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As Trump tries to coalesce GOP, Obama urges ‘scrutiny’ of candidate

Friday saw presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump try to organize party leaders behind his upcoming presidential bid, but the real estate mogul faced more major defections from lawmakers still unwilling to embrace his controversial candidacy. Meanwhile, President Obama weighed in on Trump’s rise to the top of the Republican party for the first time. John Yang reports.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Donald Trump faced more major defections today, as he tries to line up Republicans behind his bid for the White House. And President Obama weighed in for the first time on Trump's rise to the top of the GOP.

    John Yang begins our coverage.

    (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

  • PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

    This is not entertainment. This is not a reality show.

  • JOHN YANG:

    Today, President Obama urged voters to focus more on Donald Trump's record and less on what he called the spectacle and the circus.

  • PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

    This is a contest for the presidency of the United States, and what that means is that every candidate, every nominee, needs to be subject to exacting standards and genuine scrutiny. It means that you got to make sure that their budgets add up.

  • JOHN YANG:

    The president said Republicans will have to decide for themselves if they feel comfortable with Trump as their nominee. And Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina tweeted that he is not.

    Just yesterday, House Speaker Paul Ryan said he's not ready to endorse Trump either.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: I was really surprised by it. It's not a good thing. It's something the party should get solved quickly.

  • JOHN YANG:

    Ryan and other Hill Republican leaders are to meet Trump next Thursday. And Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus told "Politico" today, he expects the party to come around.

    At a rally in Charleston, West Virginia, last night, Trump pledged to restore the coal industry and received the endorsement of the West Virginia Coal Association, an industry group.

    West Virginians vote next week, and polls show Bernie Sanders leading Hillary Clinton. She has a nearly insurmountable lead in delegates, but in Charleston, voter John Baker told us why he's backing the Vermont senator anyway.

  • JOHN BAKER, Bernie Sanders Supporter:

    And I liked his emphasis on things like healthcare and approaching drug addictions from a healthcare perspective, and things like college tuitions.

  • JOHN YANG:

    So you feel perhaps by voting for Senator Sanders you're influencing Secretary Clinton?

  • JOHN BAKER:

    I would hope so, making a statement.

  • JOHN YANG:

    Clinton supporter Bernie Deem says she isn't buying the Sanders message.

  • BERNIE DEEM, Clinton Supporter:

    I believe that she has the ability to see the needs of every American. And I think she has insight into — no matter what generation you are in, no matter any of the things that people — other people pull us apart, I think she realizes that basically we all have the same needs. And that she'll find ways for those needs to be met.

  • JOHN YANG:

    It's a divide that's been seen all through this primary season and likely will continue. Sanders insists he'll campaign all the way to this summer's convention.

    For the PBS "NewsHour", I'm John Yang in Charleston, West Virginia.

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