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Analysis, background reports and updates from the PBS NewsHour putting today's news in context.

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    A customer reads a copy of Harper Lee's book "Go Set a Watchman" after purchasing it at a Barnes & Noble store in New York, July 14, 2015. "Go Set a Watchman," the much-anticipated second novel by "To Kill a Mockingbird" author Harper Lee, is the most pre-ordered print title on Amazon.com since the last book in the "Harry Potter" series, Amazon said. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson  - RTX1K9Y6

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally tonight: the loss of a literary legend reclusive in life, but renowned for crafting one of the great American novels.

    And to Jeffrey Brown.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Harper Lee was a little known writer living in New York when “To Kill a Mockingbird” was published in 1960. The book would win the Pulitzer Prize a year later, sell more than 30 million copies in 40 languages, and be read and loved by generations.

    Its fame grew with the 1962 film version starring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, father of the young narrator, Scout, and a lawyer in a segregated Alabama town who defends a black man against a rape charge.

    In a 1964 radio interview, Lee said this about “Mockingbird”‘s enormous success:

    HARPER LEE, Novelist: My reaction to it wasn’t one of surprise. It was one of sheer numbness. It was like being hit over the head and knocked cold.

    (LAUGHTER)

    HARPER LEE: I never expected that the book would sell in the first place.

    JEFFREY BROWN: But in the decades that followed, Lee did little or no talking. It was news when she went to the White House in 2007 to accept a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

    Instead, she lived quietly most of her life in the town of Monroeville, Alabama. And while readers waited, no other books came, until the surprise this past summer of “Go Set a Watchman,” a book described as written before “Mockingbird,” but only discovered and published 55 years later.

    It drew more readers, mixed reviews, and many questions about the circumstances of its writing and publication.

    Harper Lee died in her sleep last night. She was 89 years old.

    And joining us now is novelist and short story writer Allan Gurganus. His books include “Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All,” “Plays Well With Others,” and most recently “Local Souls.”

    Allan, welcome to you.

    What explains the popularity in the end of “To Kill a Mockingbird”?

    ALLAN GURGANUS, Novelist: I think it’s a fable about the extraordinarily difficult subject of race that presents itself with charm and a kind of innocence that makes the investigation acceptable and beguiling.

    I think the name Scout of the child is appropriate. She’s our representative in this strange moral morass that she finds herself in. And I think she’s spoken to a lot of people over the years.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And set in its particular time, when you think of both the historical qualities and for you, as a writer, its writing qualities.

    ALLAN GURGANUS: It’s a book with a lot of precision, a lot of poetic passages about small-town life that rings completely true, as somebody who grew up in a small town.

    But I think, ethically, the questions are strenuous and difficult and interesting. And that combination of giving us candy and salt at the same time has made the book so popular. It’s also short, which is great for junior high school readers.

    (LAUGHTER)

    ALLAN GURGANUS: But it manages to pull heartstrings and ask big, big questions.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Not to be underemphasized, the length of a book sometimes, right?

    What about Harper Lee the author?

    ALLAN GURGANUS: No, and especially for young people.

    JEFFREY BROWN: What about Harper Lee the author and the sort of — the mythology of the — that came to surround her as writing this one book, all but disappearing, people waiting endlessly for another book?

    ALLAN GURGANUS: I think she was a very shy, charming person used to living in a very small town, where everybody knew her, and the attention that she got when this novel came out and became a bestseller for 88 weeks was overwhelming.

    She was also protecting her private life, her sexual life, which is a decision that I respect. And she just made a decision not to go public. I think the pressure of following a book that wins the Pulitzer Prize can’t be overestimated.

    And she was — I think had set out to write a book that mythologized her father, her actual lawyer father, in a way that met her own standards. He still spoke to her after she had written the book. And she was pleased with what she had done. And I think her mission was in some ways complete.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And then, of course, there’s the “Go Set a Watchman,” a very strange episode, many questions that came about, whether it was an early draft of “Mockingbird,” whether she had agreed or should have agreed to its publication.

    What, in the end, do you think that we should take from that?

    ALLAN GURGANUS: I think every writer has two or three novels hidden away in drawers and closets that would ruin their literary reputation.

    And for somebody to come in late in your game and public those with only half of your permission may be a smart move in terms of moneymaking, but it was a devastating blow to her reputation.

    A lot of boys had been named Atticus, and people actually went to court to have their sons named changed when the Atticus in the second book turned out to be a conventional racist like the other people on the town council. So I think it was a mistake for her reputation.

    But the singular book that she will be remembered for is the “Mockingbird.”

    (CROSSTALK)

    JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. I was going to say, so, briefly, the legacy really, you just think, should be defined by one this book, but what a book it was.

    ALLAN GURGANUS: What a book it was.

    And to think that it came out in 1960, just before the huge riots and the German shepherds and the fire hoses in the South, I think it taught white America how to think about race. And we needed an innocent child to lead us into that difficult and complex subject.

    And it made the prophecy of what was coming palatable and easy to understand and digest. So, it served an extraordinary function, and it’s to be remembered and treasured, I think.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Allan Gurganus on the life and work of Harper Lee, thank you so much.

    The post Remembering the life and legacy of Harper Lee appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, speaks at a rally while campaigning with celebrity Phil Robertson at Springmaid Resort in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, February 19, 2016.  REUTERS/Randall Hill - RTX27PT5

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Presidential candidates in both parties are down to less than 24 hours until the next two critical contests.

    Today, they spent one last day trying to make their case, the Democrats in Nevada and the Republicans in South Carolina.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: The pope was great. He made a beautiful statement this morning.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: That was Donald Trump in Myrtle Beach today, taking a softer line after his flare-up with Pope Francis. The pontiff had said Trump is not a Christian if he advocates building a wall along the Mexican border.

    DONALD TRUMP: They had him convinced that illegal immigration was like a wonderful thing. Not wonderful for us. It’s wonderful for Mexico.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In turn, the Vatican said the pontiff’s comments were — quote — “in no way a personal attack, nor an indication on how to vote.”

    Trump, though, faced continuing attacks from his Republican rivals, while defending a lead that some polls suggest may be shrinking.

    Texas Senator Ted Cruz also campaigned in Myrtle Beach.

    SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), Republican Presidential Candidate: It’s easy to say make America great again. You can even print that on a baseball cap.

    (LAUGHTER)

    SEN. TED CRUZ: But the question to ask is, do you understand what made America great in the first place?

    FORMER FIRST LADY BARBARA BUSH: Jeb Bush.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: For another rival, Jeb Bush, tomorrow could be make-or-break.

    FORMER GOV. JEB BUSH (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: Thank you, mom.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: He brought along his mother, former first lady Barbara Bush, and took a decidedly humble tack.

    JEB BUSH: Thank you, lord, for allowing me to be a candidate, to be — to run for the presidency of the United States in the most extraordinary country on the face of the earth.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Democrats hold their primary in South Carolina next Saturday. And, today, Hillary Clinton picked up a critical endorsement. It came from Jim Clyburn, the state’s top Democrat and first black congressman since Reconstruction.

    REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D), South Carolina: A few people speculated that my head was with one candidate, and my heart with the other. That wasn’t the case at all. My heart has always been with Hillary Clinton.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Last night, both Clinton and Bernie Sanders appeared in a town hall in Las Vegas hosted by MSNBC and Telemundo. The night’s big focus, immigration. Sanders was asked to explain his 2007 vote against a comprehensive reform bill.

    SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), Democratic Presidential Candidate: Included in that legislation was a guest-worker provision, which organizations saw as almost akin to slavery. Guest workers came in, and if they didn’t do what their bosses wanted them to do, if they didn’t accept exploitation and cheating, then they’re going to be thrown out of this country.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And Clinton talked of continuing President Obama’s executive actions that defer the deportations of many undocumented immigrants.

    HILLARY CLINTON (D), Democratic Presidential Candidate: And I will do everything I can to make sure that they are kept in place. As you know, there’s a court action challenging them. I don’t know what’s going to happen now because of the Supreme Court situation. But I will renew them. I will go further, if it’s at all legally possible.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Both Clinton and Sanders stuck to stumping in the Silver State today, where the race is neck and neck. Democrats will caucus there tomorrow, as Republicans hold their primary in South Carolina.

    But the day wasn’t over without Trump making another controversial statement. He called for a boycott of Apple products until the tech company complies with an FBI order to unlock a phone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters.

    DONALD TRUMP: First of all, Apple ought to give the security for that phone, OK? What I think you ought to do is boycott Apple until such time as they give that security number.

    (END VIDEO CLIP)

    DONALD TRUMP: How do you like — I just thought of — boycott Apple.

    The post Candidates make last pitches as voting in South Carolina and Nevada nears appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio speaks during a campaign town hall at the Odell Weeks Activity Center in Aiken, South Carolina February 17, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Keane - RTX27F6H

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Although Trump seems to defy conventions, South Carolina history tells us one thing for sure. The Palmetto State has a unique brand of sharp-edged politics.

    Political director Lisa Desjardins reports.

    LISA DESJARDINS: The GOP race is down to six candidates, and they all know the saying South Carolina picks presidents.

    FORMER GOV. JEB BUSH (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: You all have the chance to reset the race. That’s what South Carolinians have done in the past.

    SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), Republican Presidential Candidate: And now South Carolina is going to play the role that it has always played in presidential race, the historic role of choosing presidents.

    GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R), South Carolina: We make presidents. Let’s make Marco Rubio the next president of the United States! God bless!

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    LISA DESJARDINS: The Palmetto State has voted for the eventual Republican nominee nearly every year since 1980 from Ronald Reagan to John McCain. The lone exception? Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in 2012.

    NEWT GINGRICH (R), Former Speaker of the House: We want to run not a Republican campaign. We want to run an American campaign.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    LISA DESJARDINS: A surprise win, but not enough to carry him to the nomination.

    Bruce Haynes is a Republican strategist who grew up in Florence.

    BRUCE HAYNES, Republican Strategist: South Carolina, in the past, has gone for more establishment types, strong leaders typically with a lot of experience in politics. But this time, we may be turning a different page.

    LISA DESJARDINS: He is referring, of course, to Donald Trump, who’s doubled down in South Carolina, with far more events per day than in Iowa or New Hampshire. He has the same strong words.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: Who’s the best on the border? It’s Trump. Who’s the best on the economy is Trump.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Voters here live with modern growth that is leaving some behind.

    BRUCE HAYNES: There’s a piece of the state that’s still catching up. The cut-and-sew textile plants have shut down and closed, and those jobs have gone overseas, which plays right into the message that Donald Trump is delivering about trade, about jobs and about China.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Meanwhile, Ted Cruz is counting on help from the state’s evangelicals.

    SEN. TED CRUZ: Father God, please, continue this awakening. Continue this spirit of revival. Awaken the body of Christ, that we might pull back from the abyss.

    LISA DESJARDINS: South Carolina is pivotal because of the calendar. It’s the first presidential vote in the South. But it is important because of numbers.

    In 2012, nearly 600,000 Republicans voted in the primary there. That’s more than Iowa and New Hampshire combined. One key part of the political landscape, the military. As many as one in six voters in the Palmetto State is current military or a veteran, and the candidates clearly know it.

    DONALD TRUMP: We are going to make our military so big, so strong, so powerful, nobody’s ever going to have to mess with us, folks.

    GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), Republican Presidential Candidate: Who could be complaining about anything, when you think about what these guys endured over there?

    SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), Republican Presidential Candidate: When I’m president, we’re rebuilding the U.S. military.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    LISA DESJARDINS: DuBose Kapeluck teaches political science at The Citadel and believes Trump’s tough talk gives him an advantage.

    DUBOSE KAPELUCK, The Citadel: The idea that if you poke the United States, we’re going to come back with full force, overwhelming force, and get the job done militarily and pull out, I think that is a sentiment that Trump expresses that resonates well with our people here in the military.

    LISA DESJARDINS: True even after Trump went on the attack against former President George W. Bush.

    DONALD TRUMP: The World Trade Center came down during the reign of George Bush. He kept us safe? That is not safe.

    (BOOING)

    DUBOSE KAPELUCK: You would expect veterans to be maybe inflamed about that and upset, but that didn’t really faze them. In fact, you saw some sympathy for that point of view, which was, I think, telling.

    LISA DESJARDINS: The state has a sharp reputation for what some would call political tricks. In just the past day, the Cruz campaign posted this photo that looks like Marco Rubio shaking hands with Barack Obama. But it is Photoshopped from a stock image that Twitter users found.

    The Cruz campaign later posted a different, undoctored photo, and said their candidate has been Photoshopped in others’ ads. And more tricks could still be ahead.

    BRUCE HAYNES: They come, frankly, on the weekend during the primary, so the other campaigns don’t have time to respond to these attacks.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Candidates now have just hours to try and survive the battle for South Carolina.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Lisa Desjardins.

    The post The sharp-edged politics that make South Carolina unique appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    WASHINGTON — In a hallowed place where popes have prayed and pilgrims have flocked, Washington is capping two days of official mourning for Antonin Scalia with a funeral Mass for the late Supreme Court justice.

    One of Scalia’s nine children, the Rev. Paul Scalia, was to lead the Mass on Saturday at the nation’s largest Roman Catholic church, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. It can hold at least 3,500 people.

    Paul Scalia, a Catholic priest serving the diocese of Arlington, Virginia, also planned to deliver the homily as politicians and powerbrokers, and friends and family joined in honoring one of the country’s most influential conservatives. No eulogy was expected.

    Antonin Scalia, 79, died last weekend at a remote Texas ranch. He had spent nearly three decades on the high court. Burial plans have not been announced.

    Among those expected to attend to Mass was Vice President Joe Biden, along with the eight Supreme Court justices.

    President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama were among the more than 6,000 people who paid tribute to Scalia at the Supreme Court on Friday. Scalia’s flag-draped casket rested on a funeral bier first used after President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.

    White House spokesman Josh Earnest pointed to Biden’s personal relationship with Scalia’s family and said Obama’s decision about the Mass was a “respectful arrangement” that took into account his large security detail.

    Scalia’s casket was to remain at the Supreme Court until early Saturday. In a court tradition, groups of his former law clerks took turns standing vigil.

    GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz planned to interrupt his campaign ahead of Saturday’s South Carolina primary to attend the Mass. The Texas senator has been among those urging the Senate not to consider replacing Scalia until after the November election. Obama has insisted that he will nominee a successor.

    Scheduled to give opening remarks at the Mass was Washington Archbishop Donald Cardinal Wuerl.

    Leonard Leo, executive director of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group, was to read a passage from the Old Testament, while Justice Clarence Thomas planned to read from the New Testament.

    Never before has a funeral for a Supreme Court justice been held at the basilica.

    Three popes have visited the basilica: Pope John Paul II in 1979, Pope Benedict XVI in 2008 and Pope Francis last year.

    The post Watch Justice Antonin Scalia’s funeral Mass appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Senator Ted Cruz (C) and former Vice President Dick Cheney (upper L) take their seats for the funeral Mass for Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington February 20, 2016. Photo By Doug Mills/Reuters

    Senator Ted Cruz (C) and former Vice President Dick Cheney (upper L) take their seats for the funeral Mass for Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington February 20, 2016. Photo By Doug Mills/Reuters

    COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Latest on the 2016 president election and two crucial contests Saturday: South Carolina’s Republican primary and Nevada’s Democratic caucuses (all times local):

    John Kasich’s presidential campaign is already claiming a victory of sorts in South Carolina.

    A top strategist, John Weaver, tells reporters that however the Republican candidate does in Saturday’s primary, Kasich’s showing will be enough to “drive somebody else out of the race.”

    Weaver says he’s expecting two candidates to drop out over the next week – including Jeb Bush. Weaver says that “for all practical purposes, there’s no path forward” for the former Florida governor.

    Kasich finished second in the New Hampshire primary, but the expectations are lower for his performance in South Carolina.

    The Ohio governor hasn’t ignored South Carolina, but he has focused resources on states in the Midwest and Northeast that host contests in March.

    10:45 a.m.

    Ted Cruz has taken time away from campaigning in South Carolina to attend the funeral Mass in Washington for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

    The Republican presidential candidate plans to be back in South Carolina later Saturday to await the results. Voting ends at 7 p.m.

    The Texas senator has a personal connection to the high court: In the late 1990s, he served as a law clerk for a year to then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist.

    10:10 a.m.

    Jeb Bush says he’s “excited where we stand” as he faces a critically important test in South Carolina’s Republican presidential primary.

    Bush says he’s going to “work hard for the day” and await results after the polls close at 7 p.m. He says “it’s interesting that a lot of people claim they’re undecided this late.”

    The former Florida governor entered the 2016 presidential race as an early favorite. But he may need a third-place finish – if not better – in South Carolina in order to remain a viable candidate.

    Bush tells reporters outside a polling location in Greenville that “to be able to beat expectations would be helpful. I think we’ll do that.”

    And his take on the prospects of a President Donald Trump? Bush says the billionaire businessman “can’t win, plain and simple.”

    9:15 a.m.

    Will there by a “Haley effect” in South Carolina’ Republican presidential primary?

    Jason Sims – a teacher from Mount Pleasant – says he made a last-minute decision to vote for Marco Rubio, and that Gov. Nikki Haley’s endorsement was “a big deal.”

    Sims say he was “kind of riding the fence” until Haley said she was backing the Florida senator.

    Rubio is trying to rebound after a disappointing fifth-place finish in New Hampshire – and he’s hoping the popular governor’s endorsement will be a big boost.

    Rubio wants to emerge as the go-to candidate for mainstream Republicans – and the chief alternative to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz in the race.

    8:40 a.m.

    There’s a lot of attention on Jeb Bush as South Carolina Republican vote in their presidential primary.

    The former Florida governor entered the 2016 presidential race as an early favorite. But he may need a third-place finish – if not better – on Saturday in order to remain viable in the race.

    Bush finished sixth in Iowa’s leadoff caucuses and fourth in New Hampshire.

    He’s trying to break out as the establishment alternative to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. But Bush has competition on that front, chiefly from Marco Rubio and John Kasich.

    Without a strong showing in South Carolina, the Bush campaign may have a hard time competing in Nevada next week and then in the large number of states voting on March 1.

    7:50 a.m.

    It’s a significant Saturday in the 2016 presidential campaign as voters in the South and the West get their first say in the race.

    Polls have opened in South Carolina for the Republican primary. Voting ends at 7 p.m.

    A Donald Trump victory could foreshadow strong showings in Southern states that vote on March 1 – when he could pile up the delegates that determine the nominee. Ted Cruz hopes his get-out-the-vote operation and lots of volunteers can help overtake Trump in South Carolina.

    Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush are fighting to establish themselves as credible alternatives.

    On the Democratic side, Nevada’s caucuses don’t get underway until 2 p.m. Eastern time. Hillary Clinton’s team is expecting a tight race with Bernie Sanders in a state the Clinton team once saw as a chance to start pulling away from the Vermont senator.

    The post Cruz attends Scalia mass, as GOP candidates set focus on South Carolina appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 08:  Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) (C) and members of the House GOP leadership, including Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) (L) and Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX), hold a news briefing following the weekly Republican Conference meeting at the U.S. Capitol December 8, 2015 in Washington, DC. The House is preparing to vote on legislation that would deny visa-free travel to anyone who has been in Iraq, Syria or any country with significant terror activity in the past five years and changes to the visa waiver program, which allows citizens from 38 countries to travel to the U.S. without a visa.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

    Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) (C) and members of the House GOP leadership, including Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) (L) and Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX), hold a news briefing following the weekly Republican Conference meeting at the U.S. Capitol December 8, 2015 in Washington, DC. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

    WASHINGTON  — When the calendar turns to March in this year of the irate voter, the first wave of congressional Republicans will find out whether they have their very own Dave Brat waiting for them.

    Brat was an underfunded, obscure college professor who shocked the political world in 2014 by ousting House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in what was supposed to be a no-contest Republican primary in Virginia. He now holds the Richmond-area seat and is one of the chamber’s more conservative and recalcitrant members.

    Next month, GOP House members in a crescent curving from Texas to Illinois face the first congressional primaries in this incumbent-bashing, anti-establishment season of billionaire Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, the leading Republican presidential contenders.

    Nearly all House members are expected to survive. But a few face contests being watched for possible upsets by conservative challengers. Among them: Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady of Texas, and Reps. Martha Roby and Bradley Byrne of Alabama and John Shimkus of Illinois.

    “It’s an open question whether we’ll see any serious candidates on the fringe right,” said Rob Engstrom, national political director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has started TV advertising backing Roby and Byrne and could engage in other House races. He said that March 1, when Alabama, Arkansas and Texas have the initial House primaries, is “a very important day to measure and determine what the score is.”

    Mississippi House primaries are March 8, followed by Ohio and Illinois a week later. March 15 House contests in North Carolina have been delayed until June because of a dispute over redrawing district boundaries.

    As usual, most incumbents have overwhelming financial and name-recognition advantages. In Texas, Brady’s campaign raised $1.6 million last year, compared with $64,000 for the best financed of his three challengers, pool company owner and former state Rep. Steve Toth.

    That edge has long made most officeholders impossible to topple. In 2014, just five sitting House members were defeated in party primaries. But 2016 poses a new test, with voters’ ill feelings toward Washington, fanned by Trump and Cruz, fueling conservatives’ hopes of defeating Republicans deemed too willing to cut deals.

    “The frustration and anger that’s out there would indicate that this is the year you get beat from the right,” said Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., like Brat a member of the rebellious House Freedom Caucus that last year helped push House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to resign from Congress. “If you don’t get beat this year, you will be golden for a long time.”

    The surly mood has prompted the conservative Club for Growth to run hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of TV ads attacking Shimkus and Rep. Renee Ellmers in a now-delayed North Carolina race. Club commercials also back conservative Warren Davidson’s bid for Boehner’s vacant seat in western Ohio, which if successful would be a symbolic coup.

    Other groups including FreedomWorks, Citizens United Political Victory Fund and the Senate Conservatives Fund are also helping conservative contenders.

    Brady is among 13 Texas GOP House incumbents facing primary opponents, challenges that are mostly considered long-shots. He’s represented his district north of Houston for two decades and last fall became chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, a combination that makes him a household name locally and a national magnet for political contributions.

    He also boasts endorsements from National Right to Life, the National Rifle Association and a sky-high 95 percent lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union. A primary defeat of a sitting Ways and Means chairman would be unprecedented, says Eric Ostermeier, research associate at the University of Minnesota’s Center for the Study of Politics and Governance.

