The Latest: Cruz calls for Guantanamo expansion, not closure

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on campaign 2016 on the day of the Nevada Republican caucuses (all times as Eastern Standard Time): 1:50 p.m. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz says the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, should not be closed as President Barack Obama has proposed. Instead, the Republican...

              Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump reacts while meeting with supporters at a campaign rally Monday, Feb. 22, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on campaign 2016 on the day of the Nevada Republican caucuses (all times as Eastern Standard Time):

1:50 p.m.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz says the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, should not be closed as President Barack Obama has proposed.

Instead, the Republican presidential hopeful said during a campaign stop Tuesday in Fernley, Nevada, that the facility should be expanded to house more terrorists.

Cruz says shutting down the Guantanamo Bay facility will result in the release of terrorists who will ultimately need to be recaptured. Cruz says he fears Obama may also turn Guantanamo Bay back over to the Cuban government.

The Obama administration on Tuesday sent Congress its plan to shut down the detention center and relocate detainees to a U.S.-based prison.

Cruz also joked about Obama's planned visit to Cuba next month, saying "it wouldn't be a terrible thing if he just stayed."


1:05 p.m.

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders says Wall Street and billionaire campaign donors have an unfair advantage in the U.S. and it will take a "political revolution" to lessen their political clout.

Speaking Tuesday to thousands of supporters at Norfolk's Scope arena, Sanders rarely mentioned rival Hillary Clinton, reiterating his belief that she was wrong on the NAFTA trade deal and is too close to Wall Street campaign donors.

Virginia is one of several states holding its primary on the so-called March 1 Super Tuesday. While preference polls have shown Clinton doing well in the moderate swing-state, the Sanders campaign says it is confident with a week to go until the contest.

Clinton recently began running TV ads in Virginia and former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to campaign on her behalf in Northern Virginia and Richmond on Wednesday.


12:45 p.m.

Supporters of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump are stressing to potential caucus-goers that they won't need to stick around for hours, like in Iowa, to cast their ballots Tuesday evening.

"Do you know you can vote and go, you don't have to wait around?" Trump volunteer Walter Seip, 74, a retired army colonel, told rally-goers as they lined up for a Trump event last night at a Las Vegas hotel and casino.

"Name of the game is you drive people in there to vote for Trump," he explained.

Trump's son, Eric, stressed the same message in a Twitter post that was re-tweeted by his father Tuesday morning: "Nevada remember you can "Vote and Go" - walk in vote and walk out!" he wrote.

Trump has made no secret of his disregard for the caucus system since coming in second in Iowa. He's argued that traditional primaries offer a more accurate gauge of a candidate's support.


12:40 p.m.

Nevada's influential Mormons aren't being taken for granted in the state's Republican presidential caucuses Tuesday.

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints only account for 4 to 5 percent of the population in Nevada, where the first white settlers were Mormon and the faith's bastion sits across the state line in Utah.

But they are politically involved, apt to turn out and perched at the highest levels of Nevada's political structure. They made up about a quarter of the electorate in the 2012 GOP caucuses won by Mitt Romney, a Mormon, according to voter surveys.

Many influential Mormons have flocked to Marco Rubio, a Floridian who was part of the church for a few childhood years when he lived in Las Vegas. Rubio now is a practicing Catholic and still has relatives in the state.

Ted Cruz, too, played for Mormon support, particularly to a subset of conservatives most concerned that changes on the Supreme Court could erase religious liberties.


12:15 p.m.

The former campaign spokesman for Ted Cruz says he is going to keep supporting the Texas senator as a voter, but he no longer works on the campaign in any capacity.

Rick Tyler was asked to resign on Monday by Cruz after he tweeted a story that falsely accused White House hopeful Marco Rubio of insulting the Bible.

Tyler confirmed to The Associated Press on Tuesday in a series of text messages that he did indeed resign when asked by Cruz. He says, "I am no longer on the Cruz campaign."

Tyler declined to comment on the incident, but did say he would continue to support Cruz "as a voter."

