After Nevada caucus results show decisive Trump victory, everyone looks to Super Tuesday

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Donald Trump strengthened his stance atop the Republican field with a win in the Nevada caucuses.

Looking on the bright side

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Cruz declares he is the only candidate who can beat Trump

Sen. Ted Cruz, speaking as the results of the Nevada caucuses were being tallied, argued Tuesday evening that he was the only Republican left in the race who could beat Donald Trump.

“They’re still counting the ballots so we don’t know the exact results, but I want to congratulate Donald Trump on a strong evening tonight and I want to congratulate the grass roots – the conservatives across this country who have come together behind this campaign,” Cruz told supporters at a YMCA in Las Vegas.

Cruz, who was battling with Sen. Marco Rubio for a second-place finish, argued that he had history on his side since he won the Iowa caucuses, the first of the GOP presidential nominating contests.

“When we started this campaign nearly a year ago, there were 17 candidates in the race. The role of the first four primaries historically has been to narrow the field and we have seen the first four states do exactly that – narrow the field,” Cruz said. “Now at this point we’ve had four primaries, history teaches us no one has ever won the nomination without winning one of the first three primaries. And there are only two people who have won one of the first three primaries – Donald Trump and us.”

“The first four states has shown the only campaign that has beaten Donald Trump and the only campaign that can beat Donald Trump is this campaign,” he said, urging conservatives and those who want to beat Hillary Clinton to consolidate behind him.

He never mentioned Rubio by name, but he slashed at him as a Washington insider and over his positions on issues such as immigration. And he set sky-high expectations for Super Tuesday, one week from today, when 11 states including his home state of Texas will go to the polls.

“One week from today will be the most important night of this campaign,” Cruz said at the rally, his last event before flying to Houston to start a day of campaigning there Wednesday.

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Trump declares victory

Donald Trump, flanked by his sons at a Las Vegas casino Tuesday evening, exuberantly declared victory in Nevada less than an hour after the caucuses closed, saying that his success would be good for the nation.

“Soon the country is going to start winning, winning, winning,” he said.

Trump thanked his volunteers and then predicted success in upcoming states, including Sen. Ted Cruz’s home state of Texas and Gov. John Kasich’s home state of Ohio.

“It’s going to be an amazing two months. We might not even need the two months, folks, to be honest,” Trump said.

He noted that entrance polls showed strong support for him across the board, including evangelicals and Latinos. Early entrance polls suggested that Trump won Republican Latino voters, but they had large margins of error and a small sample size.

He mocked those in the GOP establishment who argued that if other members of the field dropped out, all those who oppose Trump would consolidate against him.

“They keep forgetting that when people drop out, we’re going to get a lot of votes,” Trump said.

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Alarms going off at Cruz HQ. Literally.

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Starting his celebration

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Voices of a victory: Trump voters explain why

At Donald Trump’s victory party at the Treasure Island casino resort in LasVegas, a few hundred supporters erupted in cheers when the results were announced on TV monitors the moment the polls closed.

“He stands for the things I like,” said Mike Schoch, a 62-year-old Las Vegas limo driver wearing a “Hillary You’re Fired” cap. “I’d like to see the wall go up. The Vatican’s got one. Why can’t we?”

Shelley Rubin, 62, was enjoying the festive mood as the crowd waited for Trump to speak. She caucused for him earlier in the evening at a local high school.

“So many of us, we’ve given up looking for jobs,” said Rubin, an unemployed Las Vegas resident who wants the government run more like a business. “We’ve been lied to for the last eight years.”

“Donald Trump is no commie, no socialist, and he’s no liar,” she said.

Benny Thomas, 37, a Las Vegas musician wearing a “Washington D.C. You’re Fired” T-shirt, said he appreciates that Trump is not a career politician.

“He’s not owned,” Thomas said. “His strong stance on immigration, his strong stance on ISIS, the Syrian refugees – those are important things to me.”

When a CNN anchor mentioned the name of Trump rival Ted Cruz, a roar of boos filled the ballroom.

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Carson says ‘things are starting to happen,’ despite lackluster showing

Ben Carson captured about 7% of the vote in Nevada’s Republican caucuses Tuesday night.

But the results weren’t the whole story, he suggested.

“I believe things are starting to happen here,” the retired neurosurgeon told his supporters after the vote.

