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The Latest: Clinton calls for 'new bargain' on economy

WASHINGTON (AP) β€” The Latest on campaign 2016 (all Eastern Standard Times): 3:30 p.m. Hillary Clinton says the nation needs a "new bargain" to create better-paying jobs, pointing to Michigan as an example of manufacturing success. Clinton was speaking at Detroit Manufacturing Systems, which...

WASHINGTON (AP) β€” The Latest on campaign 2016 (all Eastern Standard Times):

3:30 p.m.

Hillary Clinton says the nation needs a "new bargain" to create better-paying jobs, pointing to Michigan as an example of manufacturing success.

Clinton was speaking at Detroit Manufacturing Systems, which makes instrument panels for cars. She says the corporations need to do right by their communities and the nation, employers should treat workers "like assets to be invested in" and the government shouldn't reward greed and special interests.

Clinton is campaigning in Michigan ahead of the state's primary next Tuesday. She has built a lead among delegates against rival Bernie Sanders.

The Democratic presidential candidate is proposing a so-called "clawback" of tax benefits for companies that ship jobs overseas, which would rescind tax relief and other incentives intended to encourage domestic investment.


3:15 p.m.

"You will not beat Donald Trump by smearing him," John Kasich is telling conservative activists gathered in suburban Maryland.

The crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference cheers when Kasich asks whether they like his "positive campaign."

Kasich is discussing his time in Congress and how he has governed in Ohio, emphasizing that he won over all types of voters, including union members and minorities.

"Don't wait for somebody to show up to fix the problems β€” fix them yourselves," Kasich is saying in remarks tailored to the younger activists in the room.

Kasich is one of four presidential candidates scheduled to speak Friday and Saturday. Donald Trump has declined to attend.


1:45 p.m.

Donald Trump says that he understands that the U.S. is "bound by laws and treaties" and he will not order U.S. military officials to violate or disobey those laws if elected president.

Trump said in a statement Friday that he will "use every legal stop these terrorist enemies," but recognized the need for restraint under international law.

His statement Friday follows an open letter written by leaders in the Republican foreign policy and national security committee pledging to oppose Trump's candidacy, in part, because of his "embrace of the expansive use of torture," and other controversial views.

Trump has repeatedly said that he will bring back the use of waterboarding and "a hell of a lot worse," and that he would target the wives and children of suspected extremists.

At the GOP debate in Detroit Thursday, Trump insisted that they are "chopping off people's heads" in the Middle East, noting that any reluctance to embrace waterboarding in such circumstances is wrong.

"Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Gen. Patton are in their graves right now spinning in their graves," Trump told ABC News on Thursday.


1:30 p.m.

A Florida judge is dismissing a suit demanding that Republican presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz be taken off the March 15 ballot in Florida's GOP primary because they are not "natural-born citizens."

Michael Voeltz, a registered Republican voter from Broward County, filed the suit against Rubio and Cruz.

Cruz was born in Calgary, Canada, to an American mother and Cuban father. Rubio is a U.S. citizen by birth. He was born in Miami to Cuban immigrant parents.

Alex Burgos, a Rubio campaign spokesman, described the lawsuit Friday as "ridiculous."

Broward County Judge John Bowman said Voeltz showed no evidence he was being harmed and that, like anyone else, could exercise his right to vote.


12:55 p.m.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is trying to cast himself as the GOP's conservative savior as party insiders look for an alternative to Donald Trump, an irony considering his years spent fostering a reputation as an outsider willing to anger fellow Republicans, as well as Democrats.

Cruz, a candidate who has railed against the "Washington cartel," is arguing now for a big-tent GOP after his stronger-than-expected performance on Super Tuesday.

Cruz made the pitch for unity to a nationwide audience in Thursday's Republican debate in Detroit. He argued that his four victories, in Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma and Alaska, make him a more viable candidate than Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who managed to win just Minnesota and faces a nearly impossible road to securing the nomination outright.


12:50 p.m.

Campaigning in Kansas ahead of Saturday's caucus, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio affirmed that he would support Donald Trump in November of the billionaire businessman wins the GOP presidential nomination.

Rubio told a few hundred supporters that Trump's nomination would "split" the party. And he repeated his assertions that Trump is not qualified "to be commander-in-chief."