Cruz was forced to steer away from his campaign message on Monday, the day before the Nevada caucuses, addressing the Tyler situation and saying he had no choice but to seek his resignation.

Donald Trump accused Cruz of being disloyal.

Trump wrote on Twitter, "He used him as a scape goat-fired like a dog! Ted panicked."


12:00 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took her sharp criticism of Wisconsin auto parts maker Johnson Controls Inc. from the campaign debate stage to the airwaves.

The Clinton campaign began airing a new television spot in the Duluth, Minnesota market Tuesday that slams the suburban Milwaukee manufacturer, claiming it took a bailout from taxpayers years ago when the auto industry was unstable and is now moving its headquarters to Ireland as part of its merger with Tyco International — a move she says "shirks" its tax liability in the U.S.

The automotive sector of Johnson Controls, one of Wisconsin's largest companies, had $20 billion in sales last year.


11:40 a.m.

As Republicans in Nevada prepare to caucus for their picks for a GOP presidential nominee, Ohio Gov. John Kasich is telling lawmakers in Georgia the strength of the United States rests in its people, not in its government.

He's speaking before both the Georgia House of Representatives and Senate Tuesday ahead of the state's primary on Super Tuesday.

Kasich tells lawmakers that "you're Americans before you're Republicans and Democrats," adding that "We can fight, we can argue, but it should never be personal because the people of our state, our community and our country depend on us."

Kasich's appearance at the Georgia State Capitol is the first of three scheduled in the Atlanta area. He also plans to hold town halls at Kennesaw State University and Sandy Springs City Hall.


11:15 a.m.

Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio is criticizing President Barack Obama's effort to close the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay.

Rubio says voters have the right to be frustrated and points to Obama's move as one reason why. "This makes no sense to me," he told a morning rally in Las Vegas Tuesday, with hours to go before the Nevada caucuses get under way.

Rubio says Obama may return the land to Cuba. "We're not giving back an important naval base to an anti-American communist dictatorship," Rubio says.

He adds that the Guantanamo prisoners don't belong on U.S. soil. "These are literally enemy combatants." Rubio promises that he will ship terrorists to Guantanamo when he's president.


10:45 a.m.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is toughening his position on whether the more than 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally should be found and deported.

Cruz said in a Fox News interview late Monday that anyone living in the U.S. illegally should be sought out and deported. That marks a shift for Cruz who said last month while campaigning in Iowa that he opposed dispatching a special force to deport undocumented immigrants. Instead, Cruz said then they would be caught through existing law enforcement agencies.

Cruz told CNN in January, "I don't intend to send jackboots to knock on you door and every door in America. That's not how we enforce the law for any crime."

But in Monday's interview on Fox, Cruz was asked whether he would send federal law enforcement officers to the home of an immigrant known to be living in the country illegally.

Cruz says, "You'd better believe it." But he says there is no ability to do that now because the U.S. doesn't have a biometric exit-entry system to know when someone has overstayed their work visa.


10:00 a.m.

Filmmaker Spike Lee is endorsing Bernie Sanders for president in a South Carolina radio ad.

Arguing, in Sanders' words, that the "system is rigged," Lee praises Sanders for not taking money from corporations in the ad. And in a reference to one of his early films, Lee says that once in the White House, Sanders will "do the right thing."

Lee also notes that the Vermont senator participated in the march on Washington and protested segregation in Chicago public schools.

A writer, director and actor, Lee's films include "Do the Right Thing," and "Malcom X." His most recent movie "Chi-Raq" is about gun violence in Chicago.

Lee endorsed President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.


9:30 a.m.

The lone outside group making a concentrated effort to stop Donald Trump from becoming the Republican presidential nominee is circulating a memo in hopes of netting new big donations - or encouraging the four remaining GOP candidates to take on Trump more directly.

Our Principles, a super political action committee that spent $3.5 million on commercials and other voter outreach in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, on Monday put out the memo titled "Defeating Donald Trump and his Conservatism of Convenience."

Katie Packer, the Republican strategist leading the group wrote which, in the memo, said Tuesday that Our Principles is deciding over whether to attack Trump through a costly national media plan or to target him in key March 1 states.