The Latest: Sanders, Clinton continue 'progressive' spat

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — The Latest from presidential contenders on the campaign trail (all times local):


10:20 p.m.

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are continuing their spat over who is a true progressive at a Democratic forum in New Hampshire.

At the televised forum hosted by CNN in Derry Wednesday night, Sanders listed a series of issues where he said Clinton was out of step with liberals in the Democratic party, including trade, Wall Street regulation, climate change and the 2002 authorization of the war in Iraq.

Sanders says: "I do not know any progressive who has a super PAC and takes $15 million dollars from Wall Street. That's just not progressive."

Clinton is pushing back, saying she was "amused today that Senator Sanders has set himself up to be the gatekeeper on who's a progressive."

She added: "I know where I stand. I know who stands with me. I know what I've done."


9:50 p.m.

Donald Trump is blaming rival Ted Cruz — wrongly — for President Barack Obama's health care law.

Trump says Cruz is "the one that got Justice Roberts onto the United States Supreme Court. He pushed him, he approved him and Justice Roberts approved Obamacare twice when it should have been rejected."

Trump says, "Ted Cruz gave us Obamacare."

Cruz did indeed support John Roberts' nomination. But Roberts was confirmed in 2005, years before Cruz was elected to the Senate.

Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler says, "Trump's claim is ridiculous, especially considering that he has advocated and supported a single-payer health care system along with many other social liberal policies."

Trump has been lashing out at Cruz for telling voters Trump supports Obama's Affordable Care Act.

Trump voiced support for a single-payer health care system years ago, but now denounces Obama's law and says he'll "repeal and replace" it.

He says, "What I hate is when somebody lies."


9:20 p.m.

Donald Trump is continuing to dispute his second-place finish in Iowa's kickoff caucuses earlier this week.

Trump told a crowd of thousands in Little Rock, Arkansas, on Wednesday night, "Actually, I think I came in first."

Trump is taking issue with rumors, allegedly circulated by backers of rival Ted Cruz on caucus night, that Ben Carson had decided to drop out of the race. Trump has said the results of the election should be thrown out as a result of that and other actions by Cruz.

The billionaire businessman says: "Oh that voter fraud! You know these politicians are brutal, brutal. They are a bunch of dishonest cookies, I want to tell you."

Trump is also continuing to hit Cruz on his birthplace, saying, "We don't need a president who was born in Canada."


9 p.m.

Donald Trump, who helped popularize the "birther" movement questioning President Barack Obama's birthplace, is again making a veiled suggestion about the president's religion.

Trump was asked on Fox News Channel about the president's visit to a Maryland mosque Wednesday.

Trump says, "Maybe he feels comfortable there."

The Republican presidential candidate says: "We have a lot of problems in this country. ... There are a lot of places he can go and he chose a mosque." Trump adds, "That's his decision, that's fine."

Trump also made a reference to Obama's religion Tuesday at a rally in New Hampshire when he referenced the president boarding Air Force One to celebrate "Christmas or whatever he celebrates."

Obama said his mosque visit was aimed at correcting what he called a "hugely distorted impression" of Muslim-Americans.


8:30 p.m.

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio says he looks forward to teaming up with former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who ended his White House run and endorsed Rubio Wednesday.

Rubio told reporters in New Hampshire that he has "tremendous respect for Rick."

The endorsement caps a day of changes in the Republican nominating campaign. Earlier in the day, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul suspended his campaign.

Rubio says Santorum "has a message" for "Americans who work hard with their hands every day to make a living and move their families forward."

He says Santorum is "going to be hopefully very active in our campaign. And we want to use him as much as he's willing to work. We're excited about it."


7:30 p.m.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum says he is ending his bid for the White House and will support Republican candidate Marco Rubio.

Santorum said Wednesday on Fox News Channel that he is "suspending our campaign as of this moment."

He described Rubio as a "born leader" and praised his "optimistic" message.

