The Latest: Clinton says foreign leaders wary of Trump

AP News
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Posted: Mar 13, 2016 9:55 PM
The Latest: Clinton says foreign leaders wary of Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the 2016 presidential race two days before critical contests in Florida, Ohio, Missouri, North Carolina and Illinois (all times Eastern Daylight Time):

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9:50 p.m.

Hillary Clinton says she's received private messages from foreign leaders asking to endorse her candidacy in hopes of defeating Republican front-runner Donald Trump.

Clinton refused to name the dignitaries, though she says she told them that the election must be decided by Americans. But, she says, her experience as secretary of state will offer a powerful contrast with Trump, should they face off in the general election.

"I believe that I will have an opportunity to really focus in on how dangerous a Donald Trump presidency would be for our standing, for our safety and for the peace of the world," she says.

Clinton is speaking at a televised town hall hosted by CNN in Columbus, Ohio. She is campaigning in the state ahead of the Tuesday primary.

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9:48 p.m.

Hillary Clinton says she supports a "very limited use" of the death penalty in cases where there are "horrific mass killings."

During a CNN town hall Sunday night, Clinton was asked about her stance on the death penalty by a man who was exonerated after spending 39 years in prison for murder.

Clinton said the states have "proven themselves incapable of carrying out fair trials that give any defendant all the rights that defendant should have." She added that she would "breathe a sigh of relief if either the Supreme Court or the states themselves began to eliminate the death penalty."

But Clinton added that she thinks the death penalty should still be kept "in reserve" for limited cases in the federal judicial system, citing the Oklahoma City bombing and the 9/11 attacks as examples.

"But what happened to you was a travesty," Clinton said. "I know that all of us are so regretful that you or any person has to go through what you did."

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9:45 p.m.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump ended a relatively quiet day of campaigning with a boisterous, but peaceful rally that drew thousands in Boca Raton, Florida.

Trump was speaking at an outdoor amphitheater on a balmy night, with palm trees flanking the American flag-draped stage.

While his supporters cheered and shouted throughout his speech, he was interrupted only once by demonstrators — a rarity in recent weeks. A contingent of protesters demonstrated off the property.

At one point, more than 20 minutes into his speech, Trump appeared in search of some commotion. "Do we have a protester, anywhere? Do we have a disruptor? .... Is there a disruptor in the house?"

Trump said he hoped an interruption would prompt cameras to show his crowd.

The candidate will be making stops in Hickory, North Carolina, Tampa, Florida and Youngstown, Ohio on Monday — the day before the home states of rivals John Kasich and Marco Rubio head to the polls.

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9:30 p.m.

Mitt Romney will campaign with Ohio Gov. John Kasich at two events on Monday.

Kasich's campaign says the former Republican presidential nominee will join Kasich at stops in North Canton and Westerville, Ohio.

Romney is not endorsing a candidate but has encouraged voters to choose Kasich in Ohio and Marco Rubio in Florida in an effort to stop Donald Trump.

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8:55 p.m.

Ted Cruz has fighting words for his supporters in Ohio, despite trailing in recent polls.

He told about 300 people at a Columbus theater, "I'm thrilled to be here with so many patriots fighting for freedom."

The Texas senator is polling behind Ohio Gov. John Kasich and billionaire Donald Trump. Ohio's 66 delegates are the second-biggest prize among Tuesday's winner-take-all states, behind Florida.

But Cruz is second in the delegate count to Trump.

He says he will "fight to nominate principled constitutionalists" to the U.S. Supreme Court, and he asked the crowd to "stand and fight" with him.

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8:40 p.m.

GOP presidential hopeful Marco Rubio says he must win his home state of Florida in Tuesday's primary to keep the conservative movement from getting "hijacked" by front-runner Donald Trump.

Rubio spoke briefly Sunday night at his Orlando campaign office. It was crowded with staffers, volunteers and supporters.

Using a bullhorn, Rubio said, "We must send a message to the country that we are not going to allow the conservative movement and the Republican Party to get hijacked by someone who is neither a Republican nor a conservative."

He invoked the memory of the late President Ronald Regan, saying he acknowledged the country's fears and frustration in 1980 but "didn't exploit them."

Rubio is trailing Trump in Florida polling.

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8:45 p.m.

Hillary Clinton says Donald Trump is encouraging violence and chaos to win over voters.

Clinton says, "At our best, Americans have rejected demagogues and fear-mongers."

Trump wants to round up and deport Latino immigrants, ban Muslims from the United States and also kill the families of suspected terrorists, which Clinton says is a war crime.

