Competing campaign town halls: Republicans get personal; Democrats focus on immigration


Welcome to Trail Guide, your host through the wilds of the 2016 presidential campaign. It’s Thursday, Feb. 18, and here’s what we’re talking about:

  • Donald Trump flouts the laws of campaigning once more and other GOP forum takeaways
  • At a competing Democratic town hall, Bernie Sanders is quizzed on how he’ll fix the broken immigration system
  • Hillary Clinton demonstrates her deep knowledge of U.S. immigration law
  • Trump on being called out by Pope Francis: It’s “really not a nice thing to say”
  • Marco Rubio and Bush are staying out of that fight
  • Political analysts are scratching their heads over the Democratic race in Nevada

Clinton on union workers’ support: ‘I’ve fought for them’

Hillary Clinton has netted several powerful union endorsements this primary season, and on Thursday night she held an outdoor rally to bask in that support.

“It’s because I’ve worked for them, because I’ve fought for them,” she said before several dozen members of Laborers’ International Union at its local headquarters on the east side of Las Vegas.

Clinton, who finds herself in an increasingly competitive race for the Democratic presidential nomination with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, took a moment to indirectly criticize her rival.

“I’m no Johnny- or Janie-come-lately,” she said, when it comes to outreach and support of unions.

Organized labor has strong influence in the Democratic caucuses in Nevada, but the most influential union in the state is not backing a candidate.

Culinary Local 226, which has nearly 55,000 members -- most of them Latino -- announced last month it would not endorse ahead of Saturday’s caucuses.

Clinton noted the diversity of the state, where Latinos and blacks account for a third of caucusgoers.

“You are a diverse state,” she said. “You are the future.”


Donald Trump bends the rules of campaigning again, and other GOP town hall takeaways

What we noticed during Thursday’s town hall featuring half the remaining Republican field (the others took the stage on the previous night):

  1. John Kasich got personal

    John Kasich opened the town hall with a reminder that he had already done 120 of them. And it showed. Kasich was at ease and had plenty to gain; he may be the least known of the candidates. (One questioner still could not pronounce his name. It’s KAY-sick.)

    He did discuss health costs and his support for gun control, while defending his controversial decision to expand Medicaid in his state as part of President Obama’s landmark healthcare law. But mostly he showed his demeanor and style, which may appeal to those who find Donald Trump too bombastic.

  2. Jeb Bush is pushing to remain relevant

    Jeb Bush, whose campaign shows signs of trouble two days before the South Carolina primary, was trying to convince voters he remains relevant here.

    “I do have momentum,” Bush said, “if you look at the polls and if you look at the crowd sizes of our town hall meetings and the enthusiasm that exists.”

  3. Donald Trump is just like us, only rich

    Donald Trump showed his unwillingness to disappoint those who like his bravado. He even suggested he’s a bit of a shape-shifter, a no-no under normal political rules.

    “I can act differently for different people,” he said.

    That kind of comment has been used against him before and probably will show up in an attack ad soon. But it seems unlikely to hurt Trump too much.

    After dishing on Michael Jackson, expressing fondness for McDonald’s and confessing to few other vices than staying up late to watch the news, Trump reminded viewers why he is so popular. The billionaire is an almost-normal guy, just Trump-ier.


New election paradigm: Donald Trump digs deep on Michael Jackson


Donald Trump supported the Iraq invasion before he opposed it

Donald Trump acknowledged Thursday that he may have expressed support for the Iraq war in 2002, a shift from his insistence earlier in his campaign that he always opposed it.

Trump was asked about the invasion during a 2002 interview with Howard Stern, first reported late Thursday by Buzzfeed.

“Are you for invading Iraq?” Howard Stern asked him at the time, and Trump answered, “Yeah, I guess so.”

During CNN’s GOP town hall on Thursday, Trump said: “I could have said that.”

As recently as Saturday, during the last Republican debate, Trump said he opposed the war, and he hammered George W. Bush’s decision to invade as he chiseled away at rival Jeb Bush.

