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The Latest: Clinton dismisses questions on email controversy

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on 2016 presidential sweepstakes following primaries and caucuses Tuesday in Michigan, Mississippi, Idaho and Hawaii: 9:15 p.m. Hillary Clinton is dismissing questions about whether she'd drop out of the presidential race should her use of a private server while...

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on 2016 presidential sweepstakes following primaries and caucuses Tuesday in Michigan, Mississippi, Idaho and Hawaii:

9:15 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is dismissing questions about whether she'd drop out of the presidential race should her use of a private server while secretary of state result in a federal indictment.

"Oh for goodness and it's not going to happen," she says, responding to a question from moderator Jorge Ramos. "I'm not even answering that question."

Clinton insists she broke no rules by running her State Department email account from a private server located in her New York home, though she now calls the decision "a mistake." The messages were classified by government agencies years after she sent them, she says.

"I did not send or receive any emails marked classified at the time," says Clinton. "What you're talking about retroactive classification."


9:10 p.m.

Hillary Clinton says the primary campaign is a "marathon" and she will "work hard for every single vote" despite her loss to Bernie Sanders in Michigan.

Clinton was asked about her surprising loss to Sanders in Michigan's primary. She notes that she won in Mississippi and ended the night with more delegates.

Sanders is trailing Clinton among pledged delegates but he says in the "coming weeks and months" his campaign is going to do "extremely well." He says he can convince superdelegates that he's the strongest candidate to defeat Republican businessman Donald Trump.


9:08 p.m.

Hillary Clinton began her pitch to a Miami audience by reiterating her call to "knock down barriers."

In her opening remarks at the latest Democratic presidential debate Wednesday, Clinton said she is committed to raising incomes and creating good jobs. She also urged for improving education so that all children can benefit.

Her rival Bernie Sanders repeated his rally call to end "establishment politics and establishment economics," saying that the economy is "rigged."

He also vowed to create jobs and better wages if he is elected president.


9:05 p.m.

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump is escalating his attacks against rival John Kasich as the Ohio governor appears to be making gains.

Trump tells a crowd of thousands in Fayetteville, North Carolina that Kasich is an "absentee governor."

He says he expects to "do great, great, great in Ohio," which will be voting next week.

The attack comes as a new Fox Poll shows Kasich pulling ahead of Trump in Ohio.

Trump is also predicting a strong showing in Florida, home of rival Marco Rubio.

"It's going to be amazing," he says, adding: "I think we're going to have a fantastic week."

Trump was speaking to a crowd of thousands at a local hockey arena at a rally that was repeatedly interrupted by protests.


8:55 p.m.

The latest Democratic presidential debate is set to begin in Miami with host, Spanish-language network Univision set to quiz the candidates.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will face off Wednesday for the second time in a week, this time since Sanders' upset victory in the Michigan primary Tuesday night.

The two are now in a race to win the crucial upcoming contests in Florida and Ohio, Sanders' campaign saying the Vermont senator still stands a chance to win the nomination, despite Clinton's significant delegate lead.


8:50 p.m.

One of the most vocal groups opposing Donald Trump is pelting Ohioans with $1 million in commercials over the next five days.

They're paid for by Our Principles PAC, a collection of wealthy donors and GOP strategists who want to keep the controversial New York businessman from becoming the party's presidential nominee.

The new ads attack Trump as a jobs outsourcer. Indeed, as Trump has acknowledged, some of his products been made in countries such as China.

The group also is spending $2 million in Florida, according to advertising tracker Kantar Media's CMAG. Florida, where Trump rival Marco Rubio is a senator, and Ohio, where candidate John Kasich is governor, both weigh in Tuesday on the Republican primary.

Our Principles is supplementing its air war with voter calls and mail.


6:55 p.m.

Marco Rubio says he's "not entirely proud" of his deeply personal attacks on Donald Trump and would have handled his critiques of the GOP front-runner differently if he could do it all over again.

The Florida senator, whose standing has fallen since he launched the Trump attacks, says his own children were "embarrassed" by his actions.

Rubio garnered significant attention for criticizing Trump's tan, his hair and his hand size. But the attacks did little to slow the billionaire's march toward the nomination or boost Rubio's own standing.

In a town hall with MSNBC, Rubio says he knows the attacks are "not what we want from our next president."


4:45 p.m.

NASCAR chairman and chief executive Brian France says his personal endorsement of Donald Trump for president was nothing more than a "routine endorsement."

But he's been dealing with the fallout ever since.

France's decision to personally back the front-runner for the Republican nomination is roiling a sport his family built from the ground up. It's threatening a decade of work to broaden NASCAR's appeal among minorities, upset one of the most powerful teams in the sport and risked a break with the corporate sponsors that are its financial lifeblood.

France says of the reaction that he is "very surprised" that his efforts to foster diversity are being "called into question."

He says he's had conversations with sponsors since the endorsement, which came as NASCAR is seeking a new main sponsor for its top series.


4:10 p.m.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich says his turnout in the Michigan primary is indication that voters are "hearing my message."