    “A lot of things get said during election season,” Brady recently emailed supporters, “but the facts about my dedication to conservative, limited government principles are clear.”

    Toth says Brady isn’t conservative enough. He says anger toward establishment Republicans is “off the charts” and predicts he’ll be helped by the Texas’ March 1 presidential primary, the same day as the state’s congressional primaries.

    “Seventy percent of the people who come to the polls here in Texas are going to be voting for either Trump or Cruz,” said Toth. “And they’re not going to pull the lever for Kevin Brady.”

    Wally Wilkerson Jr., longtime Republican Party chairman in Montgomery County, the district’s largest, cites a “very unusual” political climate with lots of unhappy voters.

    “The congressman is taking it seriously,” Wilkerson says of his re-election race. “If I was advising him, that’s what I’d tell him.”

    In rural southern Illinois, the $1.3 million Shimkus reported raising last year was nearly 10 times what challenger Kyle McCarter reported collecting. But playing on anti-incumbent fever, a Club for Growth ad targeting the 10-term veteran lawmaker says, “A guy who’s been in Washington 20 years ain’t going to fix it.”

    In a recent interview, Shimkus countered by citing his supporters.

    “If you’re endorsed by the National Right to Life, by the NRA and the Farm Bureau, it’s hard for anybody to say you’re not representing the district,” he said.

    The post GOP House primaries to test establishment popularity appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    People celebrate the passage of the minimum wage for fast-food workers by the New York State Fast Food Wage Board during a rally in New York July 22, 2015.  New York state moved on Wednesday to raise the minimum wage for fast-food workers to $15 an hour in New York City by the end of 2018 and in the rest of the state by mid-2021. The New York Wage Board, a panel formed by New York governor Cuomo to review the minimum wage for the state's 180,000 fast-food workers, voted unanimously on the pay increase, which would affect some 180,000 workers statewide.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid  - RTX1LEYV

    People celebrate the passage of the $15 minimum wage for fast-food workers by the New York State Fast Food Wage Board during a rally in New York July 22, 2015. Photo by Brendan McDermid/Reuters

    LAS VEGAS — Most Democrats consider income inequality a very important issue and half of them think tougher regulations of the financial markets imposed after the 2008 financial crisis did not go far enough, according to a poll released as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders enter a crucial stretch for the party’s nomination.

    The poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research suggested support within the party for Sanders’ fiery calls to increase regulations on Wall Street banks and address wide gaps between the nation’s wealthy and poor. Most Democrats – and Republicans – support increasing the federal minimum wage, although they favor more incremental steps backed by Clinton, the poll found.

    Clinton and Sanders are vying for support in Nevada, which was among the hardest-hit states during the economic downturn and holds its Democratic caucuses Saturday. The Clinton-Sanders contest, and Republican caucuses in the state three days later, could offer a snapshot of how the presidential field is being judged against the backdrop of more economic anxiety.

    The poll found that reducing income inequality, a message championed by Sanders, resonates deeply with Democrats. More than three-quarters of them in the poll say reducing the gap between rich and poor is very or extremely important for the next president to address. And 8 in 10 Democrats, but just 3 in 10 Republicans, say the government has some responsibility to reduce those income differences.

    Democrats were even more likely to say that reducing poverty is very important for the next president (86 percent) than that reducing the gap between rich and poor is that important (77 percent). Among all Americans, 72 percent say cutting poverty is very important, while 57 percent say reducing the gap between rich and poor is.

    Las Vegas resident Bernadette Davila, 50, who accompanied her 18-year-old son, Dante Ortiz, as he registered to vote at a Sanders office, said she wanted to see a woman in the White House, but also likes Sanders’ ideas about the economy.

    “I know we all struggle,” Davila said. “I work in the school district helping teachers and I just have six hours a day, you know? And I see how hard these families work.” She spoke of the richest 1 percent constantly cited by Sanders and said: “We really work and we have less.”

    The poll offered good news for both Clinton and Sanders.

    Half of Democrats say government regulation of financial institutions and markets put in place after the 2008 financial crisis didn’t go far enough, an approach in sync with Sanders’ calls for more vigorous regulations. An additional 35 percent said the rules were about right, and 15 percent said they went too far. More than two-thirds of Democrats call regulating financial markets a very important issue.

    The poll found widespread support for increasing the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour but offered mixed results about how high it should go. Seven in 10 Americans favor increasing the minimum wage, but only half consider it an important issue. Seven in 10 say increasing wages to keep up with the cost of living is very important.

    Among all Americans, slightly over half favor increasing the minimum wage to $12 an hour, in keeping with a Senate Democratic proposal backed by Clinton, while just a third support increasing it to $15 an hour, which Sanders has advocated.

    Even Democrats are much more likely to favor a minimum wage increase to $12 an hour (68 percent) than to $15 an hour (49 percent).

    Don and Donna Deicken, who attended a Clinton rally in Las Vegas, said they lost their home and jobs in the recession. Don is an unemployed, 63-year-old electrician, while Donna, 59, works part-time at a retirement center and picks up extra cash as an Uber driver.

    Donna Deicken fought back tears after describing how she’s finding jobs for $10 or $12 an hour at her age.

    “That is ridiculous that this country can’t have a wage where we can live,” she said. “I don’t want to lose my husband anyway, but if he were to pass away, for God’s sake, I just would panic, thinking, how in the world? Who am I going to live with?”

    The AP-NORC Poll of 1,008 adults was conducted Jan. 14-17 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

    Respondents were first selected randomly using address-based sampling methods, and later interviewed online or by phone.

    The post Poll shows income gap, Wall Street major issues for Democrats appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: The only way you can see inside the recently closed Winnsboro, South Carolina, Walmart is through a small hole torn into the cloth of the sliding front doors.

    The opening offers a surprisingly wide glimpse of a store that once sold almost everything the 35-hundred residents of this town might need.

    The quiet, former cotton mill community 30 miles from South Carolina’s capital, Columbia, saw its Walmart open in 1998.

    Now, these bare shelves reflect the consequences of a restructuring effort that Walmart described in a press release as “necessary to keep the company strong and positioned for the future.

    This winter, Walmart is closing 154 stores in the U.S. and 115 outside the country, about two percent of its stores worldwide.

    Despite lowering its sales forecast for the year in the past week, the closures do not signal a company on the brink.  Walmart plans on opening at least 135 new stores in the U.S., including 50 to 60 supercenters like the one it just closed in Winnsboro.

    Winnsboro’s Walmart was one of 12 super centers to close across the country this year and as with many of the others closures, walmart only gave the town two weeks notice before closing the doors, rapidly removing what had become a commercial center of this small, rural community for the past 18 years.

    In its closing, walmart could potentially transform the town as much as when it opened.  Residents say the big box store’s rock bottom pricing made it difficult for the town’s smaller businesses to compete, striking a direct hit on downtown Winnsboro.

    In 1998, the town had three grocery stores; today only this Bi-Lo remains. The town once had two department stores; both are now closed.

    But this hardware store managed to stay open.  Store manager William Broome has worked here for the past 38 years.

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: How did you guys stay in business?

    WILLIAM BROOME:  Trimmed, trimmed our inventory to cater to more of what we specialize in, and kind of let them have the non-building material, non-home repair products, and just dealt in things that they didn’t have. And of course, you had to cut some of your staff.

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: And now, here we are 18 years later, Walmart’s closed down?

    WILLIAM BROOME: It’s a problem that nobody’s dealt with that we know of. Everybody’s had to deal with when they move in, and nobody’s had to really deal with the what do you do when they move out?

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Walmart’s departure presents an opportunity for Broome. He is restocking products the store has not sold in years and probably will hire additional employees.  Despite the unexpected opportunity, broome isn’t celebrating.

    WILLIAM BROOME: You feel like they used the town, when they came in, and used you up to, you know, what they could get out of you, and then just pull out and leave on them.

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: For independently-owned Price’s Drug,” Walmart’s departure has resulted in a flood of new customers.

    CARRIE BAKER: We’ve got a lot more business.

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Carrie baker is the pharmacist in charge.

    CARRIE BAKER:  I think people panicked at first. And so, we were transferring their prescriptions before Walmart even closed.  And so we’re now trying to fill.  Now that we’ve got the transfers, we’re filling them now. And we’re trying to do our very best.”

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Baker says the store is receiving nearly 150 more orders prescriptions every day, but matching Walmart’s prices is difficult.  Since 2006, Walmart has offered customers prescriptions as low as four dollars for a 30 day supply for some generic drugs.

    CARRIE BAKER: We never have offered the four dollar generic plan that they have offered. But we did try to be competitive. And we’ve offered a six dollar plan. We just explained to them that we never could offer it because it costs us much more.

    ROGER GADDY:  How you doing buddy? Doing fine?

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Roger Gaddy is a doctor at Fairfield Medical Associates in Winnsboro.  He’s also been the town’s mayor for 11 years, and he worries about the tax implications of the Walmart closure.

    ROGER GADDY: We have a one-cent-added sales tax that the citizens voted on about ten years ago, Walmart was probably our biggest contributor of that one cent sales tax, because it was the biggest retail entity we had in the town.

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Gaddy says the loss of the total sales tax, previously paid by the Winnsboro Walmart will be substantial.

    ROGER GADDY:  Walmart leaving is devastating to the community, but we’ve been here a long time, and we’re gonna be fine without it.  And there may be some benefits of not having a Walmart here.  I would like to think that you would see a revitalization of downtown. You’ll see more people shopping downtown.

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: While chamber of commerce president Terry Vickers shares the mayor’s optimism, she says she is still struggling to understand Walmart’s decision.

    TERRY VICKERS: The employee meeting that was called on that Thursday morning they thought was gonna be great news about maybe some increases in wage, and unfortunately it was the announcement that the store would close in two weeks.

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: But at the same time, you were getting reports from the manager that the store was profitable.  Everything seemed fine.

    TERRY VICKERS: Right. Well, and there is local profitability, and there is corporate profitability. So unfortunately, he had a profit over last year’s Christmas season, but that still did not get that store to the corporate expectation.

    MARIANNE BICKLE: It might be profitable, but it’s not enough.

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Marianne Bickle is a University of South Carolina professor in the College of Hospitality, Retail, and Sports Management. She says with increasing pressure in the retail space, Walmart has to pay close attention to stores that may not be meeting profit expectations.

    MARIANNE BICKLE: By pulling out of Winnsboro, Walmart is saying, “this store, this location is not doing financially what we need it to do.” They’re being responsible to their stakeholders.

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Bickle says that stores like Walmart must diversify the ways they reach customers, sometimes closing a brick and mortar store in one area to expand to another or focusing on boosting online sales.

    Do you think Walmart owes the community anything?

    MARIANNE BICKLE:  They do owe the community. They owe the community honesty. They owe the community forthright communication.  And it would be dishonest to the community to say, “everything is fine.  And we’ll be here a long time.” And then to pull out.  But the bottom line is, they are a business.  And they have to stay in business accordingly.

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Walmart says there is no single factor, like profit or location, that determines which stores close and which remain open. In a telephone interview, spokesman Brian Nick told me store closures are rare, and the company is in growth mode.

    BRIAN NICK: We don’t typically close stores and we announced these stores at the same time, because, you know, it was part of a very hard portfolio review, and something we needed to do that made sense for the business overall.

