KCUR's Political Pundits join Steve Kraske to discuss the ascendant Donald Trump, and the second GOP presidential debate.


  • Dave Helling is the Kansas City Star's political reporter.
  • Burdett Loomis is a professor of political scientist at the University of Kansas.
  • Jessica Lee is an assistant professor at KU's School of Business.

The day after GOP leaders called for Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin to withdrawal, his opponent, Claire McCaskill, didn't have much to say on the topic.

Two new polls come to much the same conclusion about the 2012 presidential campaign:

Tech President reminds us that one way to possibly figure out who will be a vice presidential pick is to watch the various contenders' Wikipedia pages in the days before such an announcement is likely.

There hadn't been any doubt about it for several weeks, but with his win Tuesday in the Texas primary Mitt Romney has "clinched the Republican presidential nomination," according to The Associated Press.

Fox News reports that "senior Gingrich aides" say former House Speaker Newt Gingrich "plans to formally suspend or end his presidential campaign next Tuesday."

CNN writes that "sources close to Newt Gingrich say he will end his bid for the GOP presidential nomination next week."

(Revised at 2:03 pm ET with new Ron Paul-Pennsylvania material.)

The contest for the Republican presidential nomination may be over for all practical purposes, with Mitt Romney the all-but-certain GOP nominee. But that doesn't mean there's nothing of interest in Tuesday's primaries.

Voters are going to polls in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware and New York, though turnout is expected to be low. Still, here are four things to watch for.

Nothing about what happens during today's Republican presidential primaries in five states is expected to change the fact that Mitt Romney is the presumptive/expected/presumed/inevitable (pick your favorite word) nominee.

Polls are open in Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. There are 209 convention delegates at stake and Romney could pull off a five-state sweep.

But — and there's always a but — there's this:

Ahead of Pennsylvania's primary Tuesday, the likely Republican presidential nominee has been campaigning in the state with a man at the center of running-mate speculation — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. But Mitt Romney hasn't said much about whom he might name as his vice presidential choice.

Romney has said he appointed a longtime aide to handle the process and that he hasn't yet discussed making a list of potential candidates. But just about everyone else in politics is discussing it. And the men at the top of that list are asked about it a lot.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigned outside of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh on Monday, a day before Pennsylvania and four other states hold their primary contests.

Romney isn't concerned about the primary, but Pennsylvania will likely be an important swing state in the general election. And Monday also offered a chance to audition a potential running mate: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

At a Republican candidates' forum in Wisconsin before the state's primary earlier this month, a speaker who wasn't on the ballot had strong words for the GOP regarding its low standing among Hispanic voters.

"The way the party ... talks about immigration is going to impact the future course of this party and the future course of this nation," said former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, the first Hispanic to hold the nation's highest law enforcement post.

Much of the Republican political establishment, many GOP voters and political analysts were telling Rick Santorum that the time had come for him to end his quest for his party's presidential nomination even before Tuesday when he failed to win any of three primaries.

Those calls had only increased by Wednesday as Santorum fell further behind Romney in the delegate count.