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Feb 12, 2016 9:35 PM

The Latest: Cruz ad puts Clinton in 'Office Space'

The Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) The Latest on the 2016 presidential campaign (all times local):

9:25 p.m.

Republican candidate Ted Cruz is out with a new ad mocking Democrat Hillary Clinton for using a private email server when she was secretary of state.

The spot spoofs a scene from the movie "Office Space" in which annoyed employees take a bat to a malfunctioning printer. In the Cruz version, a faux Clinton participates in the destruction of a server.

The Cruz ad has yet to be broadcast on television, but it has been viewed more than 1 million times online since his campaign released it early Friday.


9:10 p.m.

Donald Trump is regaling Florida voters with insults directed at their former governor, Jeb Bush, whom he calls "a total stiff" and "a gutless guy" who is "asleep at the wheel."

Trump spoke for about an hour at the Sun Dome on the University of Southern Florida campus Friday evening. He riffed on everything from China to his golf course near Miami to his plans to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexican border.

He also denounced rival Ted Cruz for running an ad in South Carolina that criticized Trump's use of eminent domain in past business deals.

But he saved most of his ire for Bush.

Trump asked: "Can you imagine Jeb negotiating with China?"

He said of Bush: "In his own way he's a vicious guy, 'cause he's a gutless guy."


8:45 p.m.

Bernie Sanders is stressing his commitment to investing in poor communities, but won't directly answer questions about reparations for African-Americans.

A question-and-answer session in Minneapolis Friday generated some tense moments as attendees pushed Sanders for more specifics on his policies.

One woman asked Sanders to "talk specifically about black people and reparations."

Sanders says, "It's not just black, it is Latino. There are areas of America, in poor rural areas, where it's white." He says "the time is long overdue" to invest in poor communities.

A man then pushed Sanders to say the word "black" and Sanders responded: "I've said 'black' 50 times. That's the 51st."

Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of an influential Atlantic Magazine essay entitled "The Case for Reparations," has said he will vote for Sanders.


6:40 p.m.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed says Bernie Sanders has shown "dismissive and disrespectful behavior" toward President Barack Obama and his handling of the economy.

Reed is a top supporter of Hillary Clinton in Georgia and was among several black Democrats to criticize Sanders following Thursday's presidential debate in Milwaukee.

The Atlanta mayor is also questioning Sanders' loyalties. He says in an interview with The Associated Press that Sanders "was never a Democrat. He is only a Democrat for convenience."

Sanders is the nation's longest-serving independent in Congress and is running as a Democrat in the presidential campaign.


6:15 p.m.

Marco Rubio has netted an endorsement from one of South Carolina's longest serving mayors.

Greenville Mayor Knox White said Friday he feels the Florida senator is the only GOP contender who can win the general election.

White has been mayor of the conservative city in northern South Carolina since 1995. He told a crowd of several hundred packed into a downtown airplane hangar that he visits Miami frequently and appreciates the diverse background from which Rubio comes.


6:07 p.m.

Several African-American community organizers from Columbia, South Carolina, say they're backing John Kasich's bid for the GOP nomination, and encouraging black voters in their communities to do the same.

Gerald Hameed runs an umbrella organization for a number of black community groups in the South Carolina capital.

He says Kasich is "the only candidate that's actually speaking to all the people. He speaks to the middle class, upper class, the lower class, the poor. He understands the needs of the people."

Hameed says he doesn't like Donald Trump's rhetoric toward minorities and didn't appreciate Hillary Clinton's comments about being "dead broke" when she and Bill Clinton left the White House.

Kasich's official campaign has a minimal organization in South Carolina after focusing much of its energy on New Hampshire.

But the super PAC backing Kasich has been conducting community outreach in each of the state's congressional districts for months.


5:40 p.m.

Hillary Clinton says she believes Donald Trump makes offensive statements just to get votes.

A boy attending Clinton's town hall rally in an elementary school gym in rural Denmark, South Carolina, asked her what it's like to meet Trump in person.

Clinton says Trump is "a big personality."

She says she was around Trump while she was a senator from New York. But she says she "never heard the kind of things he's saying now coming out of his mouth."

Clinton says: "I never heard the kind of demagoguery and derogatory comments. I can only conclude he thinks this is what gets him votes. He says these things that are really hurtful to a lot of people and scary to a lot of people."

