The Latest: Fox says Trump can't dictate debate moderators

AP News
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Posted: Jan 26, 2016 11:08 PM
The Latest: Fox says Trump can't dictate debate moderators

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Here are the latest developments from the 2016 race for president, one week out from the Iowa caucuses. All times local.

10 p.m.

Fox News Channel says Donald Trump is still welcome to participate in Thursday's Republican presidential debate, but will not be allowed to "dictate the moderators or the questions."

Trump announced Tuesday that he will boycott the debate amid an ongoing dispute with moderator Megyn Kelly and the network.

A Fox News spokesperson says Trump's withdrawal is "near unprecedented," adding that giving into Trump's demand that Kelly be replaced "violates all journalistic standards."

Fox News is also accusing Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski of making threats against Kelly, saying the network "can't give in" to such intimidation.

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9:45 p.m.

Just hours after again roiling the Republican race for president by announcing that he won't participate in the next debate, Donald Trump held a business-as-usual campaign event at the University of Iowa.

Other than repeated interruptions from protesters who announced their presence with loud whistle blows, Trump did not veer from his usual talking points denouncing the nation's trade deals and President Barack Obama's leadership during his 35-minute speech.

He did not mention the upcoming Fox News debate.

Trump's campaign manager said earlier Tuesday evening that Trump is planning to boycott the final debate before Monday's Iowa caucuses because Trump believes Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly has been "toying" with him.

Trump did refer to "wonderful, wonderful" Fox News at one point during the university rally, but only when introducing a positive poll.

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9:30 p.m.

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush says he's the only candidate with a western land policy that respects the aspirations of people in the West.

The former Florida governor made his comments at a Tuesday campaign rally at a museum in rural Elko, Nevada. He got applause from the crowd for recommending the U.S. Department of the Interior move its headquarters from Washington, D.C. to the West because the agency's work is concentrated in the region.

Bush made his appeal a month before Nevada Republicans head to caucuses. He urged them to support him and ignore pundits who say his presidential prospects are bleak.

Bush said other Republican candidates are better talkers than him, but argued he was the contender with a plan and a good heart.

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9:20 p.m.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins says he's personally endorsing Sen. Ted Cruz for president.

The leader of the conservative advocacy group announced his support for Cruz on the Fox News show "The Kelly File" Tuesday night.

Perkins says he supported Cruz when he ran for the Senate and says he's confident the Texan governs "based on conservative principles."

Cruz is in a tight race with Donald Trump to win the GOP vote in the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses in Iowa on Monday.

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8:15 p.m.

Fox News anchor and debate moderator Megyn Kelly says Donald Trump is used to getting his way but can't control the media.

Kelly responded Tuesday evening on her Fox News show, "The Kelly File," to Trump's announcement that he will boycott Thursday night's Republican debate hosted by Fox News amid an ongoing dispute with Kelly and the network.

Kelly said her network and chief executive Roger Ailes had made it clear to Trump for months that they wouldn't change their moderator line-up to suit his preferences.

Kelly says she'll be at the debate, which will "go on with or without Mr. Trump."

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7:50 p.m.

Sen. Ted Cruz is challenging Donald Trump to a one-on-one debate, saying he and the billionaire can go at it "mano a mano" if they can't agree on a moderator.

Trump's campaign announced Tuesday that he's skipping the last scheduled debate with leading Republican candidates before the Iowa caucuses. Trump has criticized host Fox News and scheduled moderate Megyn Kelly in particular for what he calls "playing games."

At a campaign stop Tuesday in Fairfield, Iowa, Cruz accused Trump of being afraid of mean questions from Kelly and said skipping the debate was tantamount to refusing to be interviewed for a job.

Riffing off Trump's famous rejoinder from "The Apprentice," Cruz said that if someone didn't show up for an interview Trump would say, "You're fired."

Cruz and Trump are running a tight race heading into Monday's Iowa's caucuses. Cruz says Trump owes it to Iowa voters to debate.

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7:20 p.m.