She adds that he also encourages his supporters to punch protesters that attend his campaign events.

"We can criticize and protest Mr. Trump all we want, but none of that matters if we don't show up at the polls," she says. "If you want to shut him down, let's vote him down."

Clinton and her rival Bernie Sanders are speaking at a fundraiser for the Ohio Democratic party.

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8:35 p.m.

Bernie Sanders is calling on Donald Trump to "tell his supporters that violence in the political process in America is not acceptable."

During a televised town hall Sunday on CNN, the Vermont senator was asked about the Republican front-runner's statements that the Sanders campaign sent protesters to disrupted Trump's rally in Chicago.

Sanders called Trump a "pathological liar" and said his campaign has never encouraged "anybody to disrupt anything." He added he hopes "Mr. Trump tones it down big-time and tells his supporters violence is not acceptable in the political process."

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8:10 p.m.

Ohio Democrats are getting to compare the party's top presidential contenders up close ahead of Tuesday's primary.

About 3,200 people are gathered for the party's annual dinner at the Columbus convention center to hear from Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

Clinton has been campaigning hard in the state, after losing the Michigan primary to Sanders among a similar electorate. Sanders added rallies in Youngstown and Akron on Monday.

High-profile guests at the dinner include the Rev. Jesse Jackson and talk show host Jerry Springer, whose early career included a political stint in Cincinnati.

Party chair David Pepper said at the dinner they have engaged in a civil, policy-focused debate, in contrast to the Republicans' contentious contest.

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7 p.m.

John Kasich says he asked his aides to give him a list of Donald Trump's quotes promoting violence at rallies after clashes between protesters and supporters led to the cancellation of a Trump rally on Friday night.

The Ohio GOP governor has largely declined to criticize Trump until now.

Speaking with The Associated Press aboard his campaign bus between stops in Ohio, Kasich pulled out his iPad and read off a list of Trump quotes compiled by his press secretary.

The quotes included Trump's comments that his audiences should "hit back" a little more and a statement that he'd like to punch a protester in the face.

Kasich says the "toxic" tone Trump has created makes it even more important for him to win Tuesday's primary in Ohio, adding, "this is not what Ohio goes for."

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6:05 p.m.

Minutes after Marco Rubio began speaking at a Central Florida rally, a man rose to accuse Rubio of stealing his girlfriend.

The man repeatedly claimed that Rubio "stole" his girlfriend in New Hampshire, and the crowd seemed stunned.

Rubio laughed off the bizarre claim, noting that he didn't fare well in the New Hampshire primary.

Police escorted the man out of the rally without incident. He was not identified.

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6 p.m.

Sen. Ted Cruz says if each of his supporters can find nine friends to vote for him in North Carolina's presidential primary on Tuesday, he can overcome Republican front-runner Donald Trump.

Cruz told journalists after a rally in North Carolina that voters will be upset if the GOP nominee is the result of a brokered deal at the convention. The Texas senator says he thinks it will be a two-man race after Tuesday.

Cruz spoke to about 2,000 people at the zMax Dragway adjacent to Charlotte Motor Speedway in an event sponsored by a political action committee.

He hit on familiar themes such as abolishing the Affordable Care Act and dismantling the Internal Revenue Service.

Cruz was introduced by former Republican presidential contender Carly Fiorina.

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5:35 p.m.

Republican Marco Rubio says America is turning into "a nation where people hate each other," a reference to violence at GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump's rallies.

Rubio, speaking in Florida, says conservatism is not about "how angry can you get, how offensive can you be, how loud can you speak."

The Florida senator says televised images of violence at Trump campaign rallies "make us look like a third-world country."

He says the protesters and Trump alike share blame. "You have a leading contender for president telling people in his audience, 'Go ahead and punch someone in the face; I'll pay your legal bills.'"

"That's wrong if our kids did it; that is disastrous if a president does it," Rubio said.

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5:15 p.m.

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump blames Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders for increasingly frequent disruptions at the GOP hopeful's massive campaign rallies, and he says he has the answer: Send his supporters to Sanders' rallies.

Sanders on Sunday offered a reply: Bring 'em on.

Trump took to Twitter on Sunday, writing that the Vermont senator is "lying when he says his disruptors aren't told to go to my rallies. Be careful Bernie, or my supporters will go to yours!"

The answer followed from Sanders' official Twitter account: "Send them. They deserve to see what a real honest politician sounds like."