Santorum entered the race in May as a heavy underdog in a crowded Republican field featuring more than a dozen high-profile candidates — many of them newcomers to presidential politics.

His longshot status kept him off the mainstage in all of the presidential debates, his campaign never gaining enough steam to put him up against heavyweight contenders like billionaire Donald Trump, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.


6:50 p.m.

Donald Trump is taking a break from New Hampshire to campaign in Arkansas.

Trump's southern rallies typically draw his largest crowds and the rally in Little Rock will provide him a chance to demonstrate strength after a second-place finish to Ted Cruz Monday night in Iowa's caucuses.

Trump has a wide lead in early polls in New Hampshire.


4:29 p.m.

Jeb Bush has now asked an audience to applaud for him.

Bush delivered a speech in Hanover, N.H., in which he said the next president "needs to be a lot quieter, but send a signal that we're prepared to act in the national security interest of this country — to get back in the business of creating a more peaceful world."

As he paused, one woman behind him appeared to start clapping. To everyone else, he urged: "Please clap."

The crowd obliged.

The former Florida governor was once considered the presumptive front runner in the 2016 race for the Republican presidential nomination. On Monday, he came in sixth with 2.8 percent of the vote in Iowa's leadoff caucuses.


4:00 p.m.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says if he faces Hillary Clinton on a debate stage, he'd "beat her rear end."

Christie, who like Clinton is a lawyer, says he's the last person Clinton wants to debate. "You know why?" he asked an audience in Lebanon, New Hampshire. "She's been running away from federal prosecutors the last six months." He was referring to the investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server as secretary of state.

"She sees a federal prosecutor on the stage, I'll beat her rear-end on that stage," Christie said. "And you know what? After I do, she'll be relieved because she would just be worried I was going to serve her with a subpoena. It will be a relief just to lose the debate."


3: 42 p.m.

Carly Fiorina says she and all candidates should be allowed on the same debate stage.

She writes in a letter to the Republican National Committee, the lone woman in the GOP race complained that the party is letting the networks make up debate rules as they go along "for the best TV, in their opinion."

In the last few nationally televised debates, Fiorina has been relegated to the undercard stage for candidates failing to garner the polling numbers required by sponsoring networks to participate.

Fiorina says the 2012 debate stage featured all eight contenders until the Iowa caucus and that all declared candidates continued to be invited. But with the recent withdrawals of several GOP candidates Fiorina says she could now be the only candidate to be kept from the main stage.

The GOP candidates are next set to debate Saturday in New Hampshire.


2:42 p.m.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich says Rand Paul brought an important debate over privacy and security to the GOP presidential race.

Kasich is telling reporters he plans to call the Kentucky senator, who ended his White House bid early Wednesday, even though he's not expecting Paul's endorsement.

He says he'll help Paul however he can in his re-election bid, joking "I'd go to Kentucky either to speak for or against him, whatever would help."


12:29 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is pushing back against a comment from Bernie Sanders that she is a progressive "some days."

During a town hall meeting in Derry, New Hampshire, on Wednesday, the former secretary of state called the statement a "low blow," before listing a series of accomplishments that she described as progressive — including her work on expanding access to children's health insurance, advocating for women and gay people and pushing for gun control measures.

She says she's been fighting "the progressive fight" for years, adding of the campaign, "I hope we keep it on the issues. Because if it's about our records, hey I'm going to win by a landslide."

The Vermont senator spoke to reporters during a news conference in Keene on Tuesday. Asked if Clinton was a progressive, he said: "Some days, yes. Except when she announces that she is a proud moderate. Then I guess she is not a progressive."

Sanders added that it was hard to take on the establishment "when you become as dependent as she has through her super PAC and in other ways on Wall Street or drug company money."


12:27 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is campaigning in New Hampshire as her first television ad blitz is begins in next-up South Carolina.

The spot features former Attorney General Eric Holder praising Clinton on civil rights issues and for her promise to curb gun violence and police brutality.

All are issues important to black voters, who will make up a majority of the Democratic electorate in South Carolina's Feb. 27 primary.

