MILWAUKEE (CBSNewYork/AP) — Donald Trump is pushing rival John Kasich to get out of the White House race, arguing that the Ohio governor shouldn't be allowed to collect future delegates because the nomination is already beyond his grasp.
Trying hard to right himself after a difficult week, Republican presidential front-runner Trump said it was unfair for Kasich, the winner of only his home state's primary, to continue campaigning. He suggested that Kasich, who has pledged to make it to the summer convention, follow the lead of former candidates Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush - and quit.
"If I didn't have Kasich, I automatically win," Trump said Sunday evening in West Allis, Wisconsin.
Trump said Kasich could ask to be considered at the GOP convention in Cleveland in July even without competing in the remaining nominating contests. He said earlier Sunday that he had shared his concerns with Republican National Committee officials at a meeting in Washington this past week.
Kasich's campaign countered that neither Trump nor Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz would have enough delegates to win the nomination outright in Cleveland.
"Since he thinks it's such a good idea, we look forward to Trump dropping out before the convention," said Kasich spokesman Chris Schrimpf.
At a town hall event at Hofstra University in Hempstead Monday, Kasich said he has the polls on his side, WCBS 880's Mike Xirinachs reported.
"There's a poll that came out today that shows me beating Hillary by 14 points in Wisconsin," Kasich said. "How do we go to a convention and they pick somebody that can't beat Hillary?"
Kasich called smear campaigns against him disgraceful, and laughed at the call for him to leave the race.
"They sure are worried about me, spending a lot of money to knock me out. But they're not going to be successful in that," Kasich said.
As CBS2's Tony Aiello reported, a sign on a Huntington, Long Island stage Monday was telling – "America never gives up." And in front of the sign, Kasich persisted in his dismissal of Trump's remarks.
"Trump's worried that I'm going to get his votes, which I always knew that I could do," Kasich said.
Kasich said he hopes to pick up a dozen or more delegates by running strong in key congressional districts.
"The party rules are such that if you get 20 percent of the vote in a congressional district, you get one of the delegates," said GOP consultant Gerry O'Brien.
Meanwhile, Cruz focused on Wisconsin, where polls show him in the lead.
"Donald Trump is not the best candidate to go head to head with Hillary Clinton; that Donald loses to Hillary by double digits," Cruz said.
Clinton appeared at a rally with Gov. Andrew Cuomo Monday touting the new minimum wage law, CBS2's Dick Brennan reported. She also wasn't shy to remind New Yorkers who vote that she has the home court advantage.
"I was so proud to be a New Yorker all those eight years I represented you. I have always been proud, but I'm even prouder today," she told voters.
Clinton and Bernie Sanders agreed Monday evening that they would hold a debate April 14 in Brooklyn, five days before the state's April 19 primary.
Clinton is favored to win New York, but her lead over Sanders keeps shrinking. Clinton was up by 40 points in New York last June and by 20 points in February, but only by 10 points in the most recent CBS News poll.
"I think we can win," Sanders said. "If we win in New York state, between you and me, I don't want to get Hillary Clinton more nervous than she is."
On Monday night upstate, Clinton reminded New Yorkers that she has won in the state before.
"I loved representing New York," she said. "It was the greatest honor imaginable that the people of New York took a chance on me in the 2000 election."
The candidates previously announced they'd agreed to debate in New York before the important April 19 primary, though their campaigns continued debating over when to schedule the face-off. Sanders, meanwhile, fired up a crowd in Wausau, Wisconsin, hoping to continue a string of recent campaign victories even as Clinton maintains a sizable delegate lead.
Trump's call for Kasich to bow out came as Republican concerns grew about the prospect of convention chaos if Trump fails to lock up his party's nomination - or even if he does.
Behind Cruz in the polls in Wisconsin, Trump faces the prospect that a loss on Tuesday there will raise further doubts that he can net the needed delegates, making it far easier for his party to oust him in a floor fight at the convention in Cleveland in July.
Cruz, Trump's closest challenger, has only a small chance to overtake the real estate mogul in the delegate hunt before the convention. Cruz spent Sunday rallying supporters, including conservative Wisconsin talk radio hosts who oppose Trump's candidacy.
Kasich acknowledges that he cannot catch up in the delegate race, leaving a contested convention his only path to victory. He has faced calls in the past to step aside, but those nudges became less frequent following his decisive victory last month in his home state.
Still, Kasich suggested that a contested convention would not involve the chaos that party leaders fear.
"Kids will spend less time focusing on Bieber and Kardashian and more time focusing on how we elect presidents," Kasich told ABC. "It will be so cool."
Republicans fear a bruising internal fight would damage the party in November's general election. Trump also isn't ruling out the possibility of running as an independent if he isn't the nominee, making it that much harder for the GOP to retake the White House.
Such talk has "consequences," said GOP Chairman Reince Priebus, though he tried to quell the prospect of a convention fight. He told ABC that the process will be clear and open, with cameras there "at every step of the way."
Frustration with the GOP field has stoked calls in some Republican corners for the party to use a contested convention to pick someone not even on the ballot. Priebus acknowledged that was a remote possibility, but said he believed his party's nominee would be "someone who's running."
Trump has been on the defensive as he struggled to explain away a week of controversies over abortion, nuclear weapons and his campaign manager.
"Was this my best week? I guess not," Trump told "Fox News Sunday."
In the meantime, Cruz once again dismissed rumors about trouble in his marriage, and took a political shot along the way at Trump.
"I don't think it's a state secret that Donald's personal life hasn't been immaculate. But I have no interest in going there," Cruz said.
Trump admitted he made a mistake retweeting a photo of Heidi Cruz. Trump also said that America is headed for a major recession, unless he is elected.
(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report).
for more features.