Trump said Thursday that the radio interview was probably one of the first times he had been asked about the war, and that he ultimately opposed it.

“By the time the war started, I was against it,” Trump said. “Shortly thereafter, I was really against it.”


Hillary Clinton on same-sex marriage reversal


When did Trump oppose Iraq war?


Can Donald Trump change his demeanor?

A voter at Thursday’s Republican town hall asked Donald Trump one of the big questions about his campaign: Could he adjust his blustery rhetoric and manage his self-control as president?

“We have to be tough to protect our country,” Trump said. “I have a great temperament.”

He went on to talk about terrorists in detail – ISIS beheadings, drowning people in cages, the San Bernardino shootings.

“This is like medieval times,” he continued.

But, asked host Anderson Cooper of CNN, could he adjust his tone?

“I was a good student and all of the stuff. I’m a smart person,” Trump insisted.

As an example, he promised he could strike a deal between the two political parties on ending the loophole that allows companies to avoid taxes by reincorporating overseas.

“I would put these people in a room and within 10 minutes, I’d have a deal,” he promised. “They all want it.”

Would he compromise?

“I believe in compromise where I win.”


Hillary Clinton makes her immigration expertise known

Hillary Clinton did her homework on immigration.

During a Democratic town hall Thursday, a woman in the audience told of her husband being forced to return to Mexico while he applied for legal status because of a little-known immigration provision. She was posing a question to Clinton’s rival, Bernie Sanders, who didn’t quite seem to know what she was talking about.

But when Clinton took the stage later, she made a point to address the law, identifying it by name, then pledging to end it. Clinton drew loud cheers when she vowed to eliminate the law, known as the three- or 10-year unlawful presence bar. It requires immigrants in the U.S. illegally to return home for years while applying for legal status.

Overall, Clinton came off as better-steeped than Sanders in the nation’s complicated immigration laws, and she made a more forceful case that she would fix the immigration system if elected.

When asked to promise to propose an immigration overhaul bill in her first 100 days in office, Clinton vowed to do so, saying such a bill would be “at the top” of her legislative agenda.


In Apple’s battle with FBI, Clinton declines to take a side

Hillary Clinton repeatedly called the battle between Apple and the FBI over accessing the cellphone data of the San Bernardino assailants a “dilemma,” refusing to stake out a position.

“This is one of the most difficult dilemmas that we’re faced with,” Clinton said during Thursday’s Democratic town hall. “Of course law enforcement has every right and reason to want to get information off of a killer’s cellphone.”

But Clinton added that she sees why Apple is concerned about opening a “back door” to access a user’s personal data, noting that they probably then have to field requests from not only the U.S. government, but foreign governments as well, in addition to the privacy concerns that Apple has.

“This is a very hard dilemma,” she said.

Read More


Jeb Bush talks family in the run-up to the South Carolina primary

Jeb Bush, who has struggled with how to calibrate his family history in his presidential campaign, embraced it Thursday as he tried to stay competitive going into Saturday’s South Carolina primary.

Asked about his brother, former President George W. Bush, campaigning with him this week, Bush declared their Monday event “a blast.”

“I love him dearly, and this is the first time he’s been campaigning with a candidate, and I’m honored he did it with me,” Bush said during a GOP candidates forum, adding that he would have been “disappointed” if his brother had campaigned with someone else.

Bush, who started his run trying to differentiate himself from his brother and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, declared his dad “the greatest man alive” and called his mother a “superstar.”

He then turned to his wife, Columba, with whom he will celebrate his 42nd anniversary next week.

“Sweetie, this is going to be your anniversary present,” Bush said, launching into a soliloquy about how they met in a Mexican town square when he was a teenager. “I fell madly in love, head over heels, a lightning bolt of love. ... She was the most beautiful girl I had ever met in my life.”

He said his life changed dramatically.

“I’m a lot better person because of it,” he said. “I love you, dear.”