    Just in January, we opened 69 stores. We’ll continue to open dozens more throughout the year. And, you know, 90 percent of Americans are within 10 miles of a walmart.

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Just five days after announcing the store closures last month, Walmart announced it would raise its U.S. minimum wage to ten dollars an hour and give raises to 1.2 Million of its hourly workers.  Those raises took effect today.

    As for the 10-thousand employees laid off nationwide Walmart says it is trying to place them in its other stores. The company says two-thirds of the 160 plus employees in Winnsboro have been transferred to jobs at Walmart stores that are a 30-to-40 minute drive from Winnsboro.

    CASANOVA MOORE: It’s a big difference. You can feel the emptiness in Winnsboro.”

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Casanova Moore worked at the Winnsboro Walmart for nearly a year before it closed.

    CASANOVA MOORE: It’s a lot of jobs and a lot of us, like, are close to each other.  And like, it was a family.  You know, we were like really a family.  So now that the family is broken up, we all going our separate ways.

    NANCY MCCLURKIN: I was born and raised here.

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Winnsboro’s Walmart was more than a shopping space; it was a gathering place.

    NANCY MCCLURKIN: If you wanted to see anybody. Come to Walmart.

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Where retirees Herbert and Nancy McClurkin picked up their prescriptions, shopped for groceries, and caught-up on the latest town gossip.

    HERBERT MCCLURKIN:  A big surprise.  Because we been over there early in the week, and our cousin called and said, Walmart’s getting ready to close. It was kinda hard to believe.

    NANCY MCCLURKIN: We thought it was a prankster at first. I said, “Walmart’s closing?” That’s the only store we have around here.

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: At the Fairfield Central High School basketball game Jimmy Dorsey and Miriam Woodard were trying to understand why wal-mart left.

    JIMMY DORSEY: And it was a joyful place.  It was like home or like a church or something.

    MIRIAM WOODARD: And I’m praying that something else comes and takes it’s place, because we really need it.

    JIMMY DORSEY: I think that the customers deserve to know something  You know?  I spent a lot of money at Walmart.

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Besides, helping place employees in other stores, Walmart did leave another parting gift. Its foundation contributed 30-thousand dollars to the town’s economic development effort.

    TERRY VICKERS: Were we disappointed that it could not be a lifelong endeavor?  Yes. But you know,  Winnsboro’s been around since 1784 and there is a survival attitude here. And we will survive.

    The post What happens when Wal-Mart leaves small towns behind appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Astronaut Mike Hopkins, Expedition 38 Flight Engineer, is shown in this handout photo provided by NASA as he participates in the second of two spacewalks which took place on December 24, 2013. A record number of people recently tendered applications for open astronaut positions with NASA.  NASA/Reuters

    Astronaut Mike Hopkins, Expedition 38 Flight Engineer, is shown in this handout photo provided by NASA as he participates in the second of two spacewalks which took place on December 24, 2013. A record number of people recently tendered applications for open astronaut positions with NASA. Photo by NASA/Reuters.

    A record number of people applied to join NASA’s elite corp of astronauts, more than doubling the previous high mark set in 1978, the space agency said on Friday.

    About 18,300 individuals applied for the agency’s 2017 astronaut class since the application process opened on Dec. 14, far exceeding the 8,000 who applied in 1978. NASA will select between eight and 14 people for their class of 2017, a process that will likely take 18 months.

    “It’s not at all surprising to me that so many Americans from diverse backgrounds want to personally contribute to blazing the trail on our journey to Mars,” said former astronaut and NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, in a statement. “A few exceptionally talented men and women will become the astronauts chosen in this group who will once again launch to space from U.S. soil on American-made spacecraft.”

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    In November, NASA announced it would open up at least 8 positions after a four-year hiatus from hiring new astronauts. Since 1959 NASA has chosen more than 300 astronauts and currently has 47 among its ranks.

    But with an increase in spacecraft development and the potential for a historic manned deep-space venture to Mars, the agency is attempting to bolster its ranks.

    NASA is looking for representatives from a variety of fields including pilots, engineers, scientists and medical doctors and will whittle down the applicants from thousands to hundreds before a training program commences.

    Brian Kelly, director of Flight Operations at Johnson Space Center in Houston, said the process will begin by reviewing and assessing applicants skill sets as part of the process, with advantages tilted to those with advanced degrees in biological science, physical science and mathematics or a minimum of 1,000 hours of “pilot-in-command time in a jet aircraft.”

    The post Record number of Americans apply to be astronauts, NASA says appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Republican U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz speaks during a campaign rally in Greenville, South Carolina February 19, 2016. REUTERS/Rainier Ehrhardt - RTX27RXL

    Republican U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz speaks during a campaign rally in Greenville, South Carolina February 19, 2016. Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/Reuters

    WASHINGTON  — South Carolinians place their stamp on the chaotic Republican presidential campaign Saturday while Nevadans put Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders to their first test before an ethnically varied electorate in the Democratic contest.

    On the Republican side, the presidential hopes of Jeb Bush, Ben Carson and John Kasich may hang in the balance.

    The campaign as the South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucuses unfold:

    REPUBLICANS IN SOUTH CAROLINA

    If there’s anything orderly about the GOP slugfest, it’s the consistency of preference polls in South Carolina. They suggest Donald Trump is the man to beat, Ted Cruz hovers in second with Marco Rubio perhaps in striking distance, and Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Ben Carson are scrambling behind them.

    Trump took New Hampshire after Cruz won Iowa. The New York billionaire’s status as front-runner will be ever stronger if he scores a big victory Saturday.

    Nothing else in the GOP race is orderly.

    DEMOCRATS IN NEVADA

    The caucuses will be an early tie-breaker: Clinton squeaked to victory in Iowa and Sanders routed her in New Hampshire.

    Considered the favorite for the nomination since the start, Clinton has struggled to achieve a breakout while her socialist rival has lapped up excitement and made headway at every turn.

    After contests in mostly white states, Nevada offers a population that is about one-quarter Hispanic and 9 percent black. Diversity will accelerate in weeks ahead for Democrats in South Carolina and in states that follow – a clear advantage for Clinton but one that Sanders has worked assiduously to counter.

    Polls point to a close finish in Nevada, with Sanders narrowing what was once a distinct edge for his rival. But because the state’s a caucus and not a primary, those polls aren’t very reliable.

    CURVE BALLS

    The pope, Duck Dynasty, Howard Stern from 2002: You just never know what’s coming next to a Republican presidential campaign gripped by Trumpism.

    The Democratic race is staid by comparison, though enlivened by Sanders’ contention this week that he was once an honorary woman.

    Pope vs. Trump: Pope Francis celebrated a huge Mass at the Mexican border that Trump wants to seal with a fortress-like wall, then suggested Trump’s hard line on illegal immigration makes him “not a Christian.” Wags called that smackdown a holy waterboarding.

    A livid Trump said the pope had no business questioning his faith, then calmed down a bit to say he respects the pontiff – while observing, “He’s got an awfully big wall at the Vatican.”

    Trump vs. Trump: After repeatedly boasting that he warned against the Iraq war before it started, Trump had to back down when BuzzFeed unearthed a 2002 interview on Stern’s radio show in which Trump said “I guess so” when asked if he supported the coming invasion.

    Duck diplomacy: Cruz campaigned in Myrtle Beach on Friday with Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson and suggested a Cruz administration might make the bearded reality TV star ambassador to the U.N. Cruz appeared to be joking.

    He was woman, hear him roar: Asked from an audience how a man can understand the problems of women, Sanders said he’s a feminist with a record of fighting for pay equity and more. He said feminist Gloria Steinem once named him an honorary woman in tribute to his fight for women’s equality.

    EXPECTATIONS

    The ever-present calculus of how a candidate performs against expectations may hang most heavily over Bush.

    An early favorite in the race, long flush with cash that allies are spending on his behalf, Bush may need a third-place finish, if not better, to stay viable.

    His South Carolina campaign had high and low points.

    On the plus side: his strongest debate performance and a lively show of support from his brother, George W. Bush, in a state where people think fondly of the ex-president. On the down side, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley endorsed Rubio, a dispiriting turn for the ex-governor of Florida.

    That endorsement is an obvious boost for Rubio, a Florida senator, but it raises expectations for him, too. He’s yet to do better than a strong third in Iowa. Anything less than that Saturday would deepen questions about his potential to grow.

    HOW THEY VOTE

    Polls open at 7 a.m. EST in South Carolina and close at 7 p.m.

    Evangelicals and tea party conservatives are important constituencies for Republicans. The state also has many military families and, like Nevada, many retirees.

    Sen. John McCain won the 2008 South Carolina primary on his way to the Republican nomination. Newt Gingrich won the primary in 2012, when Mitt Romney became the nominee.

    The Nevada caucuses open their doors starting at 2 p.m. EST and each one should take a few hours.

    Hispanic and black voters, as well as union members, are important for Democrats.

    Nevadans backed Clinton over Barack Obama in 2008 on his way to the presidency.

    The post What to expect as the South Carolina primary and Nevada caucuses unfold appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Pallbearers carry the casket down the aisle at the start of the funeral Mass for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, February 20, 2016.  REUTERS/Doug Mills/Pool via Reuters - RTX27TOH

    Pallbearers carry the casket down the aisle at the start of the funeral Mass for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, February 20, 2016. Photo by Doug Mills/Reuters

    Thousands of mourners paid their respects in Washington D.C. on Saturday to remember the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia who died last week.

    The Rev. Paul Scalia, the late Justice’s son, led the mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The late Justice’s four other sons were pallbearers for the casket.

    “He loved the clarity and coherence of the church’s teachings,” Rev. Scalia said. “He treasured the church’s ceremonies, especially the beauty of her ancient worship; the power of her sacraments as the means of salvation.”

    WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 20:  Father Paul Scalia, son of Justice Antonin Scalia, center,  leads the funeral Mass for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception February 20, 2016 in Washington, DC.  Scalia, who died February 13 while on a hunting trip in Texas, layed in repose in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court on Friday and his funeral service will be at the basillica today.   (Photo by  Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

    Father Paul Scalia, son of Justice Antonin Scalia, center, leads the funeral Mass for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception February 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. Photo by Doug Mills/Getty Images.

    WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 20:  Former Vice President Dick Cheney, left, and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas take their seats for funeral Mass for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia inside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception February 20, 2016 in Washington, DC.  Scalia, who died February 13 while on a hunting trip in Texas, layed in repose in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court on Friday and his funeral service will be at the basillica today.   (Photo by  Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

    Former Vice President Dick Cheney, left, and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas take their seats for funeral Mass for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia inside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception February 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. Photo by Doug Mills/Getty Images

    WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 20:  The cross is lead out of the funeral Mass for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception February 20, 2016 in Washington, DC.  Scalia, who died February 13 while on a hunting trip in Texas, layed in repose in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court on Friday and his funeral service will be at the basillica today.   (Photo by  Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

    The cross is lead out of the funeral Mass for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception February 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. Photo by Doug Mills/Getty Images

    Father Paul Scalia (top, C), son of Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, leads the funeral Mass for his father at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, February 20, 2016.  REUTERS/Doug Mills/Pool via Reuters - RTX27U2D

    Father Paul Scalia (top, C), son of Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, leads the funeral Mass for his father. Photo by Doug Mills/Reuters

    Pallbearers carry the casket of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia into his funeral mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, February 20, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Theiler - RTX27TJC

    Pallbearers carry the casket of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia into his funeral mass. Photo by Mike Theiler/Reuters

    WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 20:  U.S. Supreme Court Police pallbearers carry Associate Justice Antonin Scalia's flag-covered casket between rows of Catholic clergy and out of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception following his funeral February 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. Scalia, who died February 13 while on a hunting trip in Texas, layed in repose in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court on Friday and his funeral service will be at the basillica today.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

    U.S. Supreme Court Police pallbearers carry Associate Justice Antonin Scalia’s flag-covered casket between rows of Catholic clergy and out of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception following his funeral February 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

    WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 20:  U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Elena Kagan (L) leaves the the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception after attending fellow Associate Justice Antonin Scalia's funeral February 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. Scalia, who died February 13 while on a hunting trip in Texas, layed in repose in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court on Friday and his funeral service will be at the basillica today.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

    U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Elena Kagan (L) leaves the the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception after attending fellow Associate Justice Antonin Scalia’s funeral February 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

    Scalia, appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, served on the court for roughly 30 years as a powerful representative of the nation’s conservative wing. He was the court’s longest-serving justice.

    His death means the judicial branch loses its conservative majority, creating a vacancy that has sparked intense debate among presidential candidates and political officials concerned with who will replace him.

    Scalia died while on a hunting trip in Texas on Feb. 13.

    The post Photos: Thousands pay respects to late Justice Scalia at D.C. funeral mass appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Supporters cheer for their respective Democratic candidate outside a caucus location at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada February 20, 2016. REUTERS/David Becker - RTX27UKQ

    Supporters cheer for their respective Democratic candidate outside a caucus location at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada February 20, 2016. Photo by David Becker/Reuters

    LAS VEGAS — Hillary Clinton worked to pull out a victory in Nevada’s caucuses on Saturday, seeking to undercut the headway of rival Bernie Sanders and boost her presidential bid as the campaign broadens to primary contests across the country. There were early signs of a tight race.

    Though Clinton installed staff on the ground last spring, Sanders’ message of combating income inequality appeared to find fertile ground in recent weeks in a state where many voters are still struggling to rebound after years of double-digit unemployment.

    And significant spending on paid media and staff helped his campaign make inroads into the Latino and African-American communities, which make up a significant portion of the Democratic electorate in the state.

    A Sanders victory would undercut one of Clinton’s major campaign arguments: that the Vermont senator’s insurgent campaign largely appeals to white liberals, a relatively narrow swath of the Democratic Party. Eight years ago, one-third of Democratic caucus-goers in Nevada were minority voters, a percentage that’s far more representative of the country as a whole than mostly white Iowa and New Hampshire.

    The candidates spent their final hours before the caucuses furiously trying to drive up turnout among their supporters. In the first hours of voting, the race appeared close, according to surveys of caucus-goers as they arrived.

    Clinton almost crossed paths with Sanders at Harrah’s casino Saturday morning less than an hour before the caucuses began. Her goal is to motivate the Las Vegas-area minority voters and union members who could give her the edge over Sanders.

    Sanders slipped into an employee cafeteria to shake hands with workers. About 10 minutes later, Clinton came in to do the same.

    “I need your help this morning in the showroom,” she told workers, who get two hours off work to caucus at sites in the casino. “Spread the word – paid time off!”

    Sanders started his caucus day at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand casino, shaking hands with culinary workers. He declined to predict victory.

    “If there’s a large turnout, I think we’re going to do just fine,’ Sanders told reporters as workers mobbed him. “If it’s a low turnout that may be another story.”

    At stake are 23 delegates. In 2008, Clinton won the popular vote in the state but then Illinois Sen. Barack Obama picked up one more delegate, due to the quirky nature of the caucuses.

    Clinton’s campaign has tried to lower expectations for her performance in the caucuses, which are notoriously difficult to predict due to the transient nature of the state’s population and the fact that voters do not need to be registered as Democrats in advance to participate.

    Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, ran her 2008 effort in Nevada. Clinton locked down some of the state’s most experienced political hands even before announcing her campaign in April.

    In recent months, Sanders has caught up: He’s spent slightly more than Clinton on television and radio ads in the state, investing $4 million to her $3.6 million, according to advertising tracker Kantar Media’s CMAG, and has more staff on the ground.

    After Nevada, the primary moves into South Carolina, which votes Feb. 27, and then into several Southern contests three days later, among other states voting on Super Tuesday. With Clinton holding a commanding lead among superdelegates, the party insiders who are influential in picking the nominee, Sanders must rack up some significant wins in the remaining contests to catch up.

    Lerer reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Nicholas Riccardi contributed to this report from Las Vegas.

    The post Clinton trying for the win in toss-up Nevada caucuses appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Men board up a shop in preparation for Cyclone Winston in Suva, Fiji, February 20, 2016 in this still image taken from video. Tropical Cyclone Winston tore through parts of the island-nation of Fiji, where the high winds broke records in the Southern Hemisphere.  TVNZ via Reuters TV/Reuters

    Men board up a shop in preparation for Cyclone Winston in Suva, Fiji, February 20, 2016 in this still image taken from video. Tropical Cyclone Winston tore through parts of the island-nation of Fiji, where the high winds broke records in the Southern Hemisphere. TVNZ via Reuters TV/Reuters

    Residents of Fiji forged through the most powerful storm ever recorded on the the island-nation with gale-force winds this weekend reaching at least as high as 184 mph. At least one man has died.

    Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama declared a state of emergency on Saturday and also installed a nationwide curfew and suspended flights, as Tropical Cyclone Winston broached the shores of Fiji’s archipelago, the Fiji Broadcast Corporation reported.

    “We cannot afford to be complacent,” Bainimarama said. “I am especially concerned that some people in urban areas do not appear to have heeded the warnings about the seriousness of the threat.”

    By early Sunday morning local time, the center said the cyclone had avoided Suva, instead tearing a path of destruction about 100 miles to the northwest on the island of Viti Levu.

    The cyclone marks the first time a Category 5 struck Fiji, while the high winds were the strongest ever recoded in the Southern Hemisphere, according to multiple reports.

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    The Fiji Red Cross said in a statement released Saturday that emergency workers were prepared for the worst, including damaged homes and disrupted water supplies.

    “We have prepositioned relief items sufficient for 12,000 people in our headquarters in Suva and have mobilized over 300 staff and volunteers across our 14 branches nationwide,” said Eseroma Ledua, Operations Manager at the Fiji Red Cross.

    Fiji has a population of more than 900,000 across many of its 110 islands. About 176,000 people live in Fiji’s capital city of Suva.

    The post Cyclone Winston barrels down on Fiji appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gestures to supporters after she was projected to be the winner in the Democratic caucuses  in Las Vegas, Nevada February 20, 2016. REUTERS/David Becker - RTX27V12

    Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gestures to supporters after she was projected to be the winner in the Democratic caucuses in Las Vegas, Nevada February 20, 2016. Photo by David Becker/Reuters

    WATCH THE NEVADA RESULTS LIVE HERE

    LAS VEGAS — Hillary Clinton edged out Bernie Sanders on Saturday in Nevada’s caucuses, capitalizing on a more diverse Democratic electorate to propel her to a crucial win in her presidential bid.

    Clinton prevailed in the third contest of the primary campaign with the backing of women, union workers, minorities and voters who are certain that the former secretary of state will have a better shot of winning in November, according to entrance polls.

    Marvin Teske, a 53-year-old security guard at a Reno casino, said he worried that Sanders would have trouble winning in the fall. The Vermont senator largely appeals to white liberals, a relatively narrow swath of the Democratic Party.

    “As far as being too far left, I agree with a lot of the stuff he has to say. But the problem I have is that all the stuff he is promising is never going to happen,” Teske said. “I’ve always liked Hillary.”

    The Clinton victory in Nevada underscored the challenge for Sanders as the campaign shifts to Southern states, including South Carolina on Feb. 27. Polling shows minority voters, a crucial bloc of the Democratic electorate, heavily favoring Clinton.

    After three contests, Clinton has a narrow win in Iowa, a double-digit loss in New Hampshire and now momentum from Nevada that should attract the support of many of the Democratic superdelegates. She has won over a number of the 714 superdelegates as both candidates push toward the 2,383 needed to win the party nod.

    In Nevada, thousands packed schools, casinos and hotels to vote, including scores of first-time caucus-goers who favored Sanders. The state party said more than 31,000 registered online to participate.

    Supporters cheer for their respective Democratic candidate outside a caucus location at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada February 20, 2016. REUTERS/David Becker - RTX27UKR

    Supporters cheer for their respective Democratic candidate outside a caucus location at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada February 20, 2016. Photo by David Becker/Reuters

    At stake in Nevada are 35 delegates. In 2008, Clinton won the popular vote in the state, but then Illinois Sen. Barack Obama picked up one more delegate, due to the quirky nature of the caucuses.

    Clinton installed staff on the ground last spring, but Sanders’ message of combating income inequality appeared to resonate in a state where many voters are still struggling to rebound after years of double-digit unemployment.

    Entrance polls of voters found that a third said the economy was their major concern, while a quarter cited income inequality — the centerpiece of the Sanders’ campaign.

    “If Ronald Reagan can smash the American Dream from right field, then Bernie can build it back up from left field,” said Dale Quale, a 60-year-old unemployed former slot machine technician who estimated that he had made 800 phones calls for the Vermont senator before the caucus.

    Whites were split between the two candidates. Sanders did well with self-identified independents and two-thirds of those participating in a caucus for the first time.

    The candidates spent their final hours before the caucuses furiously trying to drive up turnout among their supporters.

    Clinton almost crossed paths with Sanders at Harrah’s casino Saturday morning less than an hour before the caucuses began. Sanders slipped into an employee cafeteria to shake hands with workers. About 10 minutes later, Clinton came in to do the same.

    Significant spending by Sanders on paid media and staff helped his campaign make inroads into the Latino and African-American communities, which make up a significant portion of the Democratic electorate in the state.

    In recent months, Sanders spent slightly more than Clinton on television and radio ads in the state, investing $4 million to her $3.6 million, according to advertising tracker Kantar Media’s CMAG, and has more staff on the ground.

    The polling survey was conducted for AP and the television networks by Edison Research.

    ___
    This report was written by Ken Thomas and Lisa Lerer of the Associated Press

    Associated Press writer Nicholas Riccardi contributed to this report from Las Vegas.

    The post Hillary Clinton wins the Nevada Democratic caucuses appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio shakes hands with supporters as he leaves after a campaign event in North Charleston, South Carolina February 19, 2016 Chris Keane/Reuters

    U.S. Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio shakes hands with supporters as he leaves after a campaign event in North Charleston, South Carolina February 19, 2016
    Chris Keane/Reuters

    COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Latest on the 2016 presidential election and two crucial contests Saturday: South Carolina’s Republican primary and Nevada’s Democratic caucuses (all times are Eastern Standard Time):

    7:45 p.m.

    Donald Trump’s supporters erupted into cheers as they learned their candidate had won South Carolina’s GOP primary.

    Supporters gave each other high-fives and held Trump signs high above their heads as they celebrated. Some chanted “USA! USA!”