Despite the skepticism from “the pundits and political class,” Carson said the analysts were wrong.

He said he’s seen “a lot of enthusiasm in all the places that we went, very enthusiastic crowds.”

He went on to describe America as a nation in decline, like the Roman empire when “Rome was burning.”

“But we have a bunch of fire extinguishers,” he said to cheers from his supporters. “And we are going to put the fire out. And we are going to put fire in our bellies.”

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You won’t be hearing from Marco Rubio tonight

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Later, Vegas!

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Trump wins Nevada caucuses

The Associated Press has called the race.

Get live results here.

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Donald Trump wins Nevada caucuses, bolstering his status as GOP front-runner

Donald Trump won the Nevada Republican presidential caucuses on Tuesday, strengthening his bid for the party’s nomination after similarly decisive victories in the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries.

The New York billionaire’s victory came a week before a dozen Super Tuesday contests that could move Trump closer to becoming the prohibitive favorite in the competition for party delegates.

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Not to get too carried away ...

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Whatever happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas

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Nevada entrance polls show rejection of political establishment

Nevada Republicans far prefer an outsider candidate to an experienced politician, according to entrance polls for tonight’s presidential caucuses.

More than 60% of those surveyed said they wanted a candidate who does not hail from the political establishment. Just a third of the respondents want the next president to have experience.

The voters are also angry: The poll found that nearly 60% of caucusgoers are mad at the federal government, a notably higher voter anger level than what polls found in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

The economy and jobs topped the list of issues Nevada Republicans care about; 3 in 10 cited money matters as their top issue. About a quarter of respondents ranked government spending as the most pressing concern. Immigration and terrorism were both cited as the top issue by 20% of those asked.

Three in 10 caucusgoers were looking for a candidate who shares their values. Slightly fewer people -- 25% of respondents -- said they most wanted a candidate who could win in the November general election. The rest of the voters were nearly evenly split between desiring someone who “can bring needed change” and someone who “tells it like it is.”

The survey was conducted by Edison Research at 25 randomly selected caucus sites in Nevada. The early results were based on interviews with 925 Republican caucusgoers and had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

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Want to vote? Get in line

The line outside Reed High School in Sparks, Nev., was still growing at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

“We have hundreds of people who still have to get in,” said Tom Dickman, coordinator of the caucus site.

They have until 8:30 p.m. to make it inside. Otherwise, they will not be allowed to vote.

Officials with the state Republican Party estimated that 4,400 of their registered voters would cast ballots at the school.

The caucus site covers 23 precincts.

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Trump on caucus turnout: ‘It’s record-setting stuff already’

After posing for scores of selfies with supporters at a caucus site on the western edge of Las Vegas, Donald Trump made an impromptu campaign speech.

“Our borders are going to be strong,” he told a crowd of several hundred people at Palo Verde High School. “We’re getting rid of Obamacare.”

His speech drew cheers from supporters, who chanted: “Trump! Trump! Trump!”

“We love you, Trump!” one woman yelled.

“Make America great again!” another hollered.

Outside the caucus site, MSNBC reporter Jacob Soboroff stopped Trump for an impromptu appearance on “The Rachel Maddow Show.”

“I actually like Rachel,” the Republican presidential hopeful said of the liberal cable anchor.

“This is amazing,” Trump said to the camera about the big turnout in the school cafeteria. “They’ve never seen anything like it. It’s record-setting stuff already, and it just started.”

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Nevada GOP discounts reports of caucus problems

The Nevada Republican Party disputed reports of irregularities at its caucuses Tuesday evening.

The tweets follow early reports of problems, including people voting more than once, overseers improperly wearing campaign paraphernalia and some failing to check voter IDs.

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Cruz campaign: Trump’s complaints on caucus recording are ‘outrageous’

Brushing off accusations of misconduct by Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign insisted Tuesday night that its suggestion to Nevada caucusgoers to watch for mischief and record it on their cellphones is permissible.

Trump’s attorney wrote to the Nevada Republican Party earlier, complaining that filming Tuesday’s caucus proceedings could amount to voter intimidation. Cruz’s attorney then sent a letter of his own, calling such accusations “outrageous.”

“Mr. Trump has once again sent his lawyer on a fool’s errand to advance discredited political allegations fueled by faulty legal theories,” wrote Chris Gober, Cruz’s campaign attorney.

