back to top

Developing...

Live Updates: Trump Dominates In South Carolina As Rubio Takes Second

BuzzFeed News reporters Ruby Cramer, Evan McMorris Santoro, Adrian Carrasquillo, and Politics Editor Katherine Miller are in Nevada for the Democrats. McKay Coppins, Rosie Gray, and Tarini Parti are in South Carolina for the Republicans.

Originally posted on
Updated on

Here's what's happening:

  • Donald Trump handily won the South Carolina Republican primary on Saturday.
  • Hillary Clinton narrowly defeated Bernie Sanders in the Nevada caucuses.
  • Jeb Bush, an early favorite, suspended his campaign after his poor showings in South Carolina and New Hampshire.
  • Marco Rubio was projected to edge out Ted Cruz for second place.
  • It was a lively week building up to the contests — Donald Trump had beef with Pope Francis; Clinton signaled a big shift in her priorities toward immigration; Rubio got surprising endorsements in South Carolina, and a legal battle between Apple and the FBI is now a factor in the race.

Updates

Posted at

Sen. Marco Rubio took second place in South Carolina on Saturday in what was a razor thin lead over fellow freshman Senator Ted Cruz, the Associated Press reported.

A third-place finish for Cruz would be major test of a campaign strategy in which the South had been seen as a firewall. Still, with Cruz and Rubio forming the new top three, they both tried to position themselves as the only Republican who can beat Donald Trump in the primaries.

Both senators could prove meaningful as the race continues in Nevada and beyond, and as Republicans look for an alternative to Trump, who handily won the South Carolina primary.

"I'm the only candidate who has beaten, and can beat, Donald Trump," Cruz said, referring to the Iowa caucus, after the polls had closed.

For his part, Rubio told his supporters Saturday night that "this has become a three-person race and we will win the nomination."

Posted at

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Ted Cruz's disappointing finish in the South Carolina primary could be a decisive moment in his campaign and raises doubts about his strategy of winning big in the South.

The Cruz campaign has repeatedly signaled that the South would be a bulwark of their strategy for winning the nomination, and South Carolina served as the first test of that. The result here could presage what may happen in the March 1 "SEC primary" that will make or break Cruz's campaign, which is centered around winning evangelical voters in conservative places.

But Cruz's team is downplaying the loss, emphasizing Cruz's previous win in Iowa and arguing that the stakes were higher here for Rubio, who appears to have eked out a second place finish over Cruz.

"This breaks open after Nevada, that SEC primary where the real delegates are going to be awarded," said former South Carolina Attorney General Charlie Condon, one of Cruz's endorsers in the state, in an interview with BuzzFeed News earlier on Saturday.

— Rosie Gray

Posted at

Ben Carson's campaign is touting their candidate winning just as many delegates as every candidate but first-place Donald Trump.

Carson finished dead last in South Carolina. He received zero delegates.

From the campaign:

"With only three states casting votes for the Republican presidential nomination, Dr. Ben Carson stands as one of only five candidates remaining of the original 17, and received as many delegates in South Carolina as all other candidates but the winner."

¯_(ツ)_/¯

Posted at

Striking a defiant tone, Ted Cruz told a crowd of supporters in South Carolina, where he is in a tight primary race with Marco Rubio for second place, that he is the only consistent conservative candidate who can defeat Donald Trump and the eventual Democratic nominee.

Cruz railed against the so-called Washington establishment.

"Now we are effectively tied for second place, but each time we are defying expectations," Cruz said to long applause and cheers. "Indeed, the screaming you hear now from across the Potomac is the Washington cartel in full terror that the conservative grassroots are rising up."

Cruz took time to praise Jeb Bush, who announced he was dropping out of the race Saturday night. Cruz also held a moment of silence for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, whom he called a "ferocious defender of the Constitution and Bill of Rights."

"As Ronald Reagan was to the presidency, so too was Justice Scalia to the Supreme Court," Cruz said. "His passing one week ago today underscores the enormous stake of this election."

Cruz said Justice Scalia's replacement will not be decided by the "Washington power brokers" and said this election "will be a referendum on the Supreme Court."

"And I will tell you this," Cruz continued. "I cannot wait to stand on the debate stage with Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders or whatever socialist they nominate, and make the case against their radical interpretation of the Constitution."

Cruz said his campaign has defied expectations because grassroots conservatives have rallied behind him, "despite the millions of dollars of false and nasty attacks, and despite the entirety of the political establishment coming out against us."

"If you are a conservative, this is where you belong, because only one strong conservative is in a position to win this race," Cruz said.

Cruz said his is the only campaign that has beaten and can beat Donald Trump.

"Now, I congratulate Donald on his victory, but I say this to the people of America," Cruz said. "If you don't believe Donald Trump isn't the best candidate to face Hillary Clinton, if you believe we need a strong contrast against the Democrats, then we welcome you to our team."

Posted at

In his speech on Saturday night, Marco Rubio said that after South Carolina, the race for the Republican nomination is a three-person contest.