Turn on your television very carefully


2016 campaign explained


Jeb Bush’s views on addiction, shaped by the struggles of his daughter

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has spoken openly about his daughter, Noelle, who battled prescription drug abuse and was jailed for possessing crack cocaine.

The debate around addiction and recovery has shifted away from the “just say no” era during this election, as The Times’ Seema Mehta chronicled.

Read More


Bernie Sanders’ immigration solution ignores Obama’s difficulties

Bernie Sanders faced a battery of questions about his views on immigration during a Democratic town hall Thursday.

He was asked to explain his vote against a 2007 immigration reform bill -- which rival Hillary Clinton has criticized him for -- and what he would do to reduce deportations as president.

Sanders explained that he voted against the bill because it included provisions to allow guest-workers into the country that he found unacceptable and “almost akin to slavery.”

He noted that several major immigrant rights leaders also opposed the bill on those grounds -- a claim that holds up.

To reduce deportations, Sanders pledged to use his executive powers as president.

He ignored the fact that such an approach may not be an option.

President Obama took executive action to try to expand temporary deportation protections to millions of immigrants in the country illegally in 2014. But his actions were frozen while a lawsuit plays out in the courts, and it awaits a ruling from the Supreme Court.

A better question might be what Sanders -- or Clinton, for that matter -- would do to stop deportations if Obama’s action is ruled unconstitutional.


Jeb Bush explains why he tweeted that photo of a gun

Jeb Bush said Thursday that he tweeted a picture of a firearm he received as a present from a South Carolina gun maker to celebrate the 2nd Amendment and the company, FN Manufacturing.

“I wanted to pay tribute to them by showing off the gun they gave me,” Bush said during a GOP candidates town hall Thursday. “Also I wanted to show the 2nd Amendment is as important” as the rest of the Bill of Rights.

Bush created a social media storm when he tweeted the photo of an engraved FNX-45 pistol.

He said that as governor of Florida, he protected the rights of the law-abiding to own a gun while he also went after criminals.

“If you commit a crime with a gun in Florida, you’re going to prison,” Bush said.

But he said he would overturn President Obama’s executive actions on guns and argued that the president could have sought bipartisan agreement on keeping guns out of the hands of those who are mentally ill.

“This is the problem with our president – he’s given up on working with Congress,” Bush said.


John Kasich: Life is so fragile


John Kasich musical taste: ‘Pretty much alternative, modern’


Proof that the Democrats are at a different kind of forum

The first question from the audience during Thursday’s Democratic forum came from a young woman named Dulce, who came to the U.S. illegally and is protected from deportation by President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

She and debate moderator Jose Diaz-Balart exchanged a greeting in Spanish before she launched into a question for Bernie Sanders about what he would do to fix the nation’s immigration system.

It was proof that this was a different kind of prime-time forum for the Democrats.

In their higher-profile presidential debates, questions about immigration have appeared to be almost an afterthought, squeezed into conversations about economic, healthcare and foreign policy.

But at this town hall, broadcast by Telemundo in Spanish, the topic of immigration dominated the first 30 minutes.


Bernie Sanders calls Apple-FBI fight ‘very complicated’

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says he can see both arguments in the battle between Apple and the FBI over the cellphone used by the attackers in the San Bernardino massacre.

“This is a very complicated issue,” Sanders said at a town hall event in Las Vegas on Thursday, hosted by MSNBC and Telemundo. “I very fearful in America about Big Brother.”

This week Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said his company would resist a federal judge’s order to help investigators access encrypted data hidden on the phone, which belonged to the couple who killed 14 people in San Bernardino in December.

Sanders added that he’s also fearful, though, about the possibility of another terrorist attack.

“Frankly, I think there is a middle ground that can be reached.”

Read More


One thing the Democrats agree on


It’s pronounced KAY-sick


John Kasich: We need to slow down and take care of one another

Ohio Gov. John Kasich reflected Thursday on an emotional moment he shared with a young man at a town hall earlier in the day, saying that he hears tales of hardship constantly on the campaign trail and that Americans needed to pause and pay attention to their neighbors who are suffering.

