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May 15, 2012

With a meager crowd of dozens looking on, President Obama spoke about the nation's still-hurting housing market in front of the three-bedroom home of Paul and Val Keller in Reno, Nev., on May 11. Considering that Val may not even vote for the president in November, this embarassingly sparse stage could represent a "disastrous photo opportunity" that comes back to haunt Team Obama, says Nina Golgowski at Britain's Daily Mail. The Week Staff

9:28 p.m. ET
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Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump said that looking ahead to the general election, he will not self-fund his campaign, instead creating a "world-class finance organization."

The campaign is expected to cost more than $1 billion, and Trump said Wednesday he does plan on "putting up" some money, The Wall Street Journal reports. By the end of March, Trump's campaign had spent $47 million, with $36 million coming from Trump. Two advisers told WSJ he plans on tapping into supporters who do not regularly give to the Republican Party, and an aide said he is starting to work with the Republican National Committee to develop a joint fundraising agreement. He also plans on helping the RNC raise money for other candidates through fundraising events and direct mail.

Throughout his campaign, Trump touted the fact that he was not accepting money from wealthy donors or super PACs. "This is one more example that voters can't take Donald Trump at his word," Democratic National Committee Communications Director Luis Miranda said. "He'll say anything to get elected, so long as it personally benefits him." Trump's website features a prominent "donate" button, and proceeds from items sold in his online store go towards his candidacy. Trump has already raised $12 million from supporters, with most donations of $200 or less, WSJ reports. Catherine Garcia

8:23 p.m. ET
Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images

Automakers in the United States are recalling an additional 35 to 40 million air bag inflators manufactured by Takata, the company and U.S. Transportation Department said Wednesday.

Already, 28.8 million inflators assembled by Takata have been recalled to fix a defect that can cause air bags to explode during accidents, sending shrapnel through the air. The new recalls will be prioritized by age and risk of exposure to high humidity, conditions that affect the inflators, Reuters reports. There have been 11 deaths and about 100 injuries linked to the defective parts, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Administrator Mark Rosekind said this is "the largest recall in American history." Catherine Garcia

7:15 p.m. ET
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On Wednesday, the Justice Department sent officials in North Carolina a letter warning them that a new law requiring people who are transgender to use bathrooms that correspond with the gender they were born with violates federal civil rights law.

The letter, sent by the head of the department's civil rights division, states the law also violates Title IX, and the state could lose billions in federal education funding, The Charlotte Observer reports. Gov. Pat McCrory (R) called the letter "Washington overreach like we've never seen in our lifetime," but opponents like Democratic Rep. Chris Sgro said the letter confirms the bill "is deeply discriminatory, violates civil rights law, and needs to be repealed as soon as possible."

State officials have until Monday to respond "by confirming that the state will not comply with or implement" the law. Catherine Garcia

6:40 p.m. ET
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George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush will not weigh in on the 2016 election, people close to the former presidents told The Texas Tribune Wednesday.

The elder Bush has endorsed every Republican nominee in the last five election cycles, including political rival Bob Dole in 1996, and supported his son Jeb Bush before he dropped out of the race in February. His spokesman, Jim McGrath, said Bush 41 does not plan on endorsing presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, and "at age 91, President Bush is retired from politics. He came out of retirement to do a few things for Jeb, but those were the exceptions that proved the rule."

Bush 43's personal aide, Freddy Ford, told the Tribune he "does not plan to participate in or comment on the presidential campaign." Neither have said anything publicly against Trump, although George W. Bush got in a veiled jab while campaigning for his brother, telling an audience that "the strongest person in the world usually isn't the loudest one in the room." Catherine Garcia

5:35 p.m. ET
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Update 5:35 p.m.: John Kasich formally announced his exit from the 2016 race Wednesday, telling a roomful of supporters and press that he was suspending his campaign. He thanked his family, volunteers, and supporters for being part of "something bigger" than themselves, and told stories of some of the most meaningful interactions he'd had with voters on the campaign trail. He did not mention Donald Trump, an endorsement, or the general election at all, simply thanking the people of Ohio for "the greatest professional experience of my lifetime." He closed his speech on a hopeful note: "As I suspend my campaign today, I have faith ... the Lord will show me the way forward and fulfill the purpose of my life."

Ohio Gov. John Kasich will announce at a Wednesday evening press conference in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, that he is suspending his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, The Associated Press reports. Kasich was initially scheduled to do a press conference at the Dulles airport in Virginia, but announced Wednesday morning that he would not be leaving Ohio after all. If the governor does drop out, that would leave Donald Trump as the only remaining Republican presidential candidate. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) dropped out of the race Tuesday night after Trump's win in Indiana all but ensured the mogul would win the nomination. Becca Stanek

3:47 p.m. ET

It looks as though before Wednesday's end, America will know its final 2016 face-off: Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton. Yes, Ohio Gov. John Kasich is technically still in the GOP race, but he is widely expected to drop his bid Wednesday in a 5 p.m. EDT speech, and while Bernie Sanders is remaining defiant following his surprise win in the Democratic Indiana primary, his odds still aren't great to defeat Clinton. The math dictates we're all but guaranteed a Trump-Clinton face-off — and needless to say, Hillary Clinton is ready for the challenge.

Team Clinton wasted no time capitalizing on all the #NeverTrump vitriol that's been launched at the mogul from within his own party, releasing an ad Wednesday that is a brutal compilation of sound bites from GOP leaders:

By the time this is all over, America might need some therapy, too. Kimberly Alters

3:25 p.m. ET

President Obama vouched for the safety of filtered Flint water Wednesday by symbolically drinking a glass that had been properly treated for consumption. "If you're using a filter ... then Flint water at this point is drinkable," Obama said.

The president landed in Flint, Michigan on Wednesday for his first visit to the city since the water became contaminated with dangerously high levels of lead after Flint's government, under a state-appointed emergency manager, switched water sources to save money.

Obama will also meet with officials, community leaders, 8-year-old "Little Miss Flint," and Gov. Rick Snyder (R), who has been criticized for his handling of the crisis. "It's just breathtaking [Obama] would be here to stop off and see about little old Flint," one resident told The Detroit Free Press. "I just wanted to be here and be a part of it." Jeva Lange

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