    Hundreds of people are gathered in a ballroom at the Spartanburg Marriott for Trump’s watch party, where they’re snacking on cubed cheese and crudité, and sipping beers from plastic cups.

    Trump is expected to deliver a victory speech later tonight.

    7:25 p.m.

    Donald Trump has won the South Carolina Republican primary, a second-straight victory for the billionaire real estate mogul after his first-place finish in New Hampshire.

    Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio are in close race for second.

    Exit polls taken in South Carolina found that about three-quarters of Republican voters support a temporary ban on Muslims who are not American citizens from entering the United States. That’s one of Trump’s signature proposals.

    A majority of voters looking for an outsider candidate supported Trump, providing a boost to the first-time candidate for office.

    7:10 p.m.

    Bernie Sanders’ campaign says it raised more than $21 million in January, bringing its total for the campaign to almost $95 million.

    That’s according to fundraising reports through Jan. 31 that Sanders campaign is filing on Saturday.

    The campaign says the average donation amount was $27.

    Sanders has made campaign finance reform and ending what he calls corruption in politics a major focus of his campaign.

    Rival Hillary Clinton’s campaign says it raised roughly $15 million in January.

    7:00 p.m.

    Nevada’s Democratic party’s initial estimates are showing that 80,000 Democrats caucused on Saturday, about 10,000 more than most party insiders expected.

    Still, it was well below the nearly 120,000 who showed up in 2008 for Hillary Clinton’s contest against Barack Obama.

    Clinton beat rival Bernie Sanders in the state’s Democratic caucuses Saturday, earning her a second win in the nomination process.

    6:50 p.m.

    With her husband, former President Bill Clinton, standing by her side, Hillary Clinton has told her supporters that “we’re in this together.”

    “This is your campaign and it is a campaign to break down every barrier that holds you back,” she said. “We’re going to build ladders of opportunity in their place so every American can go as far as your hard work can take you.”

    Though she never mentioned Sanders by name, Clinton cast her rival as offering a narrow economic message that wouldn’t tackle the full range of problems facing the country. Rattling off promises to lower student debt, reform the immigration system, combat systemic racism and improve education, Clinton promised a country of new opportunities.

    “There’s 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.”

    6:45 p.m.

    Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says “the wind is at our backs” despite his loss to Hillary Clinton in the Nevada caucuses.

    Sanders says Clinton ran a very aggressive and effective campaign in Nevada that led to her victory in the Democratic caucuses Saturday.

    He congratulated her for her victory and praised her effort.

    But Sanders is suggesting he beat expectations because he started far behind Clinton and gained significant ground.

    Sanders said he’s heading now to South Carolina and that he has an “excellent chance” to win many of the states voting on Super Tuesday.

    Sanders said the election will result in one of the greatest political upsets in U.S. history.

    6:20 p.m.

    Hillary Clinton says Americans are “right to be angry,” but also hungry for what she calls “real solutions.”

    Clinton is using her victory speech after the Nevada caucuses to draw contrasts with Bernie Sanders. She says the truth is that the U.S. isn’t a single-issue country. Clinton spent much of the run-up to the Nevada caucuses portraying Sanders as singularly focused on economic issues.

    Clinton says many doubted her in Nevada but that she and her supporters never doubted each other. She says to Nevadans: “This one is for you.”

    6:10 p.m.
    About four in 10 South Carolina Republican primary voters say that an important quality in a candidate is that they “shares my values.”

    A poll conducted by voters in Saturday’s primary showed that being an instrument of change and electability in November are also important qualities.

    The voters are split on whether the next president should be an outsider or a member of the political establishment. Nearly half said they prefer someone who has experience in politics and about the same numbers would rather see someone from outside the political establishment.

    Four in 10 voters see the campaign of Donald Trump as most unfair, and a third said that of Texas Sen. Cruz’s campaign. Less than 10 percent selected Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio or John Kasich.

    The survey was conducted for AP and the television networks by Edison Research with voters leaving 35 randomly selected precincts throughout South Carolina.

    6:05 p.m.

    For South Carolina Republican primary voters, terrorism is the top issue that mattered — selected by about a third.

    The economy and government spending were each picked by nearly three in 10. Even so, three-quarters of the voters said they were very worried about the direction of the nation’s economy, and more than 4 in 10 said billionaire Donald Trump would be best at handling the economy.

    However, Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz are both seen as candidates who would best handle an international crisis by about a quarter of voters.

    Only about 10 percent selected immigration as the most important issue. Asked specifically what should be done with illegal immigrants working in the United States, the voters were evenly divided. Republican voters were far less divided on the issue of allowing Muslims into the country. About three-quarters support a temporary ban on Muslims who are not American citizens from entering the United States.

    The survey was conducted for AP and the television networks by Edison Research with voters leaving 35 randomly selected precincts throughout South Carolina.

    5:55 p.m.

    John Kasich says if he spent the day in South Carolina he’d be doing nothing more than yelling at people on their way into the polls saying “Hey, vote for me.”

    With that in mind, he’s campaigning in Massachusetts and Vermont instead. The two states hold primaries on March 1.

    “If somebody yelled at me as I was going to the polls, I’d vote against them,” he joked with reporters after a town hall in Worcester, Massachusetts.

    He says he wishes he could have spent more time in South Carolina, but that he and his team “did everything we could do.”

    5:50 p.m.

    Bernie Sanders is conceding the race in Nevada in a phone call with Hillary Clinton.

    The Vermont senators said in a statement Saturday that he congratulated Clinton on her victory. He says he’s proud of his campaign and expects to leave Nevada with a “solid share of the delegates.”

    Sanders is touting his campaign’s work to bring working people and young voters into the process. He says he believes his campaign has “the wind at ours backs” heading to the Super Tuesday contests.

    Sanders is thanking Nevadans for their support.

    5:45 p.m.

    Hillary Clinton’s aides cast her victory in Nevada’s Democratic caucuses as a sign that her new focus on increasing opportunities for minorities and poorer Americas — what her team calls her “breaking barriers” agenda — was resonating.

    As the race has turned to primary contests in states with more diverse Democratic electorates, Clinton has increasingly decried the issue of “systemic racism” and highlighted her plans to combat the problem.

    She started the week with a policy address in Harlem focused squarely on issues impacting the African-American community. In Nevada, she’s worked to woo Latino voters with promises to tackle immigration reform in the first 100 days of her administration, should she win the White House.

    5:35 p.m.

    Hillary Clinton’s win in Nevada means she will pick up most of the state’s delegates.

    With 35 at stake, Clinton will gain at least 18. Sanders will pick up at least 14. Three delegates remain to be allocated, based on votes in the congressional districts.

    The results of the caucus are the first step in determining delegates who are expected to support candidates at the national convention.

    To date, Clinton remains far ahead in the overall delegate count due to early endorsements from superdelegates, or party leaders who can support the candidate of their choice, no matter whom voters back in primaries and caucuses.

    Including superdelegates, Clinton now has at least 501 delegates and Sanders at least 69.

    It takes 2,383 delegates to win the nomination.

    5:25 p.m.

    As a small gathering of Nevada supporters waited for her appearance in a Caesar’s Palace ballroom, Hillary Clinton took to Twitter to say thanks.

    “To everyone who turned out in every corner of Nevada with determination and heart: This is your win,” she wrote.

    Back at her Brooklyn headquarters, aides cheered as she was announced the winner. Her campaign manager, Robby Mook, ran her 2008 effort in the state, giving the contest special significance for some of the staff.

    5:15 p.m.

    Hillary Clinton has won the Nevada Democratic caucuses, rebounding after a second-place finish to Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire.

    The victory for the former secretary of state over the Vermont senator gives her two wins to one in the race for the Democratic nomination.

    Clinton eked out a win in the Iowa caucuses before Sanders posted an overwhelming victory in New Hampshire’s primary.

    Surveys of caucus-goers taken as they entered caucus sites showed that older women turned out in force to support Clinton, pushing her to victory despite her continued struggles to attract young women.

    The competition heads next to South Carolina, which holds its Democratic primary next Saturday.

    4:30 p.m.

    South Carolina polls close in a few hours, but for Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio it’s never too late to pick up another endorsement.

    The latest is Rep. Joe Wilson, the South Carolina congressman who gained national attention in 2009 when he yelled “You lie!” at President Barack during the chief executive’s first annual address to Congress.

    Wilson told The Post and Courier newspaper of Charleston on Saturday that he cast his ballot for Rubio. Wilson praised Rubio’s positions on national defense and said the Florida senator can “bring positive change” to Washington.

    Rubio is looking for a strong performance in South Carolina after a disappointing fifth-place finish in New Hampshire. In South Carolina, he’s also picked up high-profile nods from Gov. Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott and Rep. Trey Gowdy.

    4:15 p.m.

    John Kasich is assuring voters he’s tough enough to be president after a woman in Worcester, Massachusetts, told him she worries he’s “too nice” to fend off his GOP rivals and world leaders like Vladimir Putin.

    Kasich is trumpeting a positive-only message on the campaign trail, refusing to attack his rivals. But he says that doesn’t mean he can’t take on the Russians and the Chinese.

    He tells the crowd: “I don’t want you to have the wrong impression: It’s possible to be kind and at the same time very tough.”

    Kasich says he’d sit Putin down and tell him “no more nonsense” and tells the crowd he was the “first one” to say the Islamic State group needs to be destroyed.

    And, Kasich tells the crowd, he’s been known to be “brusk” and “tough” in his home state of Ohio.

    4:00 p.m.

    As caucusing got under way for Democrats in Nevada, voters weighed in on their picks for the party’s presidential nominee.

    Marley Anderson, 21, a junior from Las Vegas, said she turned out at her first caucus Saturday to support Bernie Sanders because of his stands on social issues.

    “He stands for the middle-class,” Anderson said, adding that Sanders is “definitely the most trustworthy of the candidates.”

    Marvin Teske, 53, a security guard at a Reno casino, is backing Hillary Clinton because he worries Sanders would have trouble winning in the fall.

    “All the stuff he is promising is never going to happen,” Teske said. “I’ve always liked Hillary.”

    3:30 p.m.

    A flood of Democratic caucus-goers trying to get into a room at Caesars Palace became such a problem that it briefly brought the process to a standstill.

    People had to register as Democrats before they could vote. But it was taking so long to register the hundreds of casino workers that they were in danger of exceeding their paid break times and having to return to work.

    First, Democratic party officials said the caucus would begin with-or-without those who had been waiting in line. A few minutes later they reversed themselves, rushed everyone inside the room and said they will register voters while the caucus is under way.

    3:20 p.m.

    Early results of an entrance poll of Nevada Democratic caucus-goers are showing that about half said they think the next president should generally continue President Barack Obama’s policies.

    About 4 in 10 say they want the next president to have more liberal policies.

    Among those who want a continuation of Obama’s policies, most are planning to support Clinton. Among those who want more liberal policies, most support Sanders.

    The survey was conducted for AP and the television networks by Edison Research as voters arrived at 25 randomly selected sites for Democratic caucuses in Nevada.

    3:15 p.m.

    Bernie Sanders is making an impromptu stop at a Las Vegas high school, walking past a long line of caucus-goers and answering questions about his campaign.

    Sanders asks at Western High School, “Any questions I can answer?”

    He is talking to voters about health care and getting big money out of politics. He jokes, “It’s a never ending line!”

    A reporter asked Sanders how he’s feeling on caucus day. He replied: “The bigger the turnout, the better I feel.”