The Nevada GOP has said no member of the public may film the caucuses, but it did say people could observe the action and report suspicious activity.

That vigilance was behind the campaign’s suggestion, Gober wrote, adding the campaign would “instruct [supporters] accordingly.”

The campaign “was simply urging its supporters to do nothing more than observe, report and document, if possible, questionable behavior at caucus sites,” Gober wrote.

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At one Nevada caucus site, Ted Cruz tries -- and fails -- to win another vote

Outside a high school in Sparks, Nev., Ted Cruz did his best to charm voters waiting to be admitted to a caucus site.

“How are you, sir?” Cruz said, extending a hand to repairman Conrad Lillegard. “It’s cold out here.”

“No it’s not,” Lillegard, 57, told him bluntly.

“You’re from Texas,” Lillegard said. “Not able to handle the cold?”

Cruz smiled and walked on to the next voter.

Who is Lillegard supporting in the Republican caucus?

“I’m for Trump,” he said.

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Chaotic Nevada caucuses could shape trajectory of GOP contest

(David Calvert / Getty Images)

Donald Trump looked to Nevada for a third straight victory Tuesday to propel him closer to the Republican nomination while Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz battled for an upset or strong enough finish to slow the billionaire before his momentum becomes impossible to stop.

A scant 30 delegates were being contested in Nevada, a relative newcomer to early presidential balloting.

But the candidates competed fiercely in the state’s precinct caucuses, mindful of how the results might shape the race a week later on March 1, or Super Tuesday, when the stakes grow exponentially higher.

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Caucus site Trump visited ran out of ballots

As Donald Trump left a caucus site here, his campaign manager said that the precinct had run out of ballots.

“I think the state’s just bringing more,” Corey Lewandowski said shortly before 7 p.m. at Palo Verde High School. “That’s all I’ve heard so far. Big crowds, and waiting for more ballots to arrive.”

The concern came amid scattered reports of irregularities at Nevada caucus sites, including people voting more than once, overseers improperly wearing campaign paraphernalia and some failing to check voter IDs.

Asked if he meant the ballot shortfalls were occurring at this particular precinct or all over the place, Lewandowski responded, “Here, for sure.”

“That’s what I was told,” he said. “I guess one of the state officials is bringing some more over, but they’ve been en route for a while, so – massive crowds, and I think this is one of the most busy polling locations in the state.”

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Trump campaign: Recording caucuses could intimidate voters

The bumpy start to the Nevada GOP caucuses is no surprise to the presidential candidates, whose campaigns predicted pandemonium in the days leading up to tonight’s proceedings.

But the suggestion by Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign for voters to film the caucusing to document possible shenanigans, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, riled up rival Donald Trump.

Trump’s attorney said such instructions could amount to voter intimidation.

By encouraging supporters to record the action on their cellphones, the Cruz campaign is “putting voters on notice,” which may “have an effect on those who wish to exercise their right to caucus,” wrote Don McGahn, an attorney for Trump’s campaign, in a letter to the Nevada Republican Party.

McGahn asked the state GOP to clarify whether making such recordings is allowed and urged party officials to “make clear that voter-intimidation tactics will not be tolerated.”

Trump has increasingly denounced Cruz’s campaign tactics, calling him a liar and accusing him of dirty tricks.

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Donald Trump creates stir as he visits Las Vegas caucus site

(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

GOP front-runner Donald Trump created a commotion Tuesday evening at a caucus site in a high school cafeteria on the western edge of Las Vegas, where many of the several hundred Republican voters surrounded him and posed for selfies with him.

“We are going to have hopefully an historic night,” he told the crowd at Palo Verde High School, where Ted Cruz supporter Glenn Beck had addressed the voters earlier.

Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said he understood the precinct had run out of ballots, and more were on the way.

Jacob Bailey, 27, of Las Vegas, hoped to cast one of them for Trump.

“I think he’s not fake like the rest of the politicians,” he said. “That’s what I like most about him.”

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Beyoncé, ‘Formation’ and Hillary Clinton at the Democrats’ town hall

It’s rare when a song strikes such a nerve that it becomes the topic of a question for a presidential candidate, but that’s what happened Tuesday over Beyoncé’s video for her insta-hit “Formation.”