"After tonight, this has become a three-person race and we will win the nomination," Rubio told his supporters.

As results were still coming in, Rubio was neck-and-neck with Ted Cruz in a race for second place. Earlier in the evening, Jeb Bush had announced he was suspending his campaign.

Rubio, who was the target of many negative ads from the super PAC affiliated with Bush, paid tribute to the former Florida governor in his speech.

"I have an incredible affection and admiration not just for Gov. Bush, but for his family and for their service to our country," Rubio said. "Jeb Bush has many things to be proud of. He's an extraordinary husband, he's an extraordinary father, he was the greatest governor in the history of Florida. And I believe and I pray that his service to the country has not yet ended."

Nodding to Gov. Nikki Haley and Sen. Tim Scott, who joined him on stage, Rubio said the new generation of conservatives were ready to reinvigorate the country — much like Ronald Reagan had done.

He said he would fight for single mothers, working class fathers, adding he had come from the similar beginnings.

"In the 21st century, we conservatives will fight for you," he said.

Posted at

Trump took to the stage with his family in front of a crowd of supporters in Spartanburg, South Carolina chanting "U-S-A! U-S-A!"

Calling the people of South Carolina "special," Trump opened his speech by reminding the crowd that he had gotten a major boost from his win in New Hampshire, a win he said he hoped to carry over the next caucus.

"Whether we got to Dallas, or whether we go anywhere you say, our people are incredible," Trump said, adding, "we expect to do very, very well."

Trump then invited his daughter, Ivanka, and his wife, Melania, to say a few words, with Melania Trump telling the crowd her husband would be the "best president."

Despite a few jeers from the crowd, Trump congratulated Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio on their campaigns, saying that the process of running for president it, "tough, nasty, mean, vicious, beautiful. When you win, it is beautiful."

Trump did not mention Jeb Bush, who moments before Trump took the stage, announced he was suspending his candidacy.

The Republican frontrunner appeared confident about his odds in Nevada.

"We're going to Nevada — I lead with the Hispanics!" Trump said. "I'm leading with every poll with the Hispanics. They love me, I love them."

Posted at

A year after being the Republican frontrunner, Jeb Bush has dropped out of the presidential race in South Carolina.

The former Florida governor entered the race with high polling numbers, but he struggled once he actually declared his candidacy — particularly as Donald Trump rose in the polls.

On Saturday, Bush told supporters he had made his decision after the voters of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina had spoken.

"Tonight, I am suspending my campaign," he said onstage in South Carolina.

"Yeah, yeah," he said after people gasped in the audience.

Bush thanked family members, supporters, and volunteers, emphasizing ideas and conservatism onstage.

"I have put forth a vision for American that includes all, because our country deserves a president for everyone," he said.

Bush called on Republicans to back a president who showed leadership, conservative policies, and humility.

"With strong conservative leadership, Republicans can win back the White House," he said.

Posted at

On Saturday, Bernie Sanders supporters chanted "English only!" at a longtime labor and Latina activist, two neutral sources unaffiliated with either campaign told BuzzFeed News.

Dolores Huerta, the activist, is a Clinton supporter and said on Twitter that she was offering a Spanish-language translation in Las Vegas at Harrah's casino.

— Evan McMorris-Santoro and Adrian Carrasquillo

Posted at

Donald Trump emerged victorious in South Carolina early in the night on Saturday, strengthening his position ahead of the Nevada caucuses and Super Tuesday.

Trump got a stronger than expected challenge from freshman senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, who have been jockeying to stay within arms reach of the brash businessman as the primary season nears an all-important March packed with contests.

Meanwhile, Jeb Bush — the heavily favored candidate early on — appeared to turn in another weak performance, failing to break into even the top three as the results continued to come in Saturday night. It was not immediately clear how a fourth place finish would affect his campaign moving forward.

Rubio and Cruz are currently jockeying for second and third place, which could prove meaningful as the race continues in Nevada and beyond, and Republicans look for a Trump alternative.

Katherine Miller and Jason Wells

BREAKING: Donald Trump wins the Republican primary in South Carolina. @AP race call at 7:29 p.m. EST. #Election2016 #APracecall

Posted at

Polls have closed in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary, where the six remaining candidates are are vying to better position themselves ahead of Super Tuesday.

Marco Rubio secured a high-profile endorsement from South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley earlier this week. Meanwhile, questions loom about Jeb Bush's electability, and his performance in South Carolina has been viewed as a make-or-break situation.

Donald Trump had a lively week ahead of the primary, with comments from Pope Francis about building border walls being un-Christian grabbing headlines.

Aaron Edwards

Posted at

Bernie Sanders told supporters that Saturday's Nevada caucus was a sign of momentum and a signal of future victories to come.

Sanders focused the speech on his rise in the polls over the last five weeks and said his campaign was on track to achieve a political upset in securing the Democratic nomination.

"What this entire campaign has been about is the issue of momentum, is the issue of bringing more and more people into the political process," Sanders said.