Both Sanders and Trump have roused their supporters by railing against international trade agreements and decades of wage stagnation. But Sanders, along with Trump's Republican rivals, have noted that Trump adds caustic rhetoric about immigration, drawing protesters who end up clashing with his supporters.

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4:21 p.m.

Bernie Sanders is releasing a new policy plan to combat HIV/AIDS , pledging "virtually universal access" to drugs treating the disease.

He is also pledging to create a $3 billion a year prize fund to incentivize drug development and increase federal funding to double the number of people on HIV treatment worldwide by 2020.

The disease is "one of the great moral issues of our day," says Sanders, in a statement. America must act to do "end the greed of the pharmaceutical companies."

Sanders plan comes a day after rival Hillary Clinton apologized for remarks crediting Nancy Reagan with taking early action to stop the spread of the disease. Those comments outraged activists who said the Reagan administration lagged in taking action as the illness ravaged the gay community.

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4:04 p.m.

Donald Trump is dodging a veteran's question when asked to clarify comments he made critiquing Arizona Sen. John McCain.

During a town hall-style meeting in Cincinnati, Keith Maupin is asking Trump to clarify the comment. Maupin's son was captured and killed in Iraq while serving in the U.S. military.

Maupin says "you made a comment to McCain that captured soldiers are not heroes."

He goes on, "I want you to clarify because I think it's important."

But Trump immediately says, "Oh, no, no, no. I was -- I never did that. You know that."

Trump said in July while campaigning in Iowa that he dismissed the notion that McCain, the 2008 Republican nominee for president, was a hero "because he was captured."

Trump said, "I like people who weren't captured."

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3:50 p.m.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was among the Republican Party's biggest stars when he burst onto the national stage in the tea party wave of 2010.

Now, he's three days away from a home-state showing that could devastate his 2016 presidential campaign and damage his political brand for years to come.

Rubio is the underdog to Donald Trump in Florida's primary election Tuesday.

Should his presidential bid end in disappointment, many who know him expect a political comeback, though those closest to Rubio believe he could turn to the private sector to help provide for his family.

He also would need to decide whether to return to Capitol Hill. It's not too late for Rubio to run for another Senate run, though that is unlikely.

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2:11 p.m.

John Kasich is laughing off an Ohio voter's suggestion that he should pre-emptively offer Marco Rubio the vice presidency after Tuesday's primaries in Ohio and Florida.

A voter at a town hall in Strongsville, Ohio, says if Rubio loses his home state on Tuesday, Kasich should team up with him to form a ticket.

In response, Kasich asked the man, "where do you come up with this stuff?" He says he'll win Ohio on Tuesday, but that choosing a vice president now would be like "measuring the drapes."

"I just think he would be a good vice president," the man said back.

Wins for Kasich and Rubio in their home states would make it harder for Trump to earn enough delegates to become the GOP nominee outright.

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1:56 p.m.

Hundreds of people forming a line more than a quarter-mile are being told to return to their cars and will not be able to attend Donald Trump's campaign event in suburban Cincinnati Sunday.

The line to the Savannah Center convention hall winds through a corporate development park. It includes people of all ages, families with small children, all covered with caps, rain smocks and umbrellas.

Inside the hall, more than 500 are waiting for Trump to begin a town hall-style meeting event, where he's expected to take questions from members of the audience.

Outside the hall, dozens of protesters are chanting, carrying signs such as one saying "Build bridges, not walls," referring to Trump's pledge to build a wall along the entire length of the U.S.-Mexican border.

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1:41 p.m.

Trump supporter Bill Schultz, 54, says he attended the candidates' Sunday morning rally in part to counter the increased visibility of protesters who succeeded in shutting down a Trump rally in Chicago on Friday night.

The Champaign, Illinois, resident suggested that the melee "just made Trump a lot stronger."

He was attending Trump's rally in Bloomington Sunday, the first Trump event in the state since the Chicago incident. In contrast, the Bloomington event was a much calmer affair, though protesters interrupted Trump four times.

Bloomington, Illinois, Police Department Sgt. Henry Craft says no arrests were made at the event Sunday.

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1:38 p.m.

Early voting in Florida's primary comes to an end Sunday, with more than 1.9 million voters having already made their presidential choice.

Republican voters far outnumber Democratic ones, according to the latest figures released Sunday by the state Division of Elections.

Republicans account for more than 1.1 million early voters, while about 819,000 Democrats have cast ballots.

Early voters are projected to account for at least half the total number expected to vote in Tuesday's primary.

Florida's closed primary is open only to those registered to one of the major parties.

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This story has been corrected to change the spelling of Keith Maupin's name.