Feb 20, 2016 12:29 AM

The Latest: Clinton tells casino workers she'll be a fighter

The Associated Press

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) The Latest on campaign 2016 ahead of Saturday's South Carolina Republican primary and Nevada Democratic caucuses (all times Eastern Standard Time):

12:20 a.m.

Hillary Clinton has spent the day campaigning around Las Vegas, filling her hours with low-key, policy-heavy stops a round table, visiting a homeowner to talk solar policy and a youth employment group. Then she stopped by two more casinos to shake workers' hands at an evening rally where she was joined by her husband and daughter.

She told the crowd, "We've got to be in this together, starting tomorrow at 11 a.m."

Clinton urged supporters to tell voters "if they will stand with me tomorrow, I will stand and fight for them through this campaign."

11:25 p.m.

Bernie Sanders is courting casino workers on the eve of the Nevada caucuses, greeting union members at Caesars Palace casino in Las Vegas.

The Vermont senator shook hands and posed for photos in the cafeteria of the casino, where workers were eating during their dinner break.

Sanders was ending the final day of campaigning at a rally and concert in Henderson, Nevada, featuring the band Cold War Kids.

11 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is making a final swing through the vote-rich back rooms of Las Vegas' casinos.

Clinton stopped by employee break rooms of two casinos Friday evening to shake hands and ask for workers' support in Saturday's Democratic presidential caucuses.

That brings the number of casinos Clinton has visited in the past two days to six.

Clinton also held a town hall at a Las Vegas high school, stopped by a youth employment program and held a town hall on child care and family issues.


8:50 p.m.

Donald Trump is defending his support of waterboarding by citing a largely unsubstantiated tale of a U.S. general who supposedly halted Muslim attacks in the Philippines in the early 1900s by shooting the rebels with bullets dipped in pigs' blood.

The story about Gen. John Pershing's efforts to quell the Moro Rebellion around 1911 has been widely discredited.

But Trump brought it up during a rally in North Charleston the night before the South Carolina primary.

He says after the alleged incident, "For 25 years there wasn't a problem, OK?"

Trump adds, "So we better start getting tough and we better start getting vigilant, and we better start using our heads or we're not going to have a country, folks."

Trump says waterboarding is "minimal, minimal, minimal torture" compared with the tactics used by Islamic State militants.


8:20 p.m.

Marco Rubio called for a moment of prayer after an attendee at an evening rally in Clemson had a medical emergency.

Rubio was on stage with South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley when a man hit the pavement in the rear of a crowd gathered at an outdoor amphitheater at Clemson University.

It wasn't immediately clear what happened. Rubio said he and Haley would stop their comments to allow medical personnel time to arrive and attend to the man.

Rubio, Haley and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott spent the day before the South Carolina primary flying around the state.


8:10 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is promising high school students she can reboot the economy by citing the success of her husband's administration.

A student at a town hall at a Las Vegas high school asked Clinton what she can do for youths entering a wobbly job market .

Clinton says the country needs a president who can "keep churning out the opportunity."

She adds that you need a president who believes in that, saying: "I know we can, because I was there when my husband did it. I saw the difference it made."

Clinton spent the day stumping across Las Vegas before Saturday's Democratic caucuses.


8 p.m.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign is taking a cue from rock bands and sports teams that sell merchandise at their events.

Trump's team set up a merchandise counter at a rally in North Charleston, South Carolina, on Friday evening, Trump's final event before voting begins in South Carolina's GOP primary Saturday.

The counter featured hats with Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan, shirts, mini-megaphones and pompoms.

Trump's campaign has raised significant revenue by selling merchandise on its website.

Trump's events typically feature numerous vendors selling homemade shirts, buttons and other items to supporters as they wait in line.


7:01 p.m.

John Kasich's campaign says the Ohio governor called John McCain on Friday to talk about military spending, but there was no talk of an endorsement.

Kasich mentioned the conversation with McCain during several South Carolina campaign stops, telling voters the 2008 GOP presidential nominee is fighting to make sure the Pentagon is spending enough money on the men and women on the front lines.

Kasich senior campaign strategist John Weaver says the two did not discuss politics and Kasich did not ask McCain to back his presidential bid.