Sanders hit on the issues that have been the core part of his campaign: a corrupt campaign finance system, an economy serving only the wealthiest Americans, and an unjust criminal justice system.

"The American people are catching on," he said.

Sanders said the he is now looking ahead to Super Tuesday, when he said he believed he would win several states.

"We have come a very long way in 9 months," he said. "It is clear to me and I think most observers that the wind is at our backs. We have the momentum."

Posted at

Hillary Clinton declared victory in Nevada Saturday, thanking supporters gathered at Las Vegas' Caesar's Palace Hotel.

Taking the stage with her husband, Clinton told her supporters that she was "thrilled and grateful" for their efforts.

"I want to congratulate Senator Sanders for a hard won race out here. I thank each and every one of you, who turned out in every corner of this state with determination and purpose," said Clinton.

Clinton addressed her younger supporters, telling students, "I know what you're up against… you need help with the debt you already have," and telling her older supporters she wanted to see the system fixed so they could enjoy the retirement they "deserved."

Clinton also spoke of her hope that Nevada could one day become the clean energy capital of the U.S., saying, "Somewhere some country is going to be the clean energy superpower of the coming century. It could be China, or Germany or us, and I want it to be us. "

Clinton, in a veiled shot at Sanders, said the U.S. wasn't a "single issue country."

"If we listen to the voices of Flint and Ferguson, if we open our hearts to the families of coal country and Indian country, if we listen to the hopes and heartaches of hardworking people across America, it's clear that there is so much more to be done," she said. "The truth is, we aren't a single issue country. We need more than a plan for the big banks, the middle class needs a raise and we need more jobs."

Posted at

Moments after Bernie Sanders conceded the Nevada caucuses to Hillary Clinton here, his campaign blasted out a text message to supporters that seemed to leave South Carolina out.

"Wow! We helped Bernie narrow a 40-point gap to just a few points in Nevada," the text read. "Let's prepare for Super Tuesday. Reply GIVE to contribute $10 from your phone bill."

Super Tuesday is the shorthand for the 15 caucuses and primaries that take place on March 1.

Read more here.

Evan McMorris-Santoro

Posted at
w.soundcloud.com

Ted Cruz said on Friday that by supporting the impeachment of former president George W. Bush, Donald Trump joined "the crazy fevered swamps of the radical left."

"Just a few years ago, Donald was supporting impeaching George W. Bush. Indeed on the debate stage on Saturday, he continued to support impeaching George W. Bush," Cruz said. "Now under the Constitution, the standard for impeachment is high crimes or misdemeanors. Donald Trump doesn't even pretend to lay out that he meets the constitutional standard for impeachment. And you know, impeaching George W. Bush? That was the theory pushed by Michael Moore, by the crazy fevered swamps of the radical left."

Cruz went on to criticize Trump for supporting John Kerry over George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election.

"We don't need a president who agrees with Michael Moore, Jimmy Carter and John Kerry," the Texas senator said. "And I would note in 1980, Donald supported Jimmy Carter over Ronald Reagan. In 2004, Donald supported John Kerry over George W. Bush."

Trump donated to both Bush and Kerry that cycle and said that he liked both candidates.

Chris Massie

Posted at

Sanders Congratulates Clinton On Nevada Caucus Win

In a statement, Sanders said he had spoken to Clinton to congratulate her. He added he was proud of the gains his campaign had made over the last weeks.

"I am also proud of the fact that we have brought many working people and young people into the political process and believe that we have the wind at our back as we head toward Super Tuesday. I want to thank the people of Nevada for their support that they have given us adn the boost that their support will give us as we go forward."

Posted at

Not every voter was able to make it to the Nevada caucuses that began on Saturday morning and instead were stuck at work.

The Nevada caucuses have strict time constraints for voters to participate. Check in began at 11 a.m. PT and voters had to be in line by 12 p.m. PT in order to caucus. Many people's work schedules prevented them from participating.

Read more here

Rosalind Adams

Posted at

Hillary Clinton defeated Bernie Sanders in the Nevada caucus Saturday, strengthening her position heading into South Carolina's Democratic primary.

With more than 60% of caucuses reporting, Clinton led Sanders 52.2% to 47.7%. But Clinton's close-call victory in Nevada was a far cry from what her campaign had previously considered a firewall to Sanders' momentum, which has continued to gain steam in recent months as the young and disaffected gravitate to his populist message.

In a message to his supporters, Sanders said he was "proud of the fact that we have brought many working people and young people into the political process and believe that we have the wind at our back as we head toward Super Tuesday."

With a win in Nevada, Clinton now looks ahead to the Feb. 27 South Carolina primary with more steam behind her message on Sanders: That the Vermont senator's appeal is limited to a relatively narrow swath of voters.

As opposed to New Hampshire and Iowa, the Nevada caucus is seen as a more accurate assessment of a candidate's appeal to a more diverse electorate, and thus, the rest of nation. Nearly half of Nevada's transient population is non-white: 28% Latino, 9% African American, and 9% Asian-American / Pacific Islander, according to Nevada State Democratic Party.