    3:05 p.m.

    Early results of an entrance poll of Nevada Democratic caucus-goers are showing that Hillary Clinton captured the support of voters for whom electability and experience are of paramount importance.

    Bernie Sanders is doing best with voters who are looking for a candidate who cares and is honest.

    Voters who say the economy is most important in their vote decision were evenly divided between the candidates.

    Clinton has received two-thirds of the voters who care most health care, while Sanders is dominating by 6 in 10 voters who says income inequality is most important.

    Those who said the economy was their top issue split about evenly between the two candidates, while those whose top issue was health care tended to support Clinton and those who said income inequality tended to support Sanders.

    Caucus-goers were slightly more likely to say they preferred Clinton than Sanders to handle Supreme Court nominations.

    The survey was conducted for AP and the television networks by Edison Research as voters arrived at 25 randomly selected sites for Democratic caucuses in Nevada.

    3:00 p.m.

    Early results of an entrance poll of Nevada Democratic caucus-goers is showing that Hillary Clinton was backed by a majority of women, college educated voters, those with annual incomes over $50,000.

    The survey also showed that moderates, voters aged 45 and older, voters living in union households, suburbanites and non-white voters mostly backed Clinton.

    Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders did best with men, voters under 45, those less affluent and educated.

    Sanders did particularly well with the quarter of Democratic caucus voters who identify themselves as independents, getting 7 in 10 of their votes. He also was backed by nearly 6 in 10 of the 3 in 10 voters who consider themselves very liberal.

    Overall, whites were split in the Nevada democratic caucuses: more than half of white women preferred Clinton while about 6 in 10 white men supported Sanders.

    The survey was conducted for AP and the television networks by Edison Research as voters arrived at 25 randomly selected sites for Democratic caucuses in Nevada.

    2:45 p.m.

    Hundreds of voters are lining up to see Ohio Gov. John Kasich — in Massachusetts, not South Carolina.

    Kasich is spending the day of the South Carolina Republican primary campaigning in Massachusetts and Vermont, states that vote on March 1. He’s about to kick off an afternoon town hall in Worcester, Mass., following a morning meeting with in Burlington, Vermont. He’ll watch the South Carolina primary results with supporters in Boston.

    A cultural center in Worcester is packed with a standing-room only crowd waiting for Kasich and a line of voters is still waiting outside to enter the venue.

    2:30 p.m.

    A major Muslim civil rights group says Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s telling of a discredited story about a U.S. general shooting Muslims with bullets dipped in pigs’ blood could incite violence.

    The Council on American-Islamic Relations National Executive Director Nihad Awad says in a statement that Trump’s “inflammatory rhetoric has crossed the line from spreading hatred to inciting violence.”

    Trump was defending his support of waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques at a rally in South Carolina Friday night when he told the largely unsubstantiated tale of Gen. John Pershing allegedly halting Muslim attacks in the Philippines in the early 1900s by shooting them with bullets dipped in pigs’ blood.

    Pigs are considered unclean by Muslims and some other religious groups.

    2:15 p.m.

    Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump is questioning whether President Barack Obama would have attended Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s funeral Mass “if it were held in a mosque.”

    Trump says on Twitter that it’s “very sad” that Obama didn’t attend Saturday’s service in Washington.

    Vice President Joe Biden represented the administration. Obama visited the court on Friday to view Scalia’s flag-draped casket. The White House says Obama’s decision about the Mass was a “respectful arrangement” that took into account his large security detail.

    Trump has raised questions about Obama’s birthplace and religion, falsely suggesting that Obama was born outside the United States and is a Muslim.

    Trump’s tweet came as South Carolina was holding its GOP primary.

    2 p.m.

    Close call.

    Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders almost crossed paths just before Nevada’s Democratic caucuses get underway.

    First it was Sanders who stopped by an employee cafeteria at Harrah’s casino in Las Vegas. Just minutes after he left, Hillary Clinton came in and was greeted with cheers.

    Unionized casino workers are an important constituency in the caucuses. Their union has ensured that a room at each casino is open for employees to caucus in during special, two-hour paid breaks.

    1 p.m.

    Bernie Sanders is kicking off his caucus day in Nevada with culinary workers at the MGM Grand casino in Las Vegas.

    Sanders tells reporters that “if there’s a large turnout I think we’re going to do just fine. If it’s a low turnout, that may be another story.”

    Sanders drew cheers from union workers at the casino hotel’s cafeteria. He shook hands and posed for photos and asked workers if they planned to attend the caucuses.

    11:40 a.m.

    John Kasich’s presidential campaign is already claiming a victory of sorts in South Carolina.

    A top strategist, John Weaver, tells reporters that however the Republican candidate does in Saturday’s primary, Kasich’s showing will be enough to “drive somebody else out of the race.”

    Weaver says he’s expecting two candidates to drop out over the next week — including Jeb Bush. Weaver says that “for all practical purposes, there’s no path forward” for the former Florida governor.

    Kasich finished second in the New Hampshire primary, but the expectations are lower for his performance in South Carolina.

    The Ohio governor hasn’t ignored South Carolina, but he has focused resources on states in the Midwest and Northeast that host contests in March.

    10:45 a.m.

    Ted Cruz has taken time away from campaigning in South Carolina to attend the funeral Mass in Washington for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

    The Republican presidential candidate plans to be back in South Carolina later Saturday to await the results. Voting ends at 7 p.m.

    The Texas senator has a personal connection to the high court: In the late 1990s, he served as a law clerk for a year to then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist.

    10:10 a.m.

    Jeb Bush says he’s “excited where we stand” as he faces a critically important test in South Carolina’s Republican presidential primary.

    Bush says he’s going to “work hard for the day” and await results after the polls close at 7 p.m. He says “it’s interesting that a lot of people claim they’re undecided this late.”

    The former Florida governor entered the 2016 presidential race as an early favorite. But he may need a third-place finish — if not better — in South Carolina in order to remain a viable candidate.

    Bush tells reporters outside a polling location in Greenville that “to be able to beat expectations would be helpful. I think we’ll do that.”

    And his take on the prospects of a President Donald Trump? Bush says the billionaire businessman “can’t win, plain and simple.”

    9:15 a.m.

    Will there by a “Haley effect” in South Carolina’ Republican presidential primary?

    Jason Sims — a teacher from Mount Pleasant — says he made a last-minute decision to vote for Marco Rubio, and that Gov. Nikki Haley’s endorsement was “a big deal.”

    Sims say he was “kind of riding the fence” until Haley said she was backing the Florida senator.

    Rubio is trying to rebound after a disappointing fifth-place finish in New Hampshire — and he’s hoping the popular governor’s endorsement will be a big boost.

    Rubio wants to emerge as the go-to candidate for mainstream Republicans — and the chief alternative to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz in the race.

    8:40 a.m.

    There’s a lot of attention on Jeb Bush as South Carolina Republican vote in their presidential primary.

    The former Florida governor entered the 2016 presidential race as an early favorite. But he may need a third-place finish — if not better — on Saturday in order to remain viable in the race.

    Bush finished sixth in Iowa’s leadoff caucuses and fourth in New Hampshire.

    He’s trying to break out as the establishment alternative to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. But Bush has competition on that front, chiefly from Marco Rubio and John Kasich.

    Without a strong showing in South Carolina, the Bush campaign may have a hard time competing in Nevada next week and then in the large number of states voting on March 1.

    The post The latest: 2016 presidential election updates from South Carolina, Nevada appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters at his 2016 South Carolina presidential primary night victory rally in Spartanburg, South Carolina February 20, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst  - RTX27VA9

    Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters at his 2016 South Carolina presidential primary night victory rally in Spartanburg, South Carolina February 20, 2016. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    WATCH THE SOUTH CAROLINA RESULTS LIVE HERE

    SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Donald Trump scored his second straight Republican presidential primary win, rolling to victory in South Carolina on Saturday as voters seething about Washington and politicians helped propel the billionaire businessman past GOP establishment candidates.

    One of Trump’s favorite targets, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, finally threw in the towel, suspending his campaign after a dismal finish. “Thank you for the opportunity to run for the greatest office on the face of the earth,” an emotional Bush told his supporters.

    Two freshmen senators — Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida — were battling for second place, which would give them bragging rights but might not get them any delegates in the march to the nomination.

    In a family-affair victory speech, Trump ticked off his policy promises, vowing to terminate President Barack Obama’s health care law and get Mexico to pay for a wall at the border.

    “We’re going to start winning for our country because our country doesn’t win anymore,” said Trump, with his wife, Melania, and daughter Ivanka at his side.

    Their likely finish undercut the value of some coveted South Carolina endorsements. Rubio had the backing of Gov. Nikki Haley and Sen. Tim Scott; Cruz got the support of former Gov. Mark Sanford, now a House member.

    Exit polls showed 4 in 10 voters angry about how Washington is working, and more than half saying they felt betrayed by politicians in the Republican Party.

    “I don’t like politicians,” said Jim Jaruszewicz, a 37-year-old radiology technician who voted for Trump. “I don’t trust politicians.”

    Trump’s victory capped a week in which he called rivals liars, blamed House Speaker Paul Ryan for the GOP’s loss in the 2012 presidential race, and even tangled with Pope Francis.

    He was backed by nearly 4 in 10 of those who are angry at the federal government, and a third of those who feel betrayed. He did best with men, older voters, those without a college degree and veterans.

    Supporters of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump celebrate the close of the polls as they watch election results at a rally in Spartanburg, South Carolina February 20, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RTX27V2E

    Supporters of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump celebrate the close of the polls as they watch election results at a rally in Spartanburg, South Carolina February 20, 2016. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    About three-quarters of Republican primary voters support a temporary ban on Muslims who are not U.S. citizens from entering the United States. Nearly 4 in 10 of those voters backed Trump, while a third who oppose such a ban preferred Rubio.

    Trump won a majority of the delegates in the South Carolina primary — at least 38 of the 50 — and has a chance to win them all.

    Trump leads the overall race for delegates with 55. Ted Cruz has 11 delegates, Marco Rubio has 10, John Kasich has five, Jeb Bush has 4 and Ben Carson has three.

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

    While the real estate magnate scored a decisive win in New Hampshire, his second-place finish in Iowa to Cruz illustrated gaps in his less-than-robust ground operation, and questions remain about the extent to which he can translate leads in preference polls and large rally crowds into votes.

    Trump’s win Saturday could answer some of those questions, adding momentum going into the collection of Southern states that will vote March 1.

    The election followed days of hostility between the campaigns and their allies at events and in television ads, automatic calls and mailers.

    Trump added to the drama, spending the week threatening to sue Cruz, accusing former President George W. Bush of lying and sparring with Pope Francis over immigration.

    At his final election-eve rally Friday night in North Charleston, Trump told the widely discredited story of Gen. John Pershing, who was said to have halted Muslim attacks in the Philippines in the early 1900s by shooting the rebels with bullets dipped in pigs’ blood.

    The exit polling of voters was conducted for The Associated Press and the television networks by Edison Research.

    Associated Press writers Kathleen Ronayne in Columbia, South Carolina, and Alex Sanz in Greenville contributed to this report.