Weaver previously worked for McCain. He says the two talked about Pentagon and procurement reform for about 15 minutes.


6:54 p.m.

John Kasich is urging a crowd of supporters to applaud two protesters at his event aboard the USS Yorktown, a World War II-era aircraft carrier.

Two protesters held up signs and began protesting Kasich's record on women's health during the Friday evening rally. Kasich plans to sign a bill in Ohio on Sunday that strips money for Planned Parenthood in the state.

Kasich defended the protesters' rights to be there as his supporters chanted, "KA-SICH, KA-SICH," saying, "Give 'em a round of applause, they're allowed to come in here and yell and scream."

Kasich then joked that as someone who went to college during the 1970s, "if I don't see a good protest every once in a while, I ain't living."

Supporters of Planned Parenthood have been sending people to Kasich's events in South Carolina to protest the Ohio bill.


6:40 p.m.

Bernie Sanders' campaign is urging rival Hillary Clinton to release the transcripts of speeches she gave to Wall Street firms. Clinton has said she will "when everybody else does."

Sanders team says they're willing to "accept Clinton's challenge" and release all of his Wall Street speeches because he never gave any.

Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs says the campaign hopes "Secretary Clinton keeps her word and releases the transcripts of her speeches."

He says he hopes she agrees that "the American people deserve to know what she told Wall Street behind closed doors."

In the 18 months before launching her second presidential bid, Clinton gave nearly 100 paid speeches at banks, trade associations, charitable groups and private corporations. The appearances netted her speaking fees of $21.7 million.


6:08 p.m.

The patriarch of the "Duck Dynasty" reality TV show says both he and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz are just like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers because they all believe in the Bible and Jesus Christ.

Phil Robertson is campaigning Friday with Cruz and says he is backing him because he's a "Jesus man." Cruz is joking that Robertson could make a good ambassador to the United Nations.

Robertson gave a rambling speech in Columbia, South Carolina, where he blamed Hitler and other atrocities throughout history on the absence of Jesus, saying without him "the murder is fixing to start." Robertson also spoke out against same-sex marriage, saying "you want to legalize unnatural acts?"

Robertson says, "We ought to put religion in everything we do, including politics."

Cruz praises Robertson, saying "I love that man. Talk about a man who loves Jesus and isn't afraid to admit and anyone and everyone to proclaim his name with no apology and nothing but joy."


5:30 p.m.

South Carolina congressman and former two-term Gov. Mark Sanford has endorsed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the state's Republican presidential primary.

Sanford announced his endorsement at a Cruz rally on Friday, the day before South Carolina's primary.

His endorsement comes after current Gov. Nikki Haley announced she was backing Cruz's rival, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Sanford says he was impressed with Cruz for speaking out against renewable fuel subsidies while campaigning in Iowa, where the ethanol mandate is popular with corn farmers. Sanford calls Cruz a fighter and says that's what's needed now in Washington.

Cruz is campaigning around South Carolina on Friday before heading to Washington on Saturday for Justice Antonin Scalia's funeral. He is then returning to South Carolina to await the primary results.


4:15 p.m.

GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump says he has no intention of attacking Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders yet.

Campaigning ahead of Saturday's Republican presidential primary in South Carolina, Trump fielded a question from a one of his supporters who described Sanders as a "socialist" with dangerous policy ideas.

Trump told her he doesn't "like to speak badly about Bernie, because I sort of want him to win so badly."

Trump said Sanders would be "so easy to hit" in a general election.


3:50 p.m.

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump says he has no worries about winning over GOP establishment figures nervous about having him as the party's general election candidate.

Responding to a supporter's question Friday about some GOP leaders' concerns, Trump said his strategy is simple: They'll back a winner.

Trump says the conventional GOP has "a structural problem" when it comes to winning the 270 electoral votes needed to capture the White House.

But he says he puts into play states like New York, Michigan and others.

And he blasted GOP commentators and strategists who have warned against nominating him, singling out strategist Karl Rove and columnists George Will and Charles Krauthammer.

Trump called them "jealous" and "petty" and "bad people." He warned the party needs "new thinking or we aren't going to have a party anymore."


