A Democratic shoutfest

From the beginning and for two tense hours, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders got in each other’s faces. The Brooklyn Navy Yard debate, five days before New York’s primary and live on CNN, was by far their roughest, Newsday’s Yancey Roy reports.

Sanders questioned Clinton’s judgment on and her assertion she could stand up to Wall Street when she was “so dependent” on the financial industry’s contributions. Clinton implied he lacked knowledge of complex issues, and could describe problems, but not realistic solutions.

There was shouting and sarcasm aplenty, and the candidates repeatedly talked over each other while pressing their arguments and counterpunching at attacks.

It was uncertain, however, whether either was able to pry away voters leaning toward their rival in a contest where few New York Democrats are still undecided.

Still Clinton’s to lose

Hours before the debate, a new NBC 4 New York/Wall Street/Marist poll was released. It found Clinton leading Sanders 57% to 40% among likely Democratic voters. The 17-point margin is a slight uptick from Monday, when the same pollsters showed her with a 14-point lead.

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The now-familiar generational split in support for the Democrat contenders was evident again. Sanders had a 13-point advantage with voters younger than 45. Among those older, Clinton led by 38 points.

The Takeaway: A fight they called unlikely

The candidates gave their best defenses by playing offense, Dan Janison writes. The Brooklyn debate saw Clinton repeatedly drop ex-boss President Obama’s name and mention her previous role as senator from the state, with Sanders critiquing her again as an agent of Wall Street. Remember when New York wasn’t even going to be competitive?

Suffolk GOP cheers Trump

A raucous crowd of more than 1,000 came to hear Trump at The Emporium, a nightclub and music venue in Patchogue, at a $150-per-person Suffolk GOP fundraiser.

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Trump said he would reverse bad trade deals to bring jobs to the county, Newsday’s David M. Schwartz reports. He did not address a source of local controversy — the event venue is near where Ecuadorean immigrant Marcelo Lucero was murdered in 2008.

More than 120 people joined the victim’s brother, Joselo Lucero, at a vigil outside to counter what he called Trump’s “hate speech” and “rhetoric against immigrants.” But one pro-immigrant activist, the Rev. Dwight Lee Wolter, was invited inside by Suffolk GOP chairman John Jay LaValle.

Wolter said afterward of Trump’s backers: “We have to engage these people. Shouting over the barricades isn’t working.”

GOP trio at state GOP dinner

Republican presidential hopefuls Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich each made a spirited pitch to more than 1,000 guests at Thursday night’s $1,000-a-head state GOP gala in Manhattan.

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Some 200 anti-Trump protesters rallied outside behind police barricades. Newsday’s Laura Figueroa, Emily Ngo and Matthew Chayes covered the events inside and out.

Cruz was conspicuously ignored by the dinner guests as he delivered his pitch. But Trump had Cruz to thank for his old "New York values" dig, giving the front-runner something to riff on.

Winning and losing

Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is off the hook over his run-in with a female reporter last month — prosecutors in Palm Beach County, Florida, said the evidence was not there to pursue a misdemeanor battery charge. But he’s got other problems.

The news reached Trump and Lewandowski while they were holding court with reporters from Jewish media and ultraorthodox activists at Trump Tower. “I’m proud of you, Corey,” Trump said. Then he turned to his guests to crack: “He wasn’t quite as effective for the past couple of months.”

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Lewandowski’s power inside the campaign is said to be on the wane as the candidate has brought in seasoned operatives to try to steady its stumbles in the fight for delegates.

Kasich: Trump voters are like me

John Kasich said in Jericho that he alone among the GOP contenders can put together the breadth of support needed to win in November, and that Trump voters would come to his side.

“The more they know me, the more they like me, because I grew up more like them than Trump did,” he said, alluding to his blue-collar upbringing. Newsday’s David Olson reports on the town hall at Milleridge Inn Cottage, which was recorded to be shown on MSNBC Thursday night.

Sharpton praises Sanders

The Rev. Al Sharpton hasn’t endorsed a candidate, but he said Sanders “has changed the conversation in this election.”

Sanders spoke at Sharpton’s National Action Network convention, a day after Clinton’s appearance there. To shouts of “Preach!” from the audience, the Vermont senator called for racial and income equity, reports Newsday’s Emily Ngo.

What good, he asked, was the desegregation of lunch counters in the South a half-century ago when “you don’t have the money to buy the damn hamburger?” Calling for law enforcement reform, he said, “We are tired — more than tired — of seeing the videos of Sandra Bland and Eric Garner and all the rest.”

Buy American or buy cheaper?

A majority of Americans say that given a choice, they would take lower-priced imported goods over paying a premium for “Made in the USA” items, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll.

While Trump and Sanders are vowing to bring back millions of American manufacturing jobs, public sentiment reflects a core challenge: Incomes have barely improved, forcing many households to look for the best bargains.

What else is happening:

  • A new Sanders ad slams Clinton on her Wall Street pay-for-talk and contrasts it with her minimum wage position (with video).
  • A way-cute Clinton hit: She said Sanders was the only one on the stage who voted for deregulating swaps and derivatives. Bill Clinton actually signed that one into law and she wasn't yet in the Senate.
  • Sanders is not scheduled to meet Pope Francis during his visit to the Vatican Friday. Sanders is speaking at a conference about “the Urgency of a Moral Economy” ...
  • Clinton's (accurate) claim that Democratic moderators haven't asked abortion questions got her some extra attention. Sanders said he'd boost Planned Parenthood funding.
  • Sanders called racist her "super predators" invocation in the 1990's, and voters were reminded Clinton has abandoned a lot of previous stances to stay in the center of politics.
  • Trump says his favorite Bible teaching is the Old Testament punishment of an “eye for an eye.” (Audio clip here) ...
  • The Sanders campaign suspended its new Jewish outreach director, Simone Zimmerman, following reports she posted vulgarities about Israel’s prime minister on Facebook ...
  • Trump adviser Michael Cohen cannot vote for him in the New York Republican primary because he’s a registered Democrat ...
  • The Democratic National Committee will sue Arizona over five-hour voting lines and other alleged irregularities during the March 22 primary ...
  • Sanders disavowed remarks by a campaign surrogate who told Wednesday’s Washington Square rally that voters shouldn’t “continue to elect corporate Democratic whores” ...
  • Former New York Gov. George Pataki endorsed Kasich.