Asked later how he could reconcile those statements with a pledge to back Trump as nominee, Rubio told reporters, "Because that's how bad Hillary Clinton is."

The former secretary of state currently leads Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in Democratic delegates.


12:25 p.m.

Sen. Bernie Sanders' call for free higher education is resonating on an Illinois college campus facing deep cuts in state funding amid an eight-month budget impasse that has led to widespread layoffs at other state schools.

The Democratic presidential candidate spoke Friday morning at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where the primarily student audience packed a 4,000-seat campus basketball arena, including on the gym floor and outer hallways.

Sanders touched on familiar campaign themes, calling for campaign finance reform, marijuana decriminalization and increased corporate taxes.

Southern Illinois is among the schools that have had to front state scholarship money to students to cover expenses in the current school year as Rauner and Democratic-majority state lawmakers remain unable to agree on a budget for the fiscal year that began in July 2015.


12:20 p.m.

Donald Trump has decided not to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference, according to the group's Twitter account.

Trump was scheduled to speak Saturday morning at the gathering of conservative activists in suburban Maryland. The four other GOP presidential contenders are still slated to attend.

The American Conservative Union, which holds CPAC, wrote: "Very disappointed @realDonaldTrump has decided at the last minute to drop out of #CPAC -- his choice sends a clear message to conservatives."

Trump's campaign says in a statement that he will be holding a rally on Saturday in Kansas, followed by one in Orlando, and therefore will not be able to attend the conference.

The statement says Trump looks forward to attending next year, "hopefully as president of the United States."


12:15 p.m.

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is attacking rival Donald Trump over his flexible stance on immigration.

Cruz also criticized Trump for saying during Thursday's Republican debate that he would get advice on foreign affairs from Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations. He called Haass a "liberal client" of Democrat Hillary Clinton.

"That was a fairly extraordinary admission," Cruz said.


12:02 p.m.

Marco Rubio is in Kansas on Friday trying to balance his offensive against GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump with an overarching promise of a better future for a struggling nation.

Addressing a few hundred supporters at a Topeka airport Friday, Rubio warned Trump's nomination would "split the Republican Party" and "end the... conservative movement."

Rubio avoided the most personal insults he and Trump have traded recently, but he told potential caucus-goers that "what (Trump) says he is and what he'll do is not the same thing."

The front-runner's message "accentuates the most dangerous instincts in humanity," Rubio says.

Trump should not have the "power to send your ... sons and daughters off to war," Rubio argued.

Kansas will caucus Saturday, alongside three other states holding nominating contests.


12:00 p.m.

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio told a Kentucky sports radio host he does not regret his petty attacks about the size of Donald Trump's hands, but added if he did have regrets, it would be "because Jesus would be embarrassed by it."

Rubio's quip about Trump's hands led to a crass remark from Trump during Thursday night's debate when the Republican front-runner defended his sexual prowess on live television. Rubio spoke to Kentucky Sports Radio, the state's largest sports talk show, one day before Kentucky Republicans cast votes in the first presidential caucus since 1984.

Rubio told host Matt Jones that Kentuckians' votes matter and that he believes politics will never be the same after this election cycle. He said Trump has dangerously divided the Republican party.


11:30 a.m.

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is attacking rival Donald Trump for softening his stance on H-1B visas for highly-skilled workers.

Speaking to reporters before a rally Friday at the University of Maine, Cruz said Trump would allow immigrants to "take away our jobs."

The two clashed over the issue at Thursday's Republican debate in Detroit, with Cruz and other rivals accusing Trump of being flexible on the issue of immigration.

Cruz also criticized Republicans who view a brokered convention as a way to keep the nomination from Trump, calling the strategy a "pipe dream of the Washington establishment."

He said a brokered convention would be a disaster for the party and encourage a revolt from voters.


11:30 a.m.

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are set to attend the Rev. Al Sharpton's annual civil rights conference.

A spokesman for Sharpton's group, the National Action Network, announced Friday that both candidates will deliver speeches at the April event in New York.

Sharpton has not offered an endorsement in the race. He met with both Clinton and Sanders in New York last month.

President Barack Obama has previously attended the annual conference but will not this year.

But several members of his cabinet, including Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, and Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, will attend.

The conference, which will mark the National Action Network's 25th year, will begin April 13.


11:15 a.m.