3:45 p.m.

Donald Trump has emerged as the front-runner for the GOP nomination by winning over roughly a third of Republicans in the early voting states and in preference polls.

And, by packing his rallies with men and women, evangelical Christians and military veterans, blue-collar workers and wealthy retirees.

His critics argue he'll never be able to grow that wide-but-only-so-deep coalition with his contentious ways.

But a new AP-GfK poll finds registered Republicans and GOP-leaning voters put Trump at the top of the GOP field when it comes to which candidate fits best with their stand on the issues.

They give Trump best marks for competence and decisiveness. And far more Republicans than not say they'd vote for Trump in the general election, and 86 percent of Republican voters think he can win in November giving him a 15 percentage point advantage over his nearest rival.


3:35 p.m.

Donald Trump is telling Americans they should boycott Apple products until the technology giant complies with a court order to help investigators break into an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino mass shooters.

Trump made the comment during a question-and-answer session in Pawleys Island, South Carolina, where he's campaigning ahead of Saturday's first-in-the-South Republican presidential primary.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that complying with the federal government's request would risk compromising the data of its customers worldwide.

Trump says Cook wants to prove "how liberal he is." He told the crowd to "boycott Apple until such time as they give up that security."


2:30 p.m.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is urging his supporters in South Carolina to get out and vote a day before the first-in-the-south primary.

"We have a movement going on folks," Trump tells a crowd of more than 5,000 at his first rally of the day in Myrtle Beach. "And we can't blow the movement. We have to make sure we get a big mandate. We have to go out tomorrow. We have to go out and vote."

Trump went on to say that he's been doing so many events in the state he feels a bit like a machine.

"It was almost like I was on automatic," he said of his stops on Thursday. "Wind me up, go out and speak."


2:00 p.m.

Bernie Sanders says his campaign is "here to win" in Saturday's Nevada caucuses but he also wants to drive a large voter turnout in the nation's third Democratic presidential contest.

Sanders is starting his day with a rally in sparsely populated Elko, Nevada. He says "we are here to win. We hope to win." But he adds, "I want democracy to flourish."

Sanders asked supporters to "show the world that democracy is alive and well here in Nevada."

Elko County is heavily Republican and has fewer than 4,000 registered Democrats. But Sanders' event drew several hundred people, a sign of his strategy to boost turnout throughout the state to offset Hillary Clinton's strength around Las Vegas.


1:40 p.m.

Supporters introducing Donald Trump his first rally in South Carolina Friday are taking subtle shots at Pope Francis on Friday for his remarks suggesting Trump was not Christian for advocating a wall along the Southern border.

Pastor Mark Burns told an audience of more than 5,000 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina that the country needs a president who will build a wall.

He said: "We respect and honor the pope. But... the walls that are around the Vatican are pretty big walls."

The YouTube Diamond and Silk also referenced the pope's comments in their introduction.

The sister who goes by Diamond said, "Now some say that we should build a bridge. Well, I say we should build a wall around that bridge with a door open. To come in this country, you come in legally. Silent majority, let me hear you roar!"


12:40 p.m.

A 40-year-old Kansas man is behind a website that notes how long it has been since Hillary Clinton said she'd "look into" whether she can release transcripts of her paid speeches to big banks.

Jed McChesney says he was annoyed by the Democratic presidential contender's dismissive remarks on the subject and has become a supporter of Bernie Sanders.

On Thursday night, Sanders tweeted a link to McChesney's website, iwilllookintoit.com, to his 1.5 million followers. The ensuing traffic temporarily crashed the site.

The Sanders campaign did not contact him before the tweet. McChesney was surprised to see a reference to his site on an MSNBC program Friday morning.

McChesney says the Clinton-questioning website took him five minutes to put together and is the most successful thing he has ever done.


12:15 p.m.

The papal spokesman is stressing that Pope Francis often says build bridges, not walls, and that his remark while flying back from Mexico wasn't targeting U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Francis said Thursday that a person who advocates building walls for solutions is "not Christian." Trump, who has repeatedly called for a wall to divide the United States and Mexico, retorted it was "disgraceful" to question a person's faith.