    The post Donald Trump wins big at South Carolina GOP primary appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Republican U.S. presidential candidate Jeb Bush walks to his bus after speaking at a campaign event in Greenville, South Carolina February 19, 2016.   REUTERS/Rainier Ehrhardt - RTX27R08

    Republican U.S. presidential candidate Jeb Bush walks to his bus after speaking at a campaign event in Greenville, South Carolina February 19, 2016. Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/Reuters

    COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Latest on the 2016 presidential election and two crucial contests Saturday: South Carolina’s Republican primary and Nevada’s Democratic caucuses (all times are Eastern Standard Time):

    8:45 p.m.

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says he is ending his bid for the White House.

    A teary-eyed Bush says he’s proud of the campaign he ran to unify the country and advocate conservative solutions.

    The son and brother of former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush entered the race to huge expectations in June, and quickly fueled them with fundraising.

    But he quickly slid in the polls behind some of his more outspoken Republican rivals such as billionaire businessman Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who have billed themselves as anti-establishment alternatives to the early front-runner.

    Following disappointing performances in both Iowa and New Hampshire, Bush pinned his hopes on South Carolina, a state where the Bush name has maintained some clout. But Bush was unable to break into the top three in South Carolina. He would likely have faced pressure from GOP leaders and donors to drop out had he stayed in the race.

    The post Jeb Bush drops out of the Republican race for president appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton meets employees during a campaign stop on caucus day at Harrah's Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada February 20, 2016. REUTERS/David Becker - RTX27UC9

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    ALISON STEWART, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR: NPR reporter Tamara Keith is covering the Nevada Democratic caucuses and she joins me now by phone from Las Vegas, from Caesar’s Palace to be exact, to discuss the results.

    Tamara, is this moment of victory for Hillary Clinton’s campaign or a moment of relief?

    TAMARA KEITH, NPR REPORTER (via telephone): Oh, I think you can call it both. It is definitely a moment of relief. Polls showed it very tight heading into it and they absolutely needed this victory and they have a win.

    It may not be a landslide win, but it’s a win and it’s something that, you know, they’re going to head into South Carolina next, where polls show Clinton way ahead. And they feel like they have able to — they’ve been able to stop or slow down Bernie Sanders’ momentum or Bern-mentum, if you will.

    STEWART: What can we learn about ground game from this win?

    KEITH: I think that you can learn the ground game is important. Hillary Clinton’s campaign was here in April they started and they did all kinds of activities, resume workshop with young people … and politics, women’s groups where they would meet and talk about politics. And they did that early and often.

    Sanders’ campaign really didn’t show up until November and much of their staff came even later than that. And I think that you can see that, you can see the difference in the organization on the ground. And in a caucus state, especially, organization matters.

    STEWART: Bernie Sanders’ concession speech wasn’t really that much of a concession. He talked about he would win the states ahead. What evidence is there that that will happen given the states that are coming up in the next two weeks?

    KEITH: Well, there are states that he will have trouble with, like South Carolina, for instance. But then there are states on Super Tuesday. There are a number of caucus states and there are also states in New England where he likely has that same base of support that he showed in New Hampshire.

    So, to think that it is over tonight would be wrong. Hillary Clinton is still going to have a fight on her hands. But she certainly has to be relieved.

    And Sanders is looking at this and saying, look, he’s raising a ton of money. He has the money. He’s going strong. He has energy of his young supporters. And his supporters would say, hey, look, in Nevada, he was able to show that he can get support of minority voters, maybe not — obviously not as much support as Hillary Clinton, but he was still able to show an ability to gain support.

    STEWART: I want to pick up on what you mentioned about him sort of glossing over South Carolina and headed straight toward Super Tuesday with laser focus. What’s the calculation there? Why?

    KEITH: He is on his way to South Carolina right now, but he is definitely looking ahead to Super Tuesday because there are a ton of states voting on Super Tuesday, on March 1st and it’s far more favorable to him. He has not been able to chip away very well at her support with African-American voters.

    Polls show that she is absolutely dominating with African-American voters in South Carolina and Sanders is — there’s a big map out there and a lot more delegates to be won and lost and he’s going for those.

    STEWART: Tamara Keith from NPR, thanks for sharing your reporting.

    KEITH: You’re welcome.

    The post Clinton wins caucuses in Nevada appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Screen Shot 2016-02-06 at 3.37.12 PM

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    STEPHEN FEE: They may look like toys, but these small planes flying high above Oklahoma State University in Stillwater may one day help weather forecasters predict storms and save lives.

    Oklahoma State, along with three other universities, won a $6 million National Science Foundation grant to develop small weather-sensing drones. Professor James Jacob is the project’s principal investigator.

    JAMEY JACOB: “The goal of the project is to be able to put in the hands of end users in four years meteorologists and atmospherics physicists the technology that will allow them to perform routine day to day measurements of the atmosphere, you know it’s really there to help us improve both our understanding of the atmosphere as well as improve our forecasting of severe weather events.”

    STEPHEN FEE: Twenty-four-year-old Alyssa Avery is one of Jacob’s graduate students. Over the past two years, she’s been building her own aircraft, named Maria.

    ALYSSA AVERY: “The project is basically designing an aircraft, a small one remotely piloted, that can fly around severe storms and collect as much data as we can so we can lengthen that warning time and make it more safe for everyone living in tornado areas.”

    STEPHEN FEE: As an engineer, her job is to build a plane strong enough to fly close to developing supercells, the mega storms that often lead to tornadoes in Oklahoma.

    Avery’s aircraft is designed to deploy sensors that monitor temperature, windspeed and atmospheric pressure.

    STEPHEN FEE: “We can’t measure this stuff from the ground? It’s better to do it in the air?

    ALYSSA AVERY: “Yeah so right now we have radar, which obviously everyone knows about, so it surveys at a higher altitude. It did improve weather models a lot but when it comes to that really precise, like, how close is it going to be, where is it going to be, what’s actually going to turn into a tornado versus just circulation which is much less dangerous, they don’t have that — it’s called in situ, which is right there thermodynamic data.”

    STEPHEN FEE: In other words, forecasters need to get closer to the action, scanning parts of the atmosphere that traditional radar, weather balloons and sophisticated weather towers can’t reach.

    That sweet spot is called the lower atmospheric boundary layer, a zone roughly 1,000 feet off the ground.

    Phillip Chilson is a professor of meteorology at the University of Oklahoma and is also involved in the project.

    PHILLIP CHILSON: “There has been a need for high quality measurements of the lower atmosphere that’s been known by the meteorological community for decades. The lowest level of the atmosphere is so dynamic spatially and temporally, that it’s very under-sampled at present.”

    STEPHEN FEE: So to get more information about that part of the atmosphere, students at Oklahoma State aren’t just building the planes, they’re designing the sensors and writing the software that processes the data gathered in the skies.

    Twenty-one-year-old Nicholas Foster is designing a small pod that aircraft-like Maria may one day carry into a storm.

    NICHOLAS FOSTER: “Essentially it’s just a packet of sensors. So what I’m doing is these will go go inside of Maria, and these will be the things that fall out and parachute down and take the data on the way down.”

    STEPHEN FEE: The Oklahoma State researchers hope this technology can be used at home and around the world to give forecasters earlier warnings of severe weather.

    JAMEY JACOB: “Getting this data will allow them to take our forecasts which now for severe storms and tornadoes at the ten to fifteen mark, maybe up to the hour mark where we can actually warn on forecast and say, hey you know you’re going to have severe weather in your area that you’re going to see something like a tornado. And you know that’s really going to save lives in the end.”

    EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this piece stated that Oklahoma State, along with four universities received the National Science Foundation grant. In fact, a total of four universities, including Oklahoma State, received the grant.

    The post In Tornado Alley, using drones to pinpoint severe weather appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Republican U.S. presidential candidates Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Marco Rubio gesture at Donald Trump  during the South Carolina Republican debate on February 13, 2016. Photo By Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Republican U.S. presidential candidates Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Marco Rubio gesture at Donald Trump during the South Carolina Republican debate on February 13, 2016. Photo By Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Donald Trump’s resounding victory in South Carolina had Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz playing tug-of-war Sunday over who’s the stronger anti-Trump.

    Rubio, who placed second in South Carolina based on complete but unofficial returns, argued that his policy specifics trump Trump’s big talk. “If you’re running for president of the United States, you can’t just tell people you’re going to make America great again,” Rubio said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

    Cruz, right behind Rubio in the South Carolina vote, stressed his conservative credentials and said he was the lone “strong conservative in this race who can win. We see conservatives continuing to unite behind our campaign,” he told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

    Trump, looking ever more in control of the race for the GOP nomination, opted against his trademark braggadocio in assessing the state of the race.

    Asked on CBS if the race was his to lose, Trump said, “I don’t want to say it’s mine. Certainly I’m leading, there’s no question about that, but we’ve got a long way to go.”

    The GOP candidates were fanning out Sunday to Nevada, Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia and beyond as the race spreads out and speeds up after the kickoff trio of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Nevada’s GOP caucuses are Tuesday, and then a dozen states vote in the March 1 Super Tuesday bonanza.

    The Democrats next compete Saturday in South Carolina after Hillary Clinton blunted concerns about her viability with a clear victory over Bernie Sanders in Nevada, the first state to test the Democrats’ appeal among a racially diverse group of voters.

    Clinton celebrated her Nevada triumph but acknowledged she has work to do in persuading voters that she has their best interests at heart.

    “I think there’s an underlying question that maybe is really in the back of people’s minds and that is, you know, is she in it for us or is she in it for herself?” Clinton said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” ”I think that is a question that people are trying to sort through.”

    Sanders took a hard look at the where the delegate math takes him from here. He acknowledged that while he has made gains on Clinton, “at the end of the day … you need delegates.” He looked past South Carolina and ticked off Colorado, Minnesota, Massachusetts and Oklahoma as places where he hopes to do well.

    Trump, now the clear leader in the delegate race, cemented his standing as his party’s favorite. No Republican in modern times has won New Hampshire and South Carolina and then failed to win the nomination.

    “It’s tough, it’s nasty, it’s mean, it’s vicious,” Trump said of the rollicking presidential campaign. “It’s beautiful. When you win, it’s beautiful.”

    Trump’s victory was vindication for political mavericks whose hunger for an outsider has defined this year’s campaign. But those fortunes didn’t extend to Sanders this weekend. After winning the second contest in New Hampshire, the democratic socialist came up in short in Nevada, where Clinton collected the majority of delegates and told gleeful supporters that “this one is for you.”

    For Republican Jeb Bush, it was the end of the line. With donors ready to bolt, the political scion dropped out of the race after failing to break into the top three.

    A string of victories for Clinton and Trump in Super Tuesday contests would give them commanding leads in the delegate race, dampening prospects for their rivals to catch up. Already, Trump leads Republicans with 61 of the needed 1,237 delegates, while Clinton has 503 to Sanders’ 70, including superdelegates who back the candidate of their choice.

    The biggest question facing Republicans now is whether those seeking to spoil a Trump nomination have simply run out of time.

    Rubio and Cruz argued that with roughly 70 percent of GOP voters consistently voting for someone other than Trump, they have an opening as the GOP field keeps shrinking.

    Rubio called it the “alternative-to-Donald-Trump vote,” and predicted it would coalesce around him.

    Cruz countered that he’s the only Republican who’s been able to beat Trump so far, referring to his victory in leadoff Iowa.

    The post Cruz and Rubio locked in fight over ‘anti-Trump’ voters appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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