Marco Rubio says it will be hard for candidates who have made Iowa or New Hampshire their top priority to stay in the race if they fail to meet expectations when those states vote.

In an interview with The Associated Press, the senator from Florida focused specifically on those who "go around saying you've got the strongest grass roots operations" in Iowa. While he didn't point to any of his rivals by name, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has been touting his organizational prowess in Iowa.

Rubio's campaign has tried to pre-emptively diffuse suggestions his campaign is doomed if he doesn't win Iowa or New Hampshire by saying he's running a national campaign that's not dependent on a particular result in the first two states.

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6:55 p.m.

Donald Trump may be boycotting the last Republican debate before next week's Iowa caucuses, but Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is set to return to the main stage.

Paul qualified for the first five prime-time debates, but was bumped from the sixth earlier this month.

Fox News announced Paul will be back in the lineup Thursday, with Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Front-running Trump was set to be the eighth main-stage participant before his campaign said he would not take part over a dispute with Fox News.

Candidates were required to be among the top-ranked in an average of recent polls to qualify for the main lineup.

The network also says it's inviting former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore back to the undercard debate, his first since the first GOP debate in August. Others who qualified for the early debate are former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Sen. Rick Santorum.

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6:45 p.m.

President Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders are slated to have their first extended meeting since the Vermont senator's presidential bid upended the Democratic race to replace Obama.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says the two will meet Wednesday in the Oval Office. Earnest says the meeting will be informal, with no set agenda.

Sanders has met with Obama at the White House on several occasions over the years, but the men aren't close. Sanders' main rival, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has dropped by the White House for meetings with the president several times since leaving the administration.

Earnest says the men first discussed the meeting at a holiday reception at the White House in late December.

Sanders' visit comes as Obama has opened up about his thoughts on the race. In an interview with Politico published Monday, Obama showered praised on Clinton but was less effusive in discussing Sanders. He suggested the Vermont senator was a one-issue candidate and dismissed any comparisons to his own campaign against Clinton eight years ago.

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6:30 p.m.

The head of the Democratic National Committee says the party has "no plans" to sanction additional debates before the Feb. 9 New Hampshire primary.

That's despite an announcement from the state's largest newspaper and MSNBC that they'll team up to host a debate next week.

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz issued a statement Tuesday after the Union Leader newspaper and television network announced plans for a Feb. 4 debate in response to "overwhelming" calls from New Hampshire residents.

So far only candidate Martin O'Malley has committed to participating. Hillary Clinton's campaign says she'd participate if the other candidates agree, which it said would allow the party to sanction the debate.

But Bernie Sanders' campaign called for working with the party after the New Hampshire primary to schedule more debates.

The party has so far sanctioned six primary debates and previously threatened to punish any candidates for participating in non-sanctioned debates.

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6:20 p.m.

Donald Trump's campaign manager says Trump is skipping the next Republican debate.

The Republican candidates are set to square off in the Fox News debate Thursday night, their last debate before Monday's Iowa caucuses.

Trump previously had said he may not show up. But campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said during a Tuesday evening news conference in Marshalltown, Iowa, that the GOP front-runner "will not be participating in the Fox News debate Thursday."

Trump has criticized Fox News for "playing games" and for including anchor Megyn Kelly as a debate moderator. He says Kelly is a third-rate reporter who is bad at her job and shouldn't be allowed to participate.

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5:40 p.m.

Donald Trump says he probably will not participate in the next Republican presidential debate.

The Republican candidates are set to square off in the Fox News debate Thursday night, their last debate before Monday's Iowa caucuses.

But Trump told a Tuesday news conference he most likely won't show up.

Trump is criticizing Fox News for "playing games" and for including anchor Megyn Kelly as a debate moderator. He says Kelly is a third-rate reporter who is bad at her job and shouldn't be allowed to participate.

Trump says Fox will make a fortune off the debate and that he asked the network to donate to wounded veterans groups.

Instead of the debate, Trump says he will probably hold his own event in Iowa for wounded veterans.

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5:35 p.m.