The leader of the Republican party is saying it's highly unlikely that the presidential primary will be decided at a contested convention in July.

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, is pushing back on a rough plan outlined Thursday by past GOP nominee Mitt Romney to deny controversial businessman Donald Trump the nomination. Trump is leading the primary race.

Priebus is speaking in suburban Maryland at the Conservative Political Action Conference. The audience of conservative activists booed when Romney's speech was mentioned and applauded at the idea there will not be a contested convention where party leaders tip the scale to one candidate or another.

After saying "the odds of a contested convention are very small," Priebus waved off the efforts to undermine Trump. "People can do what they want to do," he says. "It's a strategy that people can use. I would suggest that it's better to win."


11:00 a.m.

Saturday's round of Republican nominating contests has a twist candidates didn't get to enjoy in many Super Tuesday states: It'll be even easier to walk away with delegates.

In Kentucky, candidates with at least 5 percent of the statewide vote get delegates (the same threshold for delegates awarded within congressional districts). In Kansas and Maine, the bar is 10 percent. Louisiana (statewide 20 percent threshold) has no threshold at all for congressional district delegates.

That's key for Republicans who want to deny front-runner Donald Trump the 1,237 delegates required for nomination. But it could further muddy the water if Ohio Gov. John Kasich swipes delegates from Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio.

The two senators are third and fourth in the delegate standings.

Several Super Tuesday states had 20 percent thresholds making it far more difficult.


10:55 a.m.

Donald Trump says a violent episode involving a protester at one of his rallies "was amazing to watch."

The Republican presidential front-runner told a Warren, Michigan audience on Friday that he's tired of political correctness when it comes to handling protesters. He was interrupted several times during his remarks by yelling protesters, as he often is at his events.

During one interruption, Trump said, "Get him out. Try not to hurt him. If you do I'll defend you in court."

He then recalled an incident at a New Hampshire rally where a protester started "swinging and punching." Trump said some people in the audience "took him out."

"It was really amazing to watch," he said.

Police are investigating at least two alleged assaults against protesters at a recent Kentucky rally.

One, captured on video, involves a young African-American woman who was repeatedly shoved and called "scum."


10:45 a.m.

Groups backing Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for president had at least $20 million on hand at the beginning of February.

And a spokeswoman says some of those super PACs are now combining resources and working together to raise even more money.

Originally, wealthy families each controlled their own group, all with different versions of the name Keep the Promise.

But with time left to make a difference growing short, they're now operating as a single group.

One exception is Keep the Promise II, a group that as of last month is still sitting on most of $10 million given by multimillionaire energy investor Toby Neugebauer.

That money is on top of the $13.5 million Cruz's campaign had available at the beginning of the month. That is more than twice what Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's campaign reported and far more than Ohio Gov. John Kasich's $1 million. Billionaire Donald Trump writes his own checks to pay for his campaign.


10:25 a.m.

After a raucous and β€” at times β€” crass debate in Detroit, Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio is spending Friday looking for votes in Kansas.

One of four Saturday nominating contests, Kansas offers 40 delegates of the 155 in play this weekend.

Rubio trails second-place Ted Cruz in delegate count, and both men are well behind front-runner Donald Trump after the billionaire businessman won seven primaries on Super Tuesday to go with his three victories in February.

The Rubio campaign continues to argue that the Florida senator can reach the required 1,237 delegates required for the GOP nomination. The more likely best-case scenario for Rubio is that he and Cruz together earn enough delegates in the coming weeks to keep Trump from reaching the majority threshold.

That would set up an unpredictable Republican convention in July, when delegates at the Cleveland gathering would have to choose a nominee in open voting.


8:40 a.m.

Every Republican primary voter in Ohio has two opportunities to vote for president, in a ballot twist that's only escalating the potential confusion caused by the party's large and fractious field of candidates.

GOP ballots for the March 15 primary feature two boxes for president, one for designating an at-large presidential delegate and one for designating a delegate for the voter's congressional district. It's a carry-over from a time when Ohio's Republican vote was divided proportionally, rather than in the winner-take-all fashion being used in 2016.

The Secretary of State's office says both boxes will be tallied. However, Republicans say only the at-large vote will count.

Further complicating matters? Ballots still list 11 Republican at-large presidential candidates and up to 10 district candidates. Only four remain in the primary race.