Speaking in Palatine, Illinois Wednesday, Kasich said that his campaign "went from obliterated, where everybody counted me out to basically tied with Ted Cruz."

He said he expects to win the winner-take-all primary in his home state next week and pick up some delegates in the Illinois primary.

Kasich also said he has no idea what will be discussed at a meeting scheduled for Thursday with former GOP rival Jeb Bush, but that he would like the former Florida governor's endorsement.


4:10 p.m.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are heading into Wednesday night's debate with a far different vibe than when they last squared off just four days ago.

Sanders is riding high after his upset victory in Michigan while Clinton's camp is offering reassurances that she's still on track to claim the nomination.

With Florida offering the biggest prize in the next round of voting, the two campaigns began tussling over who's been a true advocate for Latinos and who's a friend out of political convenience even before taking the candidates took the stage for their eighth debate of the primary season.

Sanders said his Michigan triumph amounted to a public repudiation of establishment efforts to wrap up the primary and hand the nomination to Clinton.


3:30 p.m.

Senators who have endorsed colleague Marco Rubio for the Republican presidential nomination say they are still with him, but some are starting to sound less bullish after disappointing finishes in Tuesday night's primaries and caucuses.

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican who backs the Florida senator, said Wednesday he's sure Rubio "would have liked to have won some states."

Rubio failed to finish better than third four state contests.

Rubio's campaign has focused on next Tuesday's primary in his home state. When asked if it will be over for Rubio if he loses Florida, Flake said "I think everybody knows that."

Others stayed the course. North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis said he's "fully behind Marco."

"We will rebound by having a great day next Tuesday," said South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott.


3:07 p.m.

Bernie Sanders' campaign is claiming fresh momentum after the senator's upset victory in Michigan. But Hillary Clinton's campaign pointed to her growing delegate lead and predicted it would soon have an "insurmountable" advantage as the nomination fight looked to drag deep into spring.

Sanders' campaign manager Jeff Weaver Wednesday called Michigan a "game-changer" in the Democratic presidential contest and said it would bode well for the Vermont senator in primaries next week in Ohio, Illinois and Missouri. He vowed to contest the three Midwest states along with Florida and North Carolina, which also vote on March 15, a shift from a more selective approach in the Super Tuesday states earlier this month.

Weaver said the campaign is "running hard in all the states," pointing to Sanders' advertising in the five states.


2:37 p.m.

An aide with Jeb Bush's failed bid for the Republican nomination says the former Florida governor is meeting privately with all of the remaining GOP candidates, except front-runner Donald Trump.

The aide, who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak with the media, says Bush plans to meet with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio on Wednesday, and has scheduled meetings with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Thursday.

Bush and Trump engaged in heated confrontations throughout Bush's campaign, the two repeatedly referring to each other as "loser."

A number of GOP elites have spoken out against Trump's unorthodox candidacy, saying he does not offer a suitable representation of the party.


2:36 p.m.

Supporters of Ted Cruz in heavily Hispanic south Florida say it's not his Cuban heritage that draws them to him, but his conservative record.

Mercedes Garcia, 80, originally from Cuba and a self-described tea party backer, says in Spanish that she early voted for Cruz because he "is a man who will bring God back to America."

She says Marco Rubio, whom she voted for in 2010 when he ran for Senate, "turned his back on the tea party" when he joined the Gang of Eight in pushing their immigration reform bill. She called it "amnesty."

Palm Beach County resident Celia Garcia Menocal, also born in Cuba, has already voted for Cruz because he "respects the Constitution" and will "protect our religious freedom."

Her great uncle, Mario Garcia Menocal, was president of Cuba from 1913-1921.

Monica Aviles, of Pembroke Pines, said she had been supporting Ben Carson up until two months ago when she switched to Cruz because in part, he's for home schooling.

She said was thrilled to see Carly Fiorina endorse Cruz, calling her "a strong Republican."


1:50 p.m.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is barely mentioning GOP presidential rival Marco Rubio, even on the Florida senator's home turf hours before they debate.

Instead, Cruz introduced former candidate Carly Fiorina, who endorsed him at a campaign rally in Miami. Cruz then ripped GOP front-runner Donald Trump.

He said Trump would not nominate a conservative Supreme Court justice, but "seek compromise" with Democrats in Congress.

Recent polls in Florida show Cruz in third place trailing Trump and Rubio.


1:16 p.m.

Donald Trump says he has spent $30 million so far running for president, and his campaign manager says he's never getting that money back.

As Trump brags about "self-funding" his surging Republican bid, he has been lending ?— rather than giving —? money to his campaign. That has raised the question of whether his self-funding pledge has strings attached. Would he ever raise donor money to pay himself back?

Not a chance, says campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.

"He is not going to repay himself," Lewandowski said in an interview this week with The Associated Press.

Trump, it turns out, is following the standard practice of wealthy candidates who use their own money for presidential campaigns, a review of Federal Election Commission records shows.


1:12 p.m.

Hillary Clinton says she is "deeply concerned" by reports that Iran has tested ballistic missiles with the phrase "Israel must be wiped out" reportedly written in Hebrew on them.