New Hampshire's largest newspaper is teaming up with MSNBC to host a final Democratic debate in the state before the Feb. 9 primary. But the two major candidates — Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton — have yet to say whether they'll participate.

The Democratic National Committee has not commented on the proposed debate, to be held in New Hampshire on Feb. 4. The party sanctioned six primary debates and previously threatened to punish any candidates for participating in non-sanctioned debates.

So far only Martin O'Malley says he'll participate.

Union Leader Editor Trent Spiner says the debate comes in response to "overwhelming" calls from New Hampshire residents for another opportunity to evaluate the candidates side by side.

More than 100 prominent New Hampshire Democrats formed a group last year to push for more debates in the state. The only New Hampshire debate was held before Christmas.

Spiner says MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and Chuck Todd will moderate the debate alongside a local reporter.

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5:05 p.m.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz says he won't attack Republican rival Donald Trump. But Cruz's surrogates aren't making the same pledge.

Christian conservative activist Bob Vander Plaats exchanged a series of testy messages with Trump over Twitter on Tuesday. And at a Cruz rally in Ottumwa, Iowa, Vander Plaats bashed Trump for describing his supporters as so loyal that he could "shoot somebody" and not lose support, and for saying in a previous interview that he had never sought forgiveness from God.

Cruz backer and Iowa congressman Steve King is meanwhile telling voters that the race in his state has come down to either Cruz or Trump.

King told voters gathered at a historic church in Bloomfield, Iowa, that they don't know what Trump's "core beliefs are" and they "don't know what he'll do tomorrow."

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4:20 p.m.

An Arizona sheriff known far beyond his home state for his efforts to crack down on illegal immigration has joined Donald Trump on the campaign trail in Iowa.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio appeared with the Republican candidate at a Tuesday rally as Trump's campaign touted the sheriff's support.

Trump's immigration policy proposals include building a wall across the entirety of the U.S.-Mexico border and deporting everyone who lives in the U.S. illegally.

Arpaio has joined legal efforts to fight President Barack Obama's plan to spare millions of people from deportation, though the U.S. Supreme court last week refused to hear his appeal of a lower court ruling that said the sheriff has no legal basis to challenge the program.

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3:25 p.m.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio says the 2016 election is "not just about beating up on other Republicans," but ultimately about bringing the party together.

Rubio is honing a largely positive closing message with Iowa Republican caucus voters during a robust day of campaigning six days before the leadoff 2016 contest.

He says he understands and shares their frustration, but insists "being angry is not a plan."

The reference is a veiled shot at billionaire Donald Trump, though his indirect critique of fellow U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is sharper, and goes to the heart of Rubio's call for a stronger military.

Without naming him, Rubio notes fellow senators who voted only for budget bills that cut military spending.

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2:45 p.m.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says the prospect of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg considering an independent presidential campaign "speaks volumes about the state of American politics" and notes that if a race included Bloomberg, Republican Donald Trump and himself, "two of the three candidates would be multi-billionaires."

Sanders said in an interview with The Associated Press Tuesday that the notion that he must win Iowa's caucuses against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton is "mythology" and appeared to lower expectations about the race.

He dismissed the notion that President Barack Obama might be tipping the scales in favor of Clinton, saying the president was "very generous to me." He says both Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are trying to be "objective and letting the people decide."

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2:15 p.m.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz continues to resist launching personal attacks against Republican rival Donald Trump, even after the billionaire called Cruz a liar.

Cruz, who is Trump's leading rival in next week's Iowa caucuses, and was asked during a Tuesday appearance in Albia, Iowa, about another senator's criticism of Trump's personal life. But he did not engage, saying that he'll focus instead on his differences with the GOP front-runner on policies and their record.

When asked in what state Cruz thinks he can beat Trump, Cruz said he's running a national campaign and no state is a must win.

Cruz will finish visiting all 99 of Iowa's counties Monday, the day of the caucuses. He says more than 1,500 precinct captains and 12,000 volunteers statewide are a "grass roots army" that will lead him to victory.