“We all need to slow down a little bit. There are a lot of people out there who are lonely and looking to tell people about their issues,” Kasich said during a Republican candidates forum on CNN.

The young man had told Kasich that a father figure in his life recently killed himself and his parents got divorced, but that he found hope in the Lord, his friends -- and Kasich.

Kasich, overcome by the story, stepped into the audience to hug the man.

Later, Kasich recounted other tales he had heard on the campaign trail, of a woman with epileptic seizures, a man whose son was diagnosed with testicular cancer, and a woman whose daughter had been sober for 11 months.

“It’s been happening to me all over,” Kasich said. “It has definitely changed me. I have learned so much.”


John Kasich goes out on a limb: ‘I’m pro-pope’

Ohio Gov. John Kasich took a pass on weighing in on the Pope Francis-Donald Trump fight. (We still can’t believe that’s a sentence related to current events.)

“I’m pro-pope,” Kasich said. “Put me down in the pro-pope column.”

Kasich then went on to extol Francis. Asked about the wall, he said, “We have a right to build a wall.”

But, he added, “There are too many walls between us.”


From the archives: John Kasich’s years in Congress

During Thursday’s town hall, John Kasich referred repeatedly to his years representing an Ohio district in the House as a key part of his campaign resume.

He cited his work on eliminating waste in the federal budget and pledged to do the same in the White House.

“We’ve got to clean up waste wherever it exists,” he told a South Carolinian who asked him how he’d find more room in the federal budget for the military.

What Kasich didn’t go into, though, was just how zealous he was in trying to slash spending as part of Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America. Read The Times’ 1995 profile of Kasich, then a young congressman who was near-terrorizing Washington with his single-minded focus.

Read More


A little help from her friends in fashion

Hillary Clinton’s campaign sent text messages to supporters Thursday advertising some new campaign gear with a specific focus on women.


Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders among Latinos in new poll, but not in favorability

Hillary Clinton is beating Bernie Sanders among Latino Democrats, according to a new poll.

The survey of Latino voters, released a few hours before both candidates were to appear at an MSNBC forum in Las Vegas that will be broadcast live in Spanish on Telemundo, found Clinton winning support from 56% of Latinos nationally, compared with 39% for Sanders.

But the poll, conducted by Telemundo, NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, found that Sanders is the presidential candidate with the most favorable image among Latinos, with 54% of respondents expressing a positive opinion of the Vermont senator.

The data suggest Sanders has made inroads in the Latino community since November, when just 30% expressed a positive opinion of him.

Half of Latinos hold a positive opinion of Clinton, the poll found. The difference in favorability ratings between Sanders and the former secretary of State was within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 6 percentage points.

The poll found also looked at favorability among the Republican primary candidates. It found that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is the Republican candidate with the most favorable image among Latinos, with 28% expressing a positive opinion of him.

The two Republicans of Cuban descent, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, were seen as having a favorable image among 25% and 20% of respondents, respectively.


So who has Donald Trump battled with this election? Here’s a quick guide

The tiff between Donald Trump and Pope Francis on Thursday was the latest example of what’s become a persistent theme of Trump’s presidential campaign: caustic battles over religion, immigration or sexuality that animate his supporters and capture headlines.

When Trump first began campaigning, his comments baffled political observers, but as his lead in the polls only increased, it has become clear that his backers see his unapologetic, brash style as a strength, no matter whom he goes after.

So what has Trump said exactly?

About Iowans:

As his poll numbers began to lag in Iowa last fall, he offered choice words for voters in the state, which kicked off primary season on Feb. 1.

“How stupid are the people of Iowa?” he said at a local event.

Trump finished second to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the state’s caucuses.

About Jeb Bush:

The former Florida governor has become a relentless target for Trump, who calls him “low energy” on the campaign trail and in debates. Trump has even gone after Bush’s family — in particular, former President George W. Bush, whom he recently blamed for failing to keep America safe from the Sept. 11 attacks.