The video, which includes references to the Black Lives Matter movement, has been criticized by some law enforcement groups as anti-police. When asked about the controversy, Hillary Clinton said it was important to support the police who are doing a difficult job.

“Let’s respect the police; let’s be sure we hold up those who are doing the right things and protecting us,” she said.

At the same time, Clinton said it was important to ensure officers are properly trained to deal with members of the community, particularly minorities who have been disproportionately targeted by law enforcement.

“Let’s hold police behavior accountable, so there’s an incentive for people to change how they’re doing police practices,” she said.

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Court ruling promises fiercer fight over Hillary Clinton’s emails

Hillary Clinton’s email problems continued to haunt her presidential campaign Tuesday after a federal judge ruled that aides to the former secretary of State should be questioned in a lawsuit that alleges the private server set up in her home may have been intended to dodge federal transparency laws.

The State Department argued that the questioning was unnecessary after Clinton turned over tens of thousands of emails that had gone through her private server. The State Department has released them to the public in monthly batches since mid-2015.

But U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan was unconvinced.

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Hillary Clinton: Women and leadership are synonymous

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Early reports of messy caucusing in Nevada

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Bernie Sanders embraces the golden rule

He’s the first Jewish candidate to win a presidential primary, but on Tuesday night, Bernie Sanders gave a decidedly humanist answer when asked about his thoughts on religion.

“Is there a higher power?” asked CNN’s Chris Cuomo during a Democratic town hall. “Is there a higher intelligence?”

Sanders said that for him, the answer came down to the golden rule.

“This is what I believe,” he said. “Every great religion in the world, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, essentially comes down to: Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you.”

Sanders, the Vermont senator, said it was a higher calling for people to show greater concern for one another.

“It’s a spiritual, emotional thing,” Sanders said. “When we do the right thing, when we try to treat people with respect and dignity, when we say that child who is hungry is my child, I think we are more human when we do that.”

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Nevadans line up to caucus and await Ted Cruz

At Reed High School in Sparks, Nev., a line wrapped around the single-level building as caucusgoers began to enter shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday for the state’s Republican caucuses.

Ted Cruz and his wife, Heidi, are set to speak to caucusgoers here.

In brief interviews with caucusgoers waiting in line, 7 of 10 said they were supporting Trump, two Rubio and one Cruz.

Allen Leffew, 46, was the lone Cruz backer.

“I’m a conservative’s conservative, and so is Ted Cruz,” he said. “That earns my votes.”

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Union members protest Donald Trump as he heads to meet voters

As Donald Trump prepared to leave his Las Vegas hotel Tuesday night to visit caucus sites, several dozen of his workers marched on the sidewalk outside the lobby, just steps from the candidate’s motorcade.

Carrying signs saying, “No contract, no peace,” members of Culinary Workers Union Local 226 chanted, “What do we want? A contract! When do we want it? Now!”

Staff at the luxury hotel recently unionized, but have not yet reached an agreement with Trump.

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From birthers to lawmakers, Bernie Sanders blasts Republican opposition

Bernie Sanders blasted what he called Republicans’ “unprecedented” effort to obstruct President Obama in Congress, drawing a connection during a town hall Thursday to Donald Trump questioning the president’s Hawaii birthplace.

The so-called birther issue, Sanders said, is “a racist effort to try to delegitimize the president.”

Sanders has been trying to win over South Carolina’s black voters, who have been particularly sensitive to Republican opposition to Obama, ahead of Saturday’s Democratic primary here.

“Nobody has asked for my birth certificate,” Sanders said. “Maybe it’s the color of my skin.”

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Full results from the Nevada GOP caucuses

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Bernie Sanders reminds voters he never spoke before a Wall Street audience

Bernie Sanders, senator from Vermont, is the first of the two Democratic candidates to speak at a town hall event hosted by CNN on Tuesday night.

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Trump workers in Las Vegas take advantage of attention on caucuses

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Last-minute decisions in Nevada

(Kurtis Lee / Los Angeles Times )

Mike Gem, a real estate agent, remained undecided Tuesday in the Nevada Republican presidential campaign, and said that he would probably make a decision when he arrived at his caucus site.

“I like Trump because he’s not PC, and I like Cruz because he’s really conservative,” Gem said as he sipped on a wheat beer at the Great Basin Brewery. “Rubio can possibly win in November.”