— Jason Wells and Aaron Edwards

To everyone who turned out in every corner of Nevada with determination and heart: This is your win. Thank you. -H

Posted at

Bush Says Rubio Was Scared Of Taking Tough Questions At Conservative Conference

w.soundcloud.com

Jeb Bush says Marco Rubio bailed on speaking at the Conservative Review conference in Greenville on Thursday because he was afraid of being booed.

"I appreciate you asking me tough questions because Marco Rubio didn't even show at an event because he was fearful of getting booed and I love tough questions," Bush told South Carolina radio host Vince Coakley on Friday evening. "That's why I'm running."

Rubio had been scheduled to speak at the event but cancelled last minute citing scheduling conflicts.

The Cruz campaign quickly jumped on Rubio for skipping, saying the Florida senator wasn't a conservative.

Andrew Kaczynski

Posted at
w.soundcloud.com

Ben Carson says that Donald Trump's and Marco Rubio's empathy for him is disingenuous, and that they are only acting like they care about him for their own benefit.

Trump and Rubio have come to Carson's defense after Ted Cruz's campaign incorrectly told voters during the Iowa caucuses that Carson was suspending his campaign and that his supporters should vote for Cruz.

But in an interview on the Armstrong Williams Show on Tuesday, Carson dismissed their support.

"Well of course they're not concerned about me," Carson said chuckling. "You know, everything that a politician does is politically expedient. It's done for, you know, their own benefit or for their purpose. That's one of the reasons I'll never be a politician. I believe that there's a right and a wrong way to do things."

Nate McDermott

Posted at

Precinct Settles Tie By Drawing Cards

Pahrump precinct chair Peggy Rhoads with the cards drawn in tied Precinct 10. Hillary's ace beat Bernie's six.

Caucus goers in Pahrump, Nevada, were split evenly between Clinton and Sanders — so under caucus rules, the precinct chair settled the tie by drawing cards.

Aces are high, so the precinct is now officially called for Clinton.

Posted at

Jeb Says "Washington Elites" Hold Rubio To A Different Standard

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

Jeb Bush says that he believes that conservative media and Washington elite hold Marco Rubio to a different standard than himself and other candidates.

In an interview on Friday with John Bachman and J.D. Hayworth on Newsmax, Hayworth reported that Ted Cruz and Donald Trump have criticized Fox News for having a pro-Rubio bias, and asked Bush if he believed Fox was promoting Rubio, and why.

"I don't know," Bush said initially, before continuing, "I think the Washington elites and the folks that kind of are the establishment elite of the of the media in Republican hierarchy, you know, they have had a different standard for Marco than other candidates."

Bush went on to say that he isn't bothered being held to higher expectations, and that it would only strengthen his campaign.

"But that's okay. Look, I have higher expectations on myself than others do. So it doesn't bother me a bit. I know this is a test; in order to do well you have to beat expectations. But this test only sharpens you for the general election, and that only sharpens you to be president. So, whatever the conditions are, life's not always entirely fair, but you have to put on your big boy pants and go into battle."

Nate McDermott

Posted at

LAS VEGAS — Bernie Sanders supports a $15 federal minimum wage. Hillary Clinton supports a $12 federal minimum wage.

So Sanders supporters were flummoxed hours before the caucuses began Saturday when members of the massive SEIU union were handing out flyers that said Clinton is also a supporter of the $15 wage.

The issue is a big one for the labor movement, which in general supports the $15 wage. Clinton has said she supports $12 because it has a chance of succeeding in Congress. She does support efforts by municipalities and states to raise the wage beyond $12 in a piecemeal fashion across the country. Sanders has used his full-throated support for a $15 flat minimum wage across the country to rally union members to his cause. Clinton has in part used her promised electability in a general election to rally many labor union leaders to her cause.

The SEIU is a perfect microcosm of this phenomenon. The union is one of the biggest boosters of a $15 minimum wage, but the national leadership backed Clinton, while one of the few SEIU locals permitted to make its own presidential endorsement backed Sanders.

The SEIU flyer in uses Clinton's own words to strongly suggest she backs the $15 minimum wage.

"Across the country, thousands of low-income workers, with the support of SEIU and others, have come together to fight for $15 an hour and the right to form a union. I strongly support those efforts," the flyer reads, quoting a February Clinton Medium post.

The sentence before that sentence in the Medium post: "As president, I will work to raise the federal minimum wage back to the highest level it's ever been — $12 an hour in today's dollars — and support state and local efforts to go even further."

The national SEIU says fair play.

"You should remember that the Fight for 15 movement which SEIU strongly supports IS NOT a federal minimum wage campaign, it's a movement of workers fighting for big corporations, like McDonalds, to do the right thing and pay their workers $15 and the right to form a union," Sahar Wali, national communications director for the SEIU told BuzzFeed News.