Read More


Head to Snapchat to see California’s voters campaigning in Nevada

We’re two days away from Nevada’s Democratic caucuses. Californians already have headed there in support of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders ahead of the “First in the West” showdown.

Christine Mai-Duc is capturing their campaign efforts on Snapchat.

Watch the full story by following LATimesPolitics.


Bernie Sanders campaign teaches volunteers how to pronounce ‘Nevada’

(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

If you want to call voters in Nevada on behalf of Bernie Sanders’ campaign, you better know how to correctly pronounce the state’s name.

Ahead of Saturday’s caucus, the Sanders campaign is connecting volunteers with the “Bernie Dialer.” The phone-dialing tool comes with a set of instructions, including an eight-second video tutorial of the proper pronunciation of the Silver State.

“HINT: It’s Ne-VAD-uh not Ne-VOD-uh,” the campaign’s site reads.

Clearly, this is not a “to-may-to, to-mah-to” situation.


Donald Trump gazes over Las Vegas, even when he isn’t here

Even in this town, where many buildings bear gold glass siding reminiscent of a certain candidate’s hairdo, the Trump hotel stands out.

It’s off by itself a bit away from the main action on the Las Vegas Strip, its nearest neighbor a shopping mall, which invites metaphors to Donald Trump’s singular campaign. But in a way, it does establish his presence here, even if he’s elsewhere, feuding with the pope at the moment.

In 2011, the last time Trump flirted with a presidential campaign — he backed away then — he touted his “very, very successful” Las Vegas venture. Which actually wasn’t, as Michael J. Mishak wrote in The Times.

Today, the hotel is advertising rooms from $170 per night for a “superior room” to $2,045 per night for the three-bedroom penthouse suite.

“Live Trump Style,” the hotel suggests on its website.

Aren’t we all, this campaign year?


Jeb Bush is being overtaken in South Carolina ad wars, and that’s a bad sign for his campaign

(Andrew Burton / Getty Images)

In the opening weeks of the 2016 campaign, Jeb Bush and his supporters used a big financial advantage to smother the competition with television advertising. Now, with Bush struggling to salvage his sputtering presidential run, his rivals have caught up.

The super PAC supporting Bush, Right to Rise USA, has still dominated the state overall, with more than 12,400 ads since the race began, according to an analysis released Thursday by the Wesleyan Media Project.

That’s some 2,000 more ads than the next highest candidate, Marco Rubio. Right to Rise raised more than $100 million before Bush even entered the race, far more than any other candidate.

But it’s a different story now, ahead of South Carolina’s GOP primary Saturday. Since the beginning of this month, more commercials have aired supporting Ted Cruz (4,904) and Rubio (3,882) than Bush (2,664), the report says.

It’s not a good sign for Bush, said Michael Franz, co-director of the project.

“This may be an indicator of some sluggishness in the Bush camp,” he said in the report. “One might expect a final stand in South Carolina by pro-Bush efforts. Instead, they are being edged out.”

The report also shows that Rubio has gotten far more for his money overall. His camp has spent $35.3 million to air 32,600 ads; the pro-Bush forces, meanwhile, have spent an estimated $61.9 million and gotten only 36,000 airings.

The front-runner in the race, Donald Trump, continues to demonstrate that advertising isn’t everything. He’s stayed on top while spending just a fraction of his rivals’ count on advertising – just $6.6 million so far.

In the Democratic race, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are virtually tied in the ad wars nationwide, with each candidate airing over 38,000 commercials. Clinton has spent a little more, $20.8 million to Sanders’ $20.1 million. In Nevada, where Clinton aides are worried about a surge from Sanders, the Vermont senator has spent slightly more on advertising than Clinton, $2.6 million to $2.5 million.