Holder was the nation's first African-American attorney general and already has campaigned for Clinton in South Carolina.

"If you want to make sure Republicans don't take us backward, help Hillary move us forward," Holder says in the ad.


12:11 p.m.

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum's campaign schedule is on hold, according to the director of his South Carolina campaign.

Jon Parker says the former Pennsylvania senator planned lengthy tour of South Carolina beginning this week ahead of the Feb. 20 primary that follows New Hampshire. Parker could not confirm whether Santorum is considering abandoning his bid altogether after finishing 11th out of 12 candidates in the Iowa caucus, saying only, "I'm hopeful to get the tour cranked back up soon."

In 2012, Santorum won Iowa in 2012 and finished third in South Carolina.


11:15 a.m.

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush is being joined on the campaign trail by Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

Cantor introduced Bush Wednesday to a large crowd on the campus of Colby-Sawyer College in New London, N.H.

Cantor praised Bush for his record as Florida's governor, commending his education reforms and his emergency response efforts during several hurricanes.

Cantor says Bush sticks "to the principles of limited government" and "is the one who will never let you down."

Bush is banking on voters in New Hampshire to lift his struggling campaign.


11:00 a.m.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is expressing openness to some type of campaign finance reform that favors small dollar donations.

Kasich says in Durham, New Hampshire, that it "an't that great" for one person to be able to contribute $10 million to support a specific candidate. Donors can contribute unlimited amounts of money to super PACs, a system that's helped some candidates stay in the presidential contest even as their campaign fundraising lags.

Kasich himself is the beneficiary of such a super PAC, called New Day for America.

Kasich also says it's imperative that Congress "end gerrymandering."


10:15 a.m.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio says he will try to persuade some of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul's supporters to redirect their support to him, despite the stark differences the two have on foreign policy.

After an event in Bow, N.H. Wednesday, Rubio said he and his now-former rival have "had some policy disagreements," especially on national security issues. But he called Paul a "real believer" in the issues that matter to him.

Paul announced Wednesday that he would suspend his campaign for the presidency and turn his full attention to his Senate re-election bid.

Both men were elected to the Senate during the rise of the tea party in 2010.


9:40 a.m.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich says Republicans will be "making a terrible mistake" if they underestimate the challenge of beating Hillary Clinton in a general election.

Kasich says Clinton would be a "strong candidate" in the fall election and Republican "better have somebody that can unite." The governor spoke to reporters at a Bloomberg Politics breakfast in Manchester.

Kasich has staked his presidential hopes on New Hampshire. Unlike most of his rivals, he's embracing his political experience both in Washington and Ohio.

Kasich has also largely avoided direct attacks on other GOP candidates. However, he did criticize those who "try to win a vote using God," saying it "cheapens God."

Kasich wouldn't say what candidates he was specifically referring to in his comments about religion.


9:20 a.m.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is taking issue with the results of Monday's Iowa caucuses, accusing contest winner Ted Cruz of fraud.

In attacks posted on his official Twitter account Wednesday, Trump says "either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified."

A previous tweet posted by the billionaire businessman accused the Cruz campaign of telling Iowa voters that Ben Carson was quitting the race so he could steal Carson votes.

Trump came in second behind Cruz in Monday's leadoff Iowa caucuses — which he had previously described on Twitter as a "long-shot great finish."


9:00 a.m.

Rand Paul is dropping out of the 2016 race for president.

Paul said in a statement that he will turn his full attention to his Senate re-election campaign in Kentucky. The 52-year-old ophthalmologist is favored to win that race.

The first-term senator from Kentucky exits the race having never caught on with Republican voters, who have made billionaire businessman Donald Trump the front-runner in the race for the party's nomination.

Paul was determined to improve the GOP's popularity among younger voters and minorities. But his message failed to catch on and his appeal never broadened beyond the small group of libertarian-leaning Republicans that backed the previous White House bids of his father, Ron Paul.