Evan McMorris-Santoro

Posted at

Results began trickling in at the Nevada Democratic Caucus website just after 1 p.m. PT.

With 12% of precincts reporting, the candidates were neck and neck.

The website, however, crashed shortly after results started to stream in, then came back up, then crashed again.

Posted at

NORTH LAS VEGAS — On Friday night, just hours before the Nevada caucus, Noticias Univision Nevada ran a promo previewing a big get: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were both going to come on live in the 8 a.m. hour in a last minute pitch to get their Latino supporters to show up and caucus.

The problem is the Sanders campaign said they never confirmed an appearance.

Sources at the studio in the morning said the station was scrambling an hour before the broadcast with word that Sanders was not showing up. They decided instead to run an old interview of Sanders to fill the key hole in their show.

The station sent a statement to BuzzFeed News taking responsibility for the mixup.

"Noticias Univision Nevada extended invitations to both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders to appear on our program this morning. Mr. Sanders' campaign notified us that he was unable to attend the program. Mr. Sanders did not cancel. We opened our program this morning noting that Mr. Sanders was unable to join us and that we would be airing a previously recorded exclusive interview with Mr. Sanders. We regret any confusion regarding the promo that ran Friday night."

Clinton appeared to be the winner of the situation, going on air to torque up her promise that she would work on immigration in the first 100 days of her presidency. She said would tell Congress on day one that she wanted to work on immigration. She also took a shot at the mix up with Sanders, telling viewers that she has always been there and will always show up.

Adrian Carrasquillo

Posted at

For much of the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump has touted his early opposition to the Iraq War as evidence of his foreign policy judgment.

"I think it is important because it is about judgment. I didn't want to go into Iraq, it is about judgment. Because what I said, you're going to destabilize the Middle East and that's what happened," Trump said in a September debate, asserting that he was against the war before it began.

Some of Trump's past statements, unearthed by BuzzFeed News, contradict his narrative that he was against the war before it began. Trump offered tepid support in September 2002, answering a question from Howard Stern on whether he would invade Iraq by saying "Yeah, I guess so." And one day into the war, Trump still called the invasion a "tremendous success from a military standpoint."

Trump did, however, express concerns about the invasion of Iraq by late March 2003 and repeatedly throughout the year. But many of his comments suggest he still supported aspects of the war, such as the toppling of Saddam Hussein. In April 2004 — again, in an interview on Howard Stern — Trump emerged as a staunch opponent of the war, and began to push the idea he was never a supporter, claiming, "I was never a fan."


Read more here.

Chris Massie, Megan Apper, and Andrew Kaczynski

Posted at

Photo Shows Young Bernie Sanders Being Arrested During Civil Rights Protest, Campaign Says

.@chicagotribune confirms this photo making the rounds is Bernie Sanders in 1963 https://t.co/SMSZYZ4Tqj

A recently emerged photo shows Bernie Sanders being arrested during a 1963 protest, his campaign confirmed on Friday.

The photo was unearthed by the Chicago Tribune newspaper.

Some are saying that it proves Sanders' long record on civil rights — an issue Hillary Clinton has tried to claim as her own.

the smile on Bernie's face is amazing. his civil disobedience arrest in 08/1963 #tytlive @TYTNation https://t.co/lYRVvjfzp0

— Vito James [DMTYT] (@VJDMT) February 20, 2016

Bernie in 1963 being arrested protesting segregation and not going quietly into into the night? https://t.co/mG5G6zXu0p

— Brad Swift (@BradOnPurpose) February 20, 2016

The photo was taken during a civil rights protest against segregation in Chicago schools.

Sanders was charged with resisting arrest and paid a fine of $25, according to the Chicago Tribune.

—Rosalind Adams

Posted at

Donald Trump Dismisses His Past Support For Iraq Invasion

buzzfeed-video1.s3.amazonaws.com

Donald Trump, confronted on Fox & Friends Saturday morning with evidence unearthed by BuzzFeed News that he supported the invasion of Iraq and talked up the threat of Saddam Hussein possessing WMDs, downplayed his own past statements and continued to argue he was an early and loud opponent to the war.

In his 2000 book, The America We Deserve, Trump wrote Iraq developing WMDs was "a threat" and Saddam Hussein had incentive to attack us. Trump said taking out Saddam wouldn't be crazy if we decided it was necessary:

Asked about this, Trump answered, "how would I know, I was a civilian, I was a businessman. I read the papers like everybody else, and the government was talking about weapons of mass destruction."

Read more here

—Andrew Kaczynski

Posted at

Hours before the Nevada caucuses began, America Ferrera addressed a rally of Hillary Clinton supporters on Friday night in Las Vegas, telling them just how much she supported the Democratic candidate.

"I'd just like to Netflix and chill with Hillary," Ferrera told audiences, according to ABC News. "I have a strong feeling we'd be BFFs if you just gave me a chance."