Outside money from rich donors continues to pour into the race, swamping the cash spent by the candidates themselves, the report says. Super PACs and other groups, which can accept unlimited donations, have spent more than $122 million so far, more than three times the amount spent by all campaigns combined.


Marco Rubio reacts to Pope Francis: ‘No nation on earth more compassionate’


Sanders immigration record falls short, Clinton supporters say

Top Latino supporters of Hillary Clinton criticized her rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, as failing to stand up for immigrants.

“Bernie Sanders stood with the anti-immigrant wing of the Republican Party,” said Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) on a conference call organized by the Clinton campaign.

Sanders supports changes that would allow millions of people currently in the country illegally to become citizens. But in 2007 he opposed bipartisan immigration legislation over concerns that it did not sufficiently protect the rights of guest workers.

“Bernie, where have you been?” said Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers union, which has also endorsed Clinton. “He’s coming to the Latino community now that he needs its vote.”

The message from Latino advocates echoed the one from black supporters earlier this month, when they said Sanders had been “missing in action” on important issues such as gun control.

After squeaking out a narrow win in Iowa and losing New Hampshire by a wide margin, Clinton is counting on black and Latino supporters to help her achieve victory in Nevada on Saturday and South Carolina next week.


Clinton endorsed by Latino group


Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are staying out of the Trump-pope fracas

Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, both practicing Catholics who are running for the GOP presidential nomination, declined Thursday to weigh in on Pope Francis’ suggestion that Donald Trump’s plan to build a border wall is un-Christian.

Bush told reporters in Columbia, S.C., that the pope is his “spiritual leader,” but demurred when asked about Francis’ criticism of Trump’s faith.

“His Christianity is between him and his creator,” Bush said of Trump.

Rubio said he wanted to see the full context of the pope’s remarks before reacting, but used the opportunity to reiterate his stance on immigration, that the U.S. is compassionate in its acceptance of immigrants yet must control its borders.

“This country has not just a right, but an obligation, to control the process by which people enter the United States,” he said.


Pope Francis takes on Donald Trump and political Twitter explodes


Pope: Trump’s view on border wall isn’t Christian. Trump: That’s ‘really not a nice thing to say’

Pope Francis dismissed Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border as “not Christian” on Thursday, and Trump quickly fired back, announcing that the pope’s comment was “really not a nice thing to say.”

“For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful,” Trump told supporters in Kiawah Island, S.C.

Trump was reacting to comments the pope made aboard his plane earlier Thursday on a trip home from Mexico, where bringing attention to the plight of migrants was one of his chief aims.

For his part, Trump added that the Islamic State terrorist group’s primary goal was to destroy the Vatican.

“If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS ... I can promise you that the pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been president because this would not have happened,” Trump said, using an alternate acronym for the group. “ISIS would have been eradicated unlike what is happening now with our all-talk, no-action politicians.”


Horsey: The ‘curiously weird’ views of GOP voters

The Republican Party establishment knows it is only a matter of time before the kookiness among their constituents ruins their brand, but they are helpless to stop it. They are riding a wild and crazy bull and cannot jump off without the high risk of being stomped into the dirt.

— David Horsey, political commentator and cartoonist

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Marco Rubio gets South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s endorsement. Will it help?

The gap between Marco Rubio’s promising candidacy and his sluggish standing in the polls has frustrated Susan Milam, a working mom from Sumter who has backed him from the beginning.

But that might change with popular Republican Gov. Nikki Haley’s endorsement of the Florida senator.

Haley and Rubio began barnstorming the Palmetto State on Thursday, providing Rubio with a crucial lifeline days before voting begins. Polls show nearly half of South Carolinians are still making up their minds before Saturday’s GOP primary election.

“This election is about the future, and the future is now,” Haley, the daughter of Sikh immigrants from India, said in a new ad Thursday. “I trust Marco to bring a conscience to the Republicans in Washington.”

Donald Trump continues to lead in the state, followed by Sen. Ted Cruz. Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and the others have struggled to catch up.