Trump is the favorite to win Tuesday’s Nevada caucuses, while Cruz and Rubio are fighting for second place.

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Donald Trump wants to put ‘bad dudes’ in Guantanamo Bay

Donald Trump has a message for President Obama when it comes to shuttering the Guantanamo Bay prison: no way.

“We are keeping it open,” Trump said Tuesday in the dimly lighted ballroom of the Nugget Casino here in Sparks. “And by the way, we’re going to load it up with some bad dudes.”

Earlier in the day, Obama sent a plan to Congress to close the prison in Cuba, a last-ditch effort to fulfill one of his original campaign promises and shut down what has come to be a symbol for some of the post-Sept. 11 overreach of the George W. Bush administration. The plan is widely opposed by members of the Republican-controlled Congress, who say it lacks specifics and question whether it will hurt the country’s ability to fight terrorism.

Obama said closure of the military prison could save the government $65 million to $85 million a year. Trump, touting his business skills, said he could find a way to run it for much less.

“I could do it for a tiny, tiny fraction ... maybe peanuts,” said Trump, who is the favorite to win Nevada’s Republican caucuses Tuesday night.

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After Trump complaint against Cruz, Nevada GOP takes stand on voter intimidation tactics

After a complaint from Donald Trump’s lawyer about rival Ted Cruz’s campaign tactics, Nevada’s Republican Party barred the public from videotaping voting sites during the state’s presidential caucuses Tuesday night.

  1. The state GOP “is committed to [ensuring] the caucusing process is free from intimidation, threats or nefarious activity of any kind,” it said in a statement.

The state party said it encouraged participation in the caucuses so voters can “express support for their candidate of choice without fear and knowing that they are an integral part of the important political process.”

It encouraged anyone who observes suspicious conduct to notify precinct leaders.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Cruz campaign had told supporters to put their cellphones in video mode as they enter caucus sites and to record anything that looks suspicious.

That led Trump campaign counsel Donald F. McGahn II to write a letter Monday to Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael McDonald, urging him to “make clear that voter intimidation tactics will not be tolerated.”

“We find this information especially troubling given Sen. Cruz and his campaign’s track record of election shenanigans,” McGahn wrote.

He told McDonald that videotaping by Cruz supporters might violate state and federal laws barring voter intimidation tactics. He asked McDonald to clarify whether the party would allow it.

Cruz’s campaign spokesmen did not respond to emails requesting comment.

The campaign of Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, another top contender in the Nevada contest, also urged supporters to watch for “a disturbing pattern of dirty tricks” by the Texas senator.

On Monday, Cruz fired his chief campaign spokesman for spreading a misleading video of Rubio, a shakeup that seemed to acknowledge growing allegations that his campaign has used underhanded tactics.

In an email, Rubio’s campaign told backers in Nevada that in Saturday’s South Carolina primary, “we saw the Cruz campaign and their allies unleash a wave of lies about Marco’s record, anonymous push polls, outrageous robocalls, fake Facebook posts, personal insults directed at popular South Carolina leaders, and ads that had to actually be taken down.”

“We are concerned that the Cruz campaign will try to do to Marco or other candidates what they did to Ben Carson and systematically distribute false and malicious rumors,” the Rubio team’s email said.

Cruz apologized to Ben Carson during a New Hampshire debate for his campaign’s spreading of a false report on the day of the Iowa caucuses that the retired neurosurgeon had dropped out of the race. Trump’s lawyer included the Carson matter in his list of Cruz “shenanigans.”

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Trump says he’d keep Guantanamo prison open

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Marco Rubio hints at getting the backing of Jeb Bush

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The son of the son also rises

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Spotted at Donald Trump’s caucus day rally

Not one of the candidates speaks about veterans the way Trump does. He’s the one for us.

— Aaron Castro, 46, a former gunner in the U.S. Army at Trump’s rally in Sparks, Nev., on Tuesday.

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Rubio’s case for electability dismissed by Kasich’s team as media hype

Marco Rubio closed his Nevada campaign Tuesday by urging Republicans to look past their anger and choose a presidential nominee who can win in November.

“Frustration’s not a plan,” the Florida senator told a few hundred supporters here at a casino resort. “Being angry is not a plan.”

Rubio argued that he was better suited for the general election than his remaining GOP rivals. “This election can’t just be about making a point,” he said. “It can’t just be about electing the loudest person in the room.”