The Rev. Federico Lombardi sought to clarify the issue Friday, telling Vatican Radio that Francis' comments were "in no way a personal attack nor an indication on how to vote."

Lombardi noted Francis often has advocated "building not walls, but bridges," especially regarding Europe, as it struggles to handle the arrival of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing war and poverty.


11:15 a.m.

Ted Cruz is channeling his inner Donald Trump as he looks for votes ahead of Saturday's South Carolina's presidential primary.

The Texas senator told several hundred supporters Friday in Myrtle Beach that in a Cruz administration, there would "be winning so much, we'll get tired of winning."

He didn't specifically name his rival, but the reference was clear as it's a phrase repeatedly used by the billionaire businessman.

Cruz also took a shot at Trump's campaign motto, featured on hats, T-shirts and bumper stickers. The senator said "it's easy to say, 'Let's Make America Great Again.'" But, he asked, "Do you understand what made America great in the first place?"


11:10 a.m.

John Kasich is promising South Carolina voters he'll "keep hanging in there" regardless of the results in the state's Saturday Republican primary.

Kasich's comments were in response to a voter at a Columbia town hall Friday who told Kasich not to drop out of the race after Saturday's contest. The voter pleaded with the candidate to "not quit on us; we need you more than you need us."

Kasich said he thinks he'll beat expectations Saturday, joking that they aren't that high anyway.

He said expectations say he'll be able to fit all of his votes "in a Volkswagon," adding, "clearly we're gonna do better than that we may be able to put them in a van."


11:00 a.m.

Jeb Bush is warmly embracing his legacy in South Carolina, where he is among three generations of his famous Republican family campaigning in the state.

Bush's 91-year-old mother, who attended college prep school in Charleston, is with her son, the second to run for president. Mrs. Bush, whose husband is also a former president, says of her second son: "He's steady, he's honest. He is modest. He is kind and he is good."

The former Florida governor's wife Columba and younger son Jeb Bush Jr. are also with him, as are his younger brothers, Neal and Marvin Bush.

While some voters feel reluctance toward a potential third Bush presidency, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a top Bush backer, says there is no such thing as dynasty in America.

"The only way you can become president is if your fellow citizens vote for you," he said.


10:55 a.m.

South Carolina's highest ranking Democrat is endorsing Hillary Clinton, smoothing over a rift from eight years ago.

U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn's endorsement came as a surprise since he has said he wouldn't back a candidate.

Clyburn has said that those regulations caused him some sleepless nights in 2008, when he'd hoped to support then-Sen. Barack Obama's historic run, but stayed neutral. Bill Clinton didn't think Clyburn was neutral enough and the congressman wrote in his biography that the former president called and swore at him at 2:15 a.m. one morning.

The two eventually patched their rift, leading Clyburn to historically black Allen University in Columbia on Friday to make his endorsement.

Clyburn was first voted to the U.S. House in 1992 and is the assistant Democratic leader.


10:15 a.m.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has landed himself in a tight spot in South Carolina when confronted with the politics of sports.

Rubio told a crowd of University of South Carolina sports fans Friday that he would be conflicted on Saturday, when the state's Gamecocks play the University of Florida Gators.

University of South Carolina men's basketball coach Frank Martin spoke at a Friday rally in Columbia, talking up his similarities with the presidential hopeful, including his Cuban heritage.

After a fan shouted, "Go Gamecocks!" Martin suggested that Rubio follow "your heart and the voters of South Carolina." Rubio has a total of five stops on his statewide fly-around South Carolina ahead of its GOP primary on Saturday.


10:10 a.m.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is jokingly proposing Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson for a top diplomatic post.

"Imagine just for a moment: Phil Robertson, ambassador to the United Nations," the Texas senator said at a Friday morning rally in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. "How much would you pay to see the Russian ambassador's face when Phil says: 'What is wrong with you people?"

Cruz is campaigning Friday with the bearded reality television star on the eve of the South Carolina Republican presidential primary. Robertson is a cult hero among social conservatives for his unvarnished critiques of modern, secular society.

Speaking ahead of Cruz, Robertson urged voters to "rise up as the sons and daughters of God" and put "a staunch, Bible-belieiving, Jesus-loving, Godly man" in the White House.


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