The governor’s support is not just intended to bolster Rubio’s candidacy, but to position South Carolina as a firewall halting Trump’s momentum. The billionaire so far has taken the lead in the early voting states, scooping up needed delegates for the party’s nomination.

Milam say she appreciates the 44-year-old Rubio’s personal story as the son of Cuban immigrants.

“He just seems so presidential,” the lumber company financial clerk said after listening to him speak this week in Gilbert, S.C. “Up until recently, he hasn’t gotten the support that he should get.”

Team Rubio has targeted voters like her, bringing his optimistic “new century” message to semi-rural, but well-heeled communities, that are often home to both a Wal-Mart and a Starbucks.

Rubio country tends to be populated by a younger generation of families like his own — working professionals with children. He gets laughs for one-liners about paying off his student loan debt and pledging to end ‘70s-era disco. His strategy here appears to model his focus in Iowa on the suburbs around Des Moines, where he won a strong third place finish in this month’s caucuses.

“He’s the most well-balanced,” said Michael Greene, a retired graphic artist who moved to Aiken, S.C., from New York a few years ago.

But not everyone is impressed, especially after an earlier debate performance when Rubio was mocked for repeating the same answer to a question, bringing criticism that he is robotic.

“I don’t think Rubio’s going to stack up,” said Nick Stratton, a contractor from Walterboro, who is going with Trump.

“He doesn’t have the age,” Stratton said. “Twenty years from now, he’s probably going to be somebody.”


Donald Trump leads, Jeb Bush slides in new South Carolina poll


We’ll sure try


Clinton’s Nevada closing message to DREAMer: ‘Let me do the worrying’

A 10-year-old’s fear over her parents’ deportation is part of an emotional closing message for Hillary Clinton’s campaign ahead of Saturday’s Nevada caucuses.

In a new 60-second spot that the campaign says will appear on state airwaves and online, Clinton embraces the young girl after she shared her concern over a letter of deportation, and tells her: “I’ll do everything I can to help.”

“You have to be brave for them,” Clinton tells the girl. “They don’t want you to worry too much. Let me do the worrying.”

The ad encapsulates two key parts of Clinton’s message that she has struggled at times to get across to voters -- that she cares about their problems and that she’s the candidate who can help solve them.

The Clinton campaign says the exchange came during a meeting in Las Vegas on Sunday that Clinton had with DREAMers, young immigrant activists who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.


Wrapping up Wednesday’s GOP town hall: Cruz, Carson against Apple

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson both say Apple should help the FBI uncover encrypted data on a cellphone belonging to the San Bernardino attackers, while Florida Sen. Marco Rubio called Apple’s refusal to meet the demand a complicated problem without a “magic solution.”

The three Republican presidential candidates laid out their views in a televised town hall Wednesday night that pushed them to answer questions from voters, but because each appeared separately, the forum featured none of the sharp exchanges that have characterized the GOP debates during the 2016 election.

Rubio said the government and Apple needed to work together but admitted he did not have an easy answer.

“There has to be a way to deal with this issue,” Rubio said. “I don’t have a magic solution for it today … but I do know this: It will take a partnership between the technology industry and the government to solve this.”

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Here’s why political pros are scratching their heads over Nevada

In the ocean of polling that has come to define presidential campaigning, with new numbers released seemingly every hour, there has been but a trickle from Nevada.

More precisely, there have been just two publicly released surveys ahead of Saturday’s Democratic caucuses, according to the aggregators at RealClear Politics.

Both reflect what has become the common wisdom here in Nevada: A state once seen as something close to a lock for Hillary Clinton has suddenly grown very competitive, with Bernie Sanders riding a strong wave of momentum after a near-tie in the Iowa caucuses and his crushing victory in New Hampshire’s primary.

Polling is a mix of art and science. Even the best surveys involve a degree of educated guesswork, assuming, for instance, the likelihood of certain voters — women, young people, Latinos — turning out. The horse-race numbers, or candidate match-ups, are then weighted based on those estimates.

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