As Rubio spoke beneath the white antler chandeliers of a Silverton Casino banquet room, a top advisor to John Kasich dismissed him Tuesday as a “teleprompter-dependent” senator whom “media and establishment types in Washington” were trying to anoint as the GOP nominee.

Kasich strategist John Weaver released a memo saying the Ohio governor has a better shot than Rubio of winning some states in the weeks ahead and would pose a tougher challenge to Democrat Hillary Clinton in November.

Kasich, who skipped Nevada this week, “has a unique appeal to swing voters in industrial states and has unique ability to expand the map by competing in Northeastern states where the GOP has struggled in recent presidential elections,” Weaver wrote.

Neither Kasich nor Rubio won any of the first three GOP contests. In Nevada, Donald Trump is widely seen as the favorite to win Tuesday’s caucuses, but Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz have both invested substantial time and money in the state.

Rubio’s morning rally was his last in Nevada before campaign stops later Tuesday in Minnesota and Michigan.

The freshman senator hammered President Obama for his plan to shut down the American prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

“We’re not giving back an important naval base to an anti-American communist dictatorship,” he told the audience.

At a time when Trump’s crowds are applauding the billionaire’s vow to use interrogation methods tougher than waterboarding on terrorism suspects, Rubio is making a similar appeal.

“Not only are we not going to close Guantánamo,” he told the casino crowd, “when I’m president, if we capture a terrorist alive, they’re not getting a court hearing in Manhattan, they’re not going to be sent to Nevada, they’re going to Guantánamo. And we’re going to find out everything we know.”

Rubio also argued that he could expand the Republican Party by appealing to “all of these folks that work in the hotel rooms here -- that clean the rooms like my mom did, that serve the drinks behind the bar like my father did.”

He said they owe their jobs to investors who risked their money on Las Vegas hotel and casino resorts.

“They took a chance with their money, and the result is they hired hundreds of thousands of people to work in those places,” Rubio said.

Left unmentioned was that one of those investors was Trump, who owns a hotel tower on the Strip, and another is Sheldon Adelson, the Venetian resort owner and Republican Party benefactor who is the new owner of a Las Vegas newspaper that has endorsed Rubio.

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Sanders ad strategy cedes lots of ground to Clinton

(Steven Senne / Associated Press)

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign has focused its television advertising in fewer than half the states holding Democratic caucuses and primaries on March 1, a strategy that concentrates his resources but also effectively cedes many delegates to rival Hillary Clinton.

According to the latest data on ad spending compiled by SMG Delta, a tracking firm, and released by NBC News, Sanders is outspending Clinton by a large margin in Colorado and Minnesota -- two states that hold caucuses -- and in Oklahoma, which holds a primary on March 1.

Sanders is outspending Clinton by a smaller amount in Massachusetts. Voters there already saw extensive ads leading up to the New Hampshire primary because most of that state is in the Boston media market.

But Sanders is so far spending nothing on television in two of the biggest states that vote on March 1, Virginia and Georgia, and only a token amount in Texas. He’s also not on the air in Alabama, Arkansas or Tennessee. Clinton and the super PAC allied with her, Priorities USA, is advertising in all six.

The four states in which Sanders has concentrated his money have 272 delegates up for grabs, not counting the so-called super-delegates -- elected officials and party leaders who are free to vote for either candidate. He is also expected to win most of the 26 delegates from his home state of Vermont.

The six in which Sanders is spending little, if anything, have 571 delegates at stake, again, not counting the super-delegates.

Because the Democrats award delegates proportionally to each candidate’s vote, Sanders will win some delegates in the states in which he is not advertising. But the lack of a more aggressive effort in states such as Texas and Georgia could hand Clinton a major advantage in the race to win the 2,382 delegates needed to secure the party’s nomination.

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Donald Trump supporter: ‘He signed my hat. I’ve got to get it signed again’

Scott Volker and his best friend, Matthew Brewer, wanted to see Donald Trump speak in person, so in January they made the four-hour drive from their home in Chicago to Cedar Falls, Iowa.

“It was awesome, man,” Volker said Tuesday morning inside the Nugget Casino here. “He signed my hat. I’ve got to get it signed again.”