State media reported that show of strength by the Islamic Republic as Vice President Joe Biden visited Israel.

The former secretary of state and current Democratic presidential front runner said in a statement Wednesday that the reported tests "constitute a blatant violation of Iran's UN Security Council obligations" and should result in sanctions against Iran.

She also called for Iran to make good on its promise to help locate and bring home American Robert Levinson, who disappeared nine years ago.


1:10 p.m.

Hillary Clinton's campaign manager says despite the loss in Michigan, she is moving closer to the number of delegates necessary to win the Democratic presidential nomination.

Robby Mook says in a call with reporters that while Clinton would have liked to win Michigan, she still ended the night with more delegates that rival Bernie Sanders because of her overwhelming victory in Mississippi.

He says that Clinton will compete hard in the five states that hold contests next week: Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Missouri and Illinois.

And Mook says the campaign is confident that they're nearing the point where their delegate lead will "effectively become insurmountable." The campaign notes that Clinton still holds a pledged delegate lead of more than 200 as the race enters mid-March.


12:55 p.m.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is laying out his plan to improve the economy during a town hall at a truck manufacturing company in the Chicago suburb of Lisle.

Several hundred people filled the atrium of Navistar Inc. for the first of two events the GOP candidate is holding in Illinois Wednesday. The state holds its primary on Tuesday.

Navistar's CEO says they worked with Kasich with grow their business at the company's plant in Springfield, Ohio.

Kasich says the key is to reduce regulations on businesses and lower corporate taxes. He says creating a business-friendly environment will help businesses create more and better jobs. Kasich says that's the best way to help poor people improve their lives.

Kasich also says he's optimistic about his chances to pick up delegates in Illinois as well as other upcoming states such as winner-take-all Ohio. And he says he plans to do "my level-best to continue to be positive."


11:54 a.m.

The Republican National Committee has filed two lawsuits in an effort to force the State Department release records related to Hillary Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State.

The RNC said in a statement Wednesday that the State Department "undermined the public and the media's legitimate right to records" under the Freedom of Information Act.

The records were previously requested from the State Department but said the Obama administration "failed to comply."

The State Department faces several dozen lawsuits demanding emails from Clinton and her top aides, who used accounts outside the system to conduct government business during her time in office.

State Department reviewers classified more than 2,000 emails, mostly at the lower "confidential" and "secret" levels.

Twenty-two emails were withheld entirely from publication on the grounds that they were "top secret."


10:30 a.m.

Former Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina says she is endorsing Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for president.

Speaking at a rally in Miami Wednesday, Fiorina called Cruz a "leader and reformer... willing to take on the status quo in Washington."

She roused a chorus of boos from the crowd when she mentioned front-runner Donald Trump and referred to the billionaire businessman and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton as "the system."

Fiorina ended her campaign in February after failing to earn enough votes in early voting states to take on leading GOP candidates including Trump, Cruz and Marco Rubio.


7:25 a.m.

Donald Trump won most of the delegates in Tuesday's contests but he still must do better to win the nomination before the Republican National Convention this summer.

Trump won three out of the four states that voted Tuesday. But Trump's lead over Ted Cruz in the race for delegates grew by only 15 delegates. That's because all four states awarded delegates proportionally, so even the second-place finisher got some.

Trump has won most of the states that have voted so far, but he is winning only 44 percent of the delegates. Cruz is doing worse, winning only 34 percent. It takes a majority of the delegates to win the nomination.

The delegate math highlights the importance of primaries in states like Ohio and Florida, which allocate all of their delegates to the winner. The two delegate-rich states vote next Tuesday.

In the overall race for delegates, Trump has 458 and Cruz has 359. Marco Rubio has 151 delegates and John Kasich has 54.

It takes 1,237 delegates to win the Republican nomination for president.


7:10 a.m.

Republican presidential candidate John Kasich is repeating his prediction that he'll win his home state of Ohio next week and predicts that "will be a whole new ball game" in the campaign sweepstakes.

Kasich says he did better in Michigan — finishing in third place closely behind Ted Cruz — than people expected he would do just weeks ago.

He tells ABC's "Good Morning America" in an interview that now "we are beginning to be heard and we are gaining."

He declares "we are still standing," even though the Ohio governor hasn't yet won a primary or caucus this season.

He adds that "the calendar has moved more to home-court advantage" and says that he's "really not that far behind" front-runner Donald Trump in overall support heading into next week.


6:56 a.m.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says there's a need for the party to unite around him, but argues that it isn't yet time for him to dial back his aggressive campaign style.

Celebrating victories Tuesday night in Michigan, Mississippi and Hawaii, the billionaire real estate declared Wednesday that "I am a uniter."

But he also says he was the victim of "vicious" campaign ads on behalf of his rivals last week and that "I didn't set the tone of negativity" in the race. Trump says he merely "fought back" and says he has to still run hard. He tells CNN's "New Day" show Wednesday that "I have to finish off the project." Trump adds that he expects Thursday night's GOP debate in Florida to be "a nicer, softer, lighter" event in the wake of his latest triumphs. Trump also revealed that he's had a "very conciliatory" conversation with House Speaker Paul Ryan.