Read more here

—Rosalind Adams

Posted at

Jeb Bush: Trump "A Vulgar Man"

w.soundcloud.com

"I never expected profanity to be used in public. Donald Trump is, apart from not really being a conservative, he's also a vulgar man," Jeb Bush said on The Morning Report Friday.

Posted at

RENO, Nevada — Susan Sarandon is worried about Saturday's Nevada caucuses.

"I'm so begging you to be tough during these caucuses and to know your rights and know how it works," the actor told a crowd of Bernie Sanders supporters at The Nugget casino on Friday afternoon. "Because I can't figure it out."

"This is so complicated as far as I'm concerned," she said.

Ahead of Saturday's caucuses, people are worrying about something really going wrong here in Las Vegas. First the party was concerned about having enough volunteers. Now, conspiracy theories abound, and the fear that Nevada will look like the mess earlier this month in Iowa is haunting both Democratic campaigns. In Iowa, the complicated structure and tight result led to the image of an election being decided by a series of coin flips.
Read more here

— Evan McMorris-Santoro and Adrian Carrasquillo

Posted at

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A group that Heidi Cruz sat on the board of voted in 2014 to support a LGBT rights ordinance in Texas of which other Cruz family members had been implicitly critical.

Last year, the HERO anti-discrimination ordinance in Houston failed at the polls after public discussion of the bill devolved into controversy over transgender individuals' use of public restrooms.

The Greater Houston Partnership, a Chamber of Commerce-esque business association in Houston, voted unanimously in support of the measure when the mayor proposed it in 2014, according to the Houston Chronicle.

On the board of the Greater Houston Partnership: Heidi Cruz, Goldman Sachs investment manager and wife of Ted Cruz.

A spokesperson for the Cruz campaign said Heidi Cruz is no longer a voting member of the Partnership because of the campaign.

Read more here.

— Rosie Gray

Posted at

HENDERSON, Nevada — Bernie Sanders sounded pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty confident at his final rally before caucus day here Friday night.

The event was an open-air concert, and the Sanders campaign said 2,300 people showed up. When Sanders took the stage, the whole place was feeling the Bern — Sanders chief among them.

"I have a feeling, folks, we're going to make history tomorrow," Sanders said. "It could well be that in ten, twenty or thirty years from now people may well look back and what happened in Nevada and say this was the beginning of the political revolution."

Evan McMorris-Santoro

Posted at

LAS VEGAS — The progressive-leaning Working Families Party endorsed Sanders in December and has been a big part of his grassroots army ever since. In advance of Saturday's caucuses, the group dispatched more than 70 activists into Nevada from California to help canvas for Sanders.

WFP spokesperson Joe Dinkin emails:

"WFP had a bus leaving from the Bay Area to canvass in Reno today. We had 40 confirmed RSVPs. 71 people showed up. We had to rent a second bus to bring everyone. ... We have 100+ people in two busses traveling from NYC, NJ and DC to spend the entire weekend in SC."

Evan McMorris-Santoro

Posted at

What Happens In Vegas...

I'd like to Netflix and chill with Hillary, America Ferrara just informed us here in Las Vegas.

Posted at

Trump Favorably Recounts Awful (And False) Story About Mass Executions Of Muslims

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

Donald Trump, speaking about the need to go further to stop the threat of terrorism at a rally in North Charleston, South Carolina, on Friday, recounted a story about General John Pershing killing 49 Muslims with bullets soaked in pig's blood.

The story is mere myth, and there's no historical evidence to corroborate the tale.

Trump, who offered up the story as fact to his supporters, said it showed that the U.S. needed to get tougher on terrorism.

Here's the full text of Trump telling the Pershing story:

"You know, I read a story, it's a terrible story, but I'll tell you. Should I tell you, or should I not? Earlier in the century, last century, General Pershing, did you ever hear, rough guy, rough, guy. And they had a terrorism problem. And there's a whole thing with swine, and animals, and pig's, and you know the story. OK, they don't like that. And they were having a tremendous problem with terrorism, and by the way this is something you can read in the history books, not a lot of history books, because they don't like teaching this. And General Pershing was a rough guy. And he sits on his horse, and he's very astute, like a ramrod, right. And the era was early 1900s. And this was a terrible problem. They were having terrorism problems just like we do. And he caught 50 terrorists who did tremendous damage and killed many people. And he took the 50 terrorists, and he took 50 men, and he dipped 50 bullets in pig's blood. You hear that, right? He took 50 bullets and he dipped them in pig's blood. And he had his men load his rifles and he lined up the 60 people, and they shot 49 of those people. And the fiftieth person, he said 'You go back to your people and you tell them what happened.' And for 25 years there wasn't a problem, OK?"