Volker, 24, and Brewer, 25, were taking a cross-country road trip to Oregon this week and decided to stop in Sparks, where Trump will speak this afternoon as Nevada Republicans prepare to vote in caucuses tonight.

So why is Volker supporting Trump?

“He’s going to put America first, and not corporate interests,” Volker said. “He’s rich, so he has to answer to nobody.”

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Donald Trump leaves Marco Rubio alone, but for how long?

Marco who?

It’s a three-man race in the Republican presidential contest Tuesday in Nevada, but Donald Trump is all but ignoring rival Marco Rubio, concentrating his rhetorical fire on Ted Cruz.

“Ted Cruz does not have the right ‘temperment’ to be President,” Trump wrote on Twitter in a series of anti-Cruz tweets Tuesday morning. “Look at the way he totally panicked in firing his director of comm. BAD!”

The attack was partly tongue-in-cheek, coming from the combative GOP front-runner whose temperament is often questioned.

But it was also a kick-a-man-when-he’s-down moment that fit the pattern of Trump’s relentless attacks on Jeb Bush in the weeks before the former Florida governor dropped out of the race on Saturday.

Cruz asked his communications director Rick Tyler to resign Monday after Tyler claimed Rubio could be heard disparaging the Bible in a video he posted on social media. The allegation was false and Tyler apologized.

But the dust-up on the eve of the Nevada vote lent credibility to weeks of accusations by both Trump and Rubio that Cruz has run a fundamentally dishonest campaign, undercutting the Texas senator’s case that he’s the purest religious conservative in the race.

The incident’s timing was bad for Cruz, who was hoping that a strong finish in Nevada would help him recover from his third-place finish in the South Carolina primary. In Nevada, where illegal immigration has long angered many Republicans, Trump has tried to use the issue against Cruz.

“Ted Cruz only talks tough on immigration now because he did so badly in S.C.,” Trump said Tuesday morning on Twitter. “He is in favor of amnesty and weak on illegal immigration.”

On Monday night, Cruz tried to reassure conservatives he would be tougher than Rubio or Trump on illegal immigration. Cruz told Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly that he would use the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to round up and deport 12 million of them.

“So Tommy O’Malley from County Cork in Ireland is over here,” O’Reilly asked, “and he overstays his visa, and he’s got a couple of kids, and he’s settled into Long Island, and you, President Cruz, are going to send the feds to his house, take him out and put him on a plane back to Ireland?”

“You better believe it,” Cruz responded.

The Nevada caucuses will offer a new gauge of how Cruz – who once enjoyed a well-chronicled “bromance” with Trump – is weathering Trump’s verbal assault.

For Rubio, whose wherewithal to survive a pummeling was thrown into doubt when Chris Christie rattled him in a New Hampshire debate, a big question looms: When will Trump decide it’s his turn.

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Nice view for caucusing

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‘Wake up, South Carolina!’ Spike Lee has an endorsement for Bernie Sanders

South Carolina radio listeners woke up to the voice of Spike Lee endorsing Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday, with the director urging Democrats to back Sanders because he focuses on people, not corporate greed.

“Bernie takes no money from corporations, nada! Which means he’s not on the take,” Lee said.

The 60-second ad featuring Lee, an honorary Academy Award-winning director and producer, comes ahead of Saturday’s South Carolina Democratic primary, where Sanders is trying to shore up support among African American voters.

The director cited Sanders’ participation in the 1963 March on Washington with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and his arrest in Chicago at a campus sit-in that same year as examples of Sanders acting on his ideals.

In his films, Lee explores race relations, the black community, poverty, crime and other social political issues.

“When Bernie gets in the White House, he will do the right thing,” Lee said, a play on his own movie of the same title.

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Hillary Clinton takes a walk through ‘Scandal’

Hillary Clinton visited the president and the White House on Monday night — at least the actor and set on ABC’s fictional drama “Scandal” in Los Angeles.

Stars from the cast, including Kerry Washington and Scott Foley, joined the #imwithher Twitter campaign for Clinton and spent the visit snapping Instagram photos with the Democratic presidential candidate.

Clinton stopped by the set during a fundraising visit to the city, her seventh since launching her campaign.

“A good friend came by set today. Proud to say… #imwithher,” Washington, who stars as political fixer and D.C. insider Olivia Pope, posted on Instagram.