Clinton says Trump is inflaming bigotry, and his comments are not only offensive but dangerous. She says Trump's statements divide Americans when they need to find common ground.


5:30 p.m.

Ted Cruz is making a splash on television in South Carolina, with a series of cutting new ads that ridicule his opponents including Donald Trump.

One spot is set in a children's playroom. "Look, I've got the Trump action figure!" a boy says. "What does he do?" another chirps. "He pretends to be a Republican!"

The 30-second commercial ends with the boy bashing a dollhouse with the Donald Trump figure and screaming "eminent domain" as horrified parents peek into the room.

Trump responded to that and other ads on Twitter, writing that if Cruz "doesn't clean up his act, stop cheating & doing negative ads," he would sue over Cruz's standing to run for president.

Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother, which Trump has suggested may mean he's not a "natural born citizen" as required by the Constitution. Most legal scholars disagree.

Overall, Cruz's South Carolina ad buy amounts to about $2.2 million, according to advertising tracker Kantar Media's CMAG.


5:03 p.m.

Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore says he is dropping out of the race for the White House.

The Republican says in a statement he plans to support his party's nominee and will continue to speak out about what he called the dangers of electing Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, the two candidates for the Democratic nomination.

Gilmore announced his candidacy in July, saying his record as a national security expert and a fiscal conservative would set him apart in a crowded Republican field.

But his campaign failed to win any support, and Gilmore qualified for only two so-called undercard debates.

The former Army intelligence officer briefly ran for the GOP presidential nomination in 2007 and lost a U.S. Senate bid in 2008 to another former Virginia governor, Mark Warner.


3:55 p.m.

Marco Rubio says he doesn't support a military draft for women and is against "forcing them to be combat soldiers" reversing his previous position.

The Florida senator suggested during last week's Republican presidential debate that he believed selective service should be open to men and women, and women should have the right to participate in combat service.

But when addressing a faith forum at conservative Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina, on Friday, Rubio said, "I don't support drafting women and forcing them to be combat soldiers."

He also said he thought the selective service was obsolete, anyway, since he didn't believe there ever would be a need for a military draft again in the United States.

Some of the loudest applause for Rubio came when he declared that the country needs "to get back to the fundamental truth: Our faith is important."


3:00 p.m.

Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign is enlisting the help of black Democrats to undermine Bernie Sanders' push to claim a piece of President Barack Obama's legacy.

Clinton sought solidarity with Obama at every turn during Thursday's debate in Milwaukee, referring to herself as a "staunch supporter" of his health care law and praising him as a role model on race relations.

On Friday, Clinton's African-American allies in Congress were seizing upon the Vermont senator's comments during the debate that race relations would "absolutely" be better under a future Sanders administration.

New York Congressman Hakeem Jeffries says in an interview with CNN that it seemed a "bit presumptuous" to conclude that Sanders was going to be "the great healer in race relations."


2:00 p.m.

Jeb Bush says the president should be a role model in many ways, including in terms of faith.

Bush told several hundred attendees at a faith forum at conservative Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C. on Friday that he was brought to tears watching relatives of the Charleston church shooting forgive the accused gunman during his televised arraignment last summer.

The former Florida governor had flown into Charleston the night of the June 17 shootings for a campaign stop but rescheduled his events after the tragedy. Bush says President Barack Obama has many talents but that being a leader of faith isn't one of them.

He says too often public officials shy away from publicly discussing their own religion and says that's not what America should be about, calling the ability to discuss differences and beliefs "the whole point of the American experience."


1:45 p.m.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is receiving the support of the Black Lives Matter movement in his home state.

Dozens of activists gathered at the Vermont Statehouse Friday to call for a racial justice agenda in the state, including more hiring of African-American teachers and school administrators and more accountability for state agency hiring practices.

The event came a day after congressman and long-time civil rights leader John Lewis endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, and said he doesn't recall meeting Sanders during key events of the 1960s civil rights era.

Participants including Rajnii ('RAZH-knee') Eddins expressed deep respect for Lewis, but said they're less concerned about what people were doing in the 1960s than what they are doing and saying now.

Some credited Sanders with representing Vermont's open style of government.


1:10 p.m.

