeches and this morning's news is that "The Associated Press" is reporting that all 82 groups that paid Clinton for speeches, they were also lobbying to the government and they were trying to sway the government.

So, how do you go back to the same groups and deal with them when you know that they paid you in the last several years?

SANDERS: I don't think that you can. And I think that that among many other reasons is why Hillary Clinton is completely unelectable. There are so many questions surrounding her and not just the candidacy but her time in the Obama administration, as secretary of state. Many decisions that frankly I just don't think Americans are at the end of the day going to be able to vote for Hillary Clinton, and that's why we're going to see Donald Trump in the White House.

BARTIROMO: So, Donald Trump, obviously turning to the general election at some point. Is he focused on Hillary? Or is -- I hear of Lyin' Ted and the name-calling for primaries competitors, but when he is going to turn to the general election if it's not important to him?

SANDERS: Obviously, he's still got to, you know, officially clinch the nomination, which I fully predict that he will do.

BARTIROMO: This Tuesday?

SANDERS: At this point he -- you know, I think that he is going to have a really good Tuesday. All of the states are voting and all five of them are in the favor. It's another big night just like we had this past week in New York. And I think that Donald Trump is unquestionable the only one with a path to the nomination at this point. In fact, I have called in and many others have called in on Ted Cruz to follow the advice that he gave John Kasich when it became possible for him to get out of the race.

He's hit that point. I think it's time for him to do that. Let's unify behind Donald Trump so that he can focus completely on Hillary Clinton, a real target and be able to take her down in November.

BARTIROMO: Well, that's certainly the thinking of our next guest. Sarah, good to talk with you. We appreciate your time this morning. Thanks so much.

SANDERS: You bet. Thank you, Maria.

BARTIROMO: Sanders Huckabee Sanders joining us there.

One Pennsylvania congressman is asking for just that, calling on the GOP candidates to come together ahead of this Tuesday's primary. The bigger picture he wants them to focus on, we will look at Tuesday. And then what's beyond. You've got Indiana and California winning in the wings.

Then, we are awaiting a joint news conference with President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel from Germany live. The two leaders are going to touch on ISIS and the migrant crisis. We're going to bring that to you live when it begins. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO: Welcome back.

FOX News is America's election headquarters. We will be in Philadelphia tonight for America's town hall, featuring GOP candidates and some of our top analysts breaking down Tuesday's contests.

Joining me right now live from Philly are the hosts, Bill Hemmer and Martha McCallum.

Guys, good to see you.

BILL HEMMER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Hello, Maria.

MARTHA MCCALLUM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Good morning, Maria.

BARTIROMO: So excited about the town hall tonight. Tell us what you're expecting.

I mean, you've got the GOP candidate. You've got obviously five contests Tuesday night and so much is on the line with all of these delegates.

MCCALLUM: Yes, so true, Maria. It's great to be here in Philadelphia. We're at the National Constitution Center, where they're hosting us tonight, and we're going to have 300 people here, we think. We're in the Declaration Hall right behind us, and we're in the National Constitution Center as I said.

We're going to get a feel for how people in Pennsylvania are thinking about Tuesday night, the questions that are on the mind for the candidates and we're going talk to about the polls --

HEMMER: You think about this place that you are and this is where democracy was literally written, Independence Hall, Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and as we sit 36 hours away from what we'll be critical, critical primaries, but none more so than the state of Pennsylvania.

BARTIROMO: Yes, you're right. I was watching Martha last Tuesday looking at all that exit poll data.

And, Martha, you kept on saying the theme that was coming up and that's the economy is the number one issue and on the mind of the voters. We knew that last Tuesday, we've known that all election, and Pennsylvania's economy is very similar to what we're seeing on a national level, right? It's a slow slumping along the bottom, bumping along the bottom of growth story.

MCCALLUM: Yes. So true, Maria, and you get pulled way and focused by strategic (AUDIO GAP) to voters. That's what people care the most about. I mean, every time (AUDIO GAP), the top issue is the economy, the way they feel about the country and the future for their children, and I am sure that a lot of the questions that we're going to get tonight from viewers and the audience and also from people on Facebook and Twitter is about how these candidates are going to tackle that issue, because that hits home more than anything else and a lot more than the garbage that was around in the course of the campaign.

BARTIROMO: Yes, for sure.

All right. We'll look forward to it. Bill, Martha, we'll see you tonight. We're excited.

HEMMER: Thanks, Maria.

MACCALLUM: Thanks, Maria.

BARTIROMO: It's a gorgeous shot, we will be viewing and tuning in tonight live for Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum and our town hall tonight.

As voters get set to hit the polls in Pennsylvania Tuesday, one congressman from the state is calling on Republican candidates to come together and unify.

Congressman Mike Kelly writing an op-ed in "USA Today", reading in part, "No more threats to subvert the convention, no more fantasies about a third party, no more flirtations with staying home. For the sake of America's economy, liberty and security, let's bring back the 11th Commandment and the fighting and commit to winning one more for the Gipper. Or, in the 21st century vernacular, #NeverHillary."

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