Star and Clinton supporter Tony Goldwyn, who plays President Fitzgerald Grant, later called the candidate a “#gladiator” on Twitter, a reference to Pope and her fictional team. Goldwyn campaigned for Clinton last week in Nevada, where she beat rival Bernie Sanders in Saturday’s caucuses.

“Scandal” creator Shonda Rhimes has also already endorsed Clinton, saying she wants to “maintain my freedoms” with a Clinton win.

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Univision fought with Donald Trump; now it wants to register 3 million new Latino voters

Jorge Ramos, longtime anchorman with the most-watched Spanish-language television network in the country.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Last summer, Univision went to war with Donald Trump after he called Mexicans drug dealers and rapists -- a move typical of the network that views itself not just as a media company but as an advocate and defender of the Latino community.

Now Univision is launching a major voter registration and engagement campaign aimed at turning out 3 million new Latino voters ahead of this year’s presidential election.

The network published an online voter guide Tuesday and is partnering with several organizations to register eligible Latinos -- a population that has grown 40% in the past eight years alone. Univision will broadcast public service announcements across its 126 local television and radio stations about the importance of voting and is enlisting one of its young stars to tell his own story about becoming a voter. A spokeswoman for the network said Univision’s campaign news team will be bigger than any previous election, with 36 reporters and producers already assigned to campaign coverage.

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Four big questions await answers Tuesday in Nevada’s Republican caucuses

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio campaigns in Reno on Feb. 22.
Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio campaigns in Reno on Feb. 22.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

The race for the Republican presidential nomination enters Nevada on Tuesday, where front-runner Donald Trump looks to rack up a third straight win after sailing to victory in South Carolina’s primary over the weekend.

Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida, who’s still seeking his first win in a nominating contest, are aiming to produce a strong showing in the Republican caucuses in the Silver State in an effort to to blunt Trump’s trajectory toward the nomination.

Here is what to watch for Tuesday.

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Senate should act on Supreme Court nominee, majority says

A majority of Americans believe the Senate should hold hearings and vote on whomever President Obama nominates for the Supreme Court, according to a new poll.

The survey, by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, found that 56% said the Senate should hold hearings and vote.

A minority, 38%, supported the position taken by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) after the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia -- that the Senate should not act until after the next president takes office.

Not surprisingly, the poll found a sharp partisan divide. Among people who identified themselves as conservative Republicans, 71% said the Senate should wait for a new president. Among self-identified liberal Democrats, 85% said the Senate should act on Obama’s nominee.

Independents favored the Democratic side of the argument, 56%-37%, the poll found.

The survey also found Americans paying considerably more attention to the high court vacancy than to previous openings on the court.

About 7 in 10 Americans said they had heard about the vacancy and nearly 6 in 10 said the choice of the next justice was important to them. By contrast, when Obama chose Elena Kagan for the high court in 2010, only 4 in 10 said the choice was important to them.

Republicans and Democrats were about equally likely to see the choice as important. Independents were less likely to do so.

The Pew survey polled 1,002 American adults, Feb. 18-21. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percentage points.

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New poll details generation gap in Latino support for Clinton, Sanders

Sen. Bernie Sanders has drawn almost even with Hillary Clinton among Latino voters nationwide on the strength of support from voters younger than 35, new polling shows.

Since late January, Sanders has almost eliminated Clinton’s once-formidable lead among Latinos, according to a weekly tracking poll conducted by SurveyMonkey for NBC News. His gains have come largely among younger Latinos.

Among Latinos younger than 35, Sanders led Clinton 60%-34%, in the tracking poll for the week that ended Sunday. For Latinos 35 and older, the opposite was true -- Clinton led by 30 points.

That generational split was visible in the first major test of Latino voting this year, in Nevada over the weekend. Clinton won the Nevada caucuses, but may have lost the Latino vote in the state, although that question remains uncertain.

Clinton has maintained a lead nationwide among all Democrats largely on the basis of her consistent margin among black voters.

Their backing will be key for her in this week’s contest in South Carolina as well as a series of Southern and Midwestern states that vote in early March.

The SurveyMonkey tracking poll showed Clinton leading Sanders by more than 40 points among African American Democrats and by about 10 points overall.

The poll, conducted online, surveys more than 10,000 registered voters each week. It has an error estimate of +/-1 percentage point for the full sample.

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