"So we better start getting tough. And we better start getting vigilant, and we better start using our heads, or we're not going to have a country folks."

h/t MSNBC'S Benjy Sarlin

Posted at
Bernie Sanders once railed against the effects of the 2007 immigration bill and its guest-worker program on American workers and wages, and seemed to lament the lack of sanctions on employers for hiring undocumented immigrants in a video posted to what was then his Senate website."Unfortunately, the guest-worker provisions in this bill, which will bring many hundreds of thousands of lower-wage workers into this country will only make a bad situation even worse," Sanders says in the video."I believe we have very serious immigration problems in this country," he said, later in the video. "I think as you've heard today, sanctions against employers who employ illegal immigrants is virtually nonexistent. Our border is very porous."
Posted at

CENTRAL, S.C. — With hours to go before the Palmetto State primary and mounting pressure on Jeb Bush's campaign to drop out if he underperforms, former First Lady Barbara Bush made one last push on behalf of her son: "This country is in great need, and Jeb's the one to take care of it."

"These other men are smart," said Bush, now 90 years old, who campaigned alongside her son on Friday. "But they don't have the same background that Jeb has."

At a high school here — from where Bush's top surrogate in the state Sen. Lindsey Graham graduated — the former Florida governor and his allies warned South Carolina against giving Donald Trump anymore momentum.

"We're living in dangerous times, and you can't say crazy stuff," Bush said as he made his last pitch. "Mr. Trump doesn't realize this, because people are watching, and as president you can't do crazy things."

Bush typically talks about his handling of several hurricane and typhoons in Florida on the campaign trail. On Friday, Graham told the crowd about Bush taking on a different kind of storm — "Typhoon Trump."

"The most hot air in the history of typhoons," Graham joked about the party's current frontrunner.

Ahead of the primary, Bush has had to dismiss reports that his campaign is running out of money. Although a fourth-place finish in New Hampshire gave the campaign some momentum heading into South Carolina, donors have been getting restless in recent days, even as the campaign has brought out former President George W. Bush to campaign and used him in ads.

The campaign has maintained that they're in it for the long haul, and just before his last event in South Carolina released a schedule for campaign stops in Nevada, following Saturday's primary.

But Bush might have accidentally given those listening closely for signs of the campaign ending more evidence as he wrapped up his stump speech here on Friday at his last South Carolina event.

"Thank you for allowing us to close out our campaign here," he said to loud applause.
–Tarini Parti

Posted at

WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. — Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson went on a long tangent about sexually transmitted diseases and talked about getting "laid" at a Ted Cruz rally on Friday.

Robertson, who has endorsed Cruz and appeared with him at several campaign stops over the past few weeks, warned the audience about sinning and talked about the spread of HIV in an airport hangar rally hosted the by pro-Cruz super PAC Keep the Promise.

Robertson's ideal scenario: "Clean man, clean woman, they marry, they keep their sex between them."

"They won't get a sexually transmitted disease," he said.

Robertson then referred to getting "laid" while talking about sinning.

"You all have sinned in many ways, so have I," Robertson said. "You say, Phil you ever been high, been drunk, and been laid?"

Robertson has a penchant for controversial statements and made headlines in January by saying at a Cruz rally that same-sex marriage is "evil."

A&E put Duck Dynasty on hiatus in 2013 after Robertson made offensive comments about "homosexual behavior" in an interview with GQ (A&E later reinstated the show).

Robertson also said that both he and Cruz were "just like" several founding fathers.

"He's a Bible man. He's a Jesus man. No different from our founding fathers," Robertson said.

"We're just like George Washington, Cruz and I both, we're just like him, we're like Thomas Jefferson, he believed in Jesus. We're like John Adams, James Madison," Robertson continued.

When Cruz took the stage, he praised Robertson and floated the idea of appointing him U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.

"Phil is a man who's unafraid," Cruz said when he came onstage. "Here's a thought experiment for you: imagine Phil Robertson as ambassador to the United Nations. Let me just ask you, how much would you pay to see that?"

Rosie Gray

Posted at
Two rows of students warmly greeted Rep. Jim Clyburn when he walked into Allen University's student center on Friday morning to endorse Hillary Clinton — perhaps the most significant endorsement of her campaign, delivered here on a historically black campus.

Clyburn didn't bother to be introduced by a student or constituent. It was just him, his speech, the cameras — and something about the occasion being as good as any to skip a class.

"And I believe," he said, launching into his central applause line, "that the future of the Democratic Party and the United States of America will be best served with the experiences and know how of Hillary Clinton as our 45th president."

But there wasn't any applause.

Many of the students in the room told BuzzFeed News that they are, in fact, supporting Bernie Sanders.
Posted at
Donald Trump, faced with his own words from 2002 that directly contradict his claim he opposed an Iraq invasion early on, told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Thursday night he opposed the war by the time it started.

But in an interview with Fox News' Neil Cavuto one day into the Iraq invasion, Trump did not express his opposition to war, and said it appeared to be "a tremendous success from a military standpoint."

Trump predicted the war would continue to be great for Wall Street.

— Andrew Kaczynski

Posted at

Trump Calls For A Boycott Of Apple Over Encryption Battle With FBI

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com
At a rally in South Carolina, Trump said, "First of all, Apple should give the security for the phone…OK. What I think you ought to do is boycott Apple until such time that they give the security number. Boycott Apple."