CBS says that all of the remaining major Republican candidates for president will be on stage for the next GOP debate.

The debate starts at 9 p.m. EST on Saturday in Greenville, South Carolina, the next state on the primary calendar for the GOP.

Participating in the debate: Donald Trump, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Dr. Ben Carson and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.


12:50 p.m.

Republican presidential hopeful John Kasich believes that building a political legacy should be based on implementing change, not "stopping stuff."

Speaking in Columbia, he says, "If your legacy is of negative, "I stopped stuff," what is that?"

Kasich's comments weren't in reference to any of his rivals. But Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has become known for fighting against many things in Congress, chief among them the president's health care overhaul law.

Kasich's comments came while speaking to at a chamber of commerce event. He's urging the crowd to "help him out," in south Carolina, where he's not spent time building a campaign infrastructure.


12:30 p.m.

Hillary Clinton's campaign is reserving commercial time in 17 states beyond the next two to vote in the Democratic presidential primary, Nevada and South Carolina.

Among the states where Clinton will show ads: Texas, Minnesota and Georgia, where voters weigh in on March 1.

The new ad buy, captured by advertising tracker Kantar Media's CMAG, boosts Clinton's total paid media costs to $27.7 million. That's still just shy of her rival Bernie Sanders, whose $28.4 million ad buy is concentrated in six states beyond Nevada and South Carolina.

The total figures reflect spending that has occurred and is planned on broadcast, cable and satellite television, as well as some radio.


10:30 a.m.

Former South Carolina first lady Iris Campbell is endorsing Republican Jeb Bush for president, further cementing a long-standing relationship between the two families.

The campaign announced Friday that the wife of late South Carolina Gov. Carroll Campbell would be backing Bush, as she and her husband did for his father and brother.

The late governor, a conservative icon in South Carolina, helped elect both former Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush to the presidency, serving as campaign co-chairman for each when they sought the White House.

Campbell also headed up Washington, D.C.-based efforts to elect Jeb Bush as Florida governor in 1998. Carroll Campbell died in 2005 after battling Alzheimer's.


10:00 a.m.

One of Chris Christie's most high-profile fundraisers is throwing his money behind Ohio's John Kasich.

Kasich campaign chief John Weaver says Ken Langone, the billionaire co-founder of Home Depot is now backing the Kasich campaign.

Langone spokeswoman Pam Goldman confirmed the decision.

Christie dropped his bid Wednesday following a disappointing sixth place finish in New Hampshire, the state in which he'd staked his candidacy. Langone did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but told The Associated Press Wednesday that Donald Trump's commanding New Hampshire win was a sign that voters are sick of the status quo.


9:45 a.m.

John Kasich's campaign is taking to the airwaves in South Carolina with two television ads displaying different sides of the Ohio governor.

In a more biographical spot, Kasich looks into the camera and talks about how his parents were killed by drunk drivers. He says the experience "transformed" him and helped him find his faith and a purpose in life. Kasich's parents were killed in 1987, when Kasich was serving in Congress.

The second ad features a narrator with a Southern accent talking about Kasich's first 100 days in office, during which he's pledged to secure the border, cut taxes and freeze regulations.


9:20 a.m.

Jeb Bush is drawing larger than expected crowds in South Carolina.

The former Florida governor's campaign says that events Friday and Saturday are being moved to larger venues due to increased demand.

A Thursday event in Sumter was also relocated because more people than the campaign had expected requested free tickets to attend. Bush is continuing to stress is executive experience credentials during this week's campaign swing ahead of South Carolina's Feb. 20 GOP primary.

On Monday, his brother, former President George W. Bush, is expected to accompany Bush to a campaign event in North Charleston.


8:45 a.m.

Jeb Bush is defending his decision to bring his brother, former President George W. Bush, to South Carolina to help him campaign.

Bush told ABC's Good Morning America on Friday that greeting voters with the elder Bush wasn't a sign of desperation, as Donald Trump suggested at one point. George W. Bush left the White House in January 2009 with low approval ratings.

The GOP candidate said his brother remains popular in South Carolina because of his administration's unwavering support of the military. Jeb Bush declared, "this is the beginning of the campaign" and "for my brother to speak on behalf of the skills I have to lead this country will be quite helpful."


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