He went on to say that the iPhone in question wasn't even owned "by this young thug that killed all these people."

He later tweeted that he uses an iPhone, but if Apple didn't help the FBI, he would only use his Samsung.

— Tasneem Nashrulla

Posted at
Jeb Bush said on Friday that Donald Trump's shifting position on the Iraq War, show's he's untrustworthy and not stable.

BuzzFeed News reported that, in a 2002 interview with Howard Stern, Trump said that he supported an invasion of Iraq. Trump has repeatedly claimed in debates and interviews over the past year that he opposed the invasion before the war started.

In a radio interview with Kelly Golden in Charleston, South Carolina, Bush responded to the report, saying, "So he did say he was for the war. He also said that my brother lied; he also said that Nancy Pelosi should have impeached my brother. So he's all over the map. He's not stable, he doesn't have a steady hand."

— Nathan McDermott and Andrew Kaczynski

w.soundcloud.com
Posted at
Speaking on Friday to a crowd featuring many young-looking Nevadans at Elko High School, he showed off just how surprising that appeal can be sometimes. Or maybe how unsurprising it is?

"I know that some of your friends say, 'what? you went to a political meeting? Get a life!'" Sanders said, starting off a standard chunk of his stump speech calling on young voters to buck the prevalent apathy toward politics.

"But I want you to look them right in the eye and tell them I said this," Sanders went on. "If they think that not getting involved in the political process is cool, if they think that not voting is really hip, I want you to–"

Sanders paused for a moment and looked around the room.

"Is that a word we still use?"

Evan McMorris-Santoro

Posted at
The Republican primary hasn't had many easy openings for a candidate to separate himself and stand alone on a policy issue. Ted Cruz found one earlier this month: the draft.

The idea of making women eligible for the selective service was "nuts," "wrong," and "immoral," he first told a crowd Peterborough, New Hampshire, the day after several Republicans said women should be eligible during a debate.

Here in South Carolina — where he's facing tough poll numbers in a critical election and hoping to appeal to both evangelicals and to military families — Cruz has made the issue a feature of his stump speech.

"As a father of two daughters, mark my words, we are not going to be drafting our daughters into combat roles," Cruz said at a rally in Columbia on Tuesday afternoon.

—Rosie Gray

Posted at

In 2002, Donald Trump Said He Supported Invading Iraq

For months, Donald Trump has claimed that he opposed the Iraq War before the invasion began — as an example of his great judgment on foreign policy issues.

But in a 2002 interview with Howard Stern, Donald Trump said he supported an Iraq invasion.

In the interview, which took place on Sept. 11, 2002, Stern asked Trump directly if he was for invading Iraq.

"Yeah, I guess so," Trump responded. "I wish the first time it was done correctly."

—Andrew Kaczynski and Nathan McDermott

w.soundcloud.com
Posted at
South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn plans to endorse Hillary Clinton, according to one campaign source and a second Democratic source.

Clyburn's is one of the most coveted Democratic endorsements in South Carolina, where Clinton is currently polling better than Bernie Sanders. After BuzzFeed News reported on Clyburn's plans, The State reported that Clyburn will endorse Clinton on Friday.

Clyburn originally intended to remain neutral through the South Carolina Democratic primary like he did in 2008. However, in recent weeks, the third-ranking Democrat in the House has indicated he might instead become involved in the race, citing pressure from immediate family members, who are Clinton supporters.

—Darren Sands

Posted at
Donald Trump is calling Pope Francis "disgraceful" and "a pawn" for questioning his Christian faith.

During a news conference Thursday held during his flight from Mexico back to the Vatican, the pope answered a question about whether Catholics should vote for Trump, saying, "A person who only think about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian."

The pope said he wouldn't advise Catholics on who to vote or not vote for, but repeated, "I say only that this man is not Christian if he said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt."

Trump responded, saying "if and when" ISIS attacks the Vatican, the pope would have wished he were president.

—Kyle Blaine

Then Trump's spokesman pointed out that some of the Vatican is surrounded by walls. Read more here.

Posted at

In Major Shift, Clinton Says She Will Focus On Immigration In First 100 Days

Hillary Clinton for the first time said, if elected, she would deal with immigration in the first 100 days of her presidency at an MSNBC/Telemundo town hall — a significant and new promise on immigration, just two days ahead of the pivotal Nevada caucus.

Moderator Chuck Todd asked Clinton whether she would focus on immigration in her first 100 days, and Clinton again would not address the issue in those words, saying that she would immediately begin working on "priority legislation and immigration reform will be among those issues."

But answering a follow-up question from MSNBC's Jose Diaz-Balart on if she would commit to introducing immigration legislation in her first 100 days, Clinton said she would.

"This will be among it," she said, embracing the language she has thus far avoided, perhaps well aware of how Obama has been hit repeatedly on the left for not passing immigration legislation.

—Adrian Carrasquillo