The Latest: New Jersey’s Christie endorses Donald Trump


HOUSTON (AP) — The Latest on the race for president ahead of Super Tuesday, the biggest single-day delegate haul of the nomination contests (all times local):

1:02 p.m.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is slamming Florida Sen. Marco Rubio as he endorses Donald Trump for president.

Christie says, “We don’t need any more of these Washington, D.C., acts.”

Christie memorably attacked the freshman senator at the final Republican debate before the New Hampshire primary, tripping up Rubio in a moment that likely contributed to his poor performance in the state’s primary. Christie accused him of parroting the same talking points repeatedly and said a president should be able to think on his feet.

The endorsement from Christie comes the day after Rubio changed tactics in Thursday’s GOP debate and began to attack Trump on a variety of fronts, from his business background to his preparedness to lead the nation. Rubio continued on Friday morning, calling Trump “a con artist” during a round of morning television interviews.

Trump says Rubio is a “desperate guy” and said, “I don’t think he’s of presidential caliber.”

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12:50 p.m.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is endorsing Donald Trump in the race for the GOP presidential nomination.

Christie says at a news conference in Fort Worth, Texas, that Trump “will do what needs to be done to protect the American people.”

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12:40 p.m.

Hillary Clinton could be the nation’s first female president. Bernie Sanders warns of the role of super PACs in politics.

While the two themes have become a big part of their primary contest, Americans view the issues very differently.

A new Associated Press-GfK poll finds that 19 percent of Americans say they would be more likely to vote for a presidential candidate if the person is a woman while 64 percent say a candidate’s gender has no bearing on their decision.

And in a sign of Sanders’ powerful message, the poll finds that 46 percent say they’re more likely to vote for a candidate who doesn’t want outside groups supporting his or her campaign. Thirty-eight percent says it makes no difference to voters.

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12:26 p.m.

Hillary Clinton stopped in at some Charleston eateries Friday morning, taking selfies, picking up pastries and even scoring a wedding invitation.

Clinton visited the soul food restaurant Hannibal’s Kitchen and Saffron Cafe and Bakery. At the bakery she met 29-year-old Joe Schreck, of Atlanta, who was enjoying bloody marys with his groomsmen on his wedding day. Clinton posed for a photo with the group.

“That’s pretty exciting,” Clinton exclaimed, learning about the wedding. When some of the men crouched down in front of her for the photo, she joked “I love having men at my feet.”

Schreck said he invited Clinton to the festivities that night, but she declined. He said he liked Clinton, but was still undecided about who he would vote for.

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12:25 p.m.

Donald Trump may want to invest in spell check.

The GOP front-runner took to Twitter Friday morning to unleash against the two rivals who took him on during Thursday evening’s GOP debate.

But his tweets contained numerous typos, drawing a barrage of attention on social media.

“Lying Ted Cruz and leightweight chocker Marco Rubio teamed up last night in a last ditch effort to stop our great movement. They failed!” he wrote in one, misspelling both ‘lightweight’ and ‘choker.’

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10:58 a.m.

Sen. Lindsey Graham is so disgusted with the GOP’s embrace of Donald Trump, he says: “My party has gone batshit crazy.”

In no-holds-barred remarks Thursday night, the South Carolina senator and unsuccessful presidential candidate said the GOP has lost all semblance of sanity. He predicted irrevocable losses in November if Republicans back Trump.

Graham says Republicans have the best chance in years to win as Democrats are likely to nominate Hillary Clinton, who has been damaged by questions about her trustworthiness. But he says Republicans could blow it.

He calls Clinton the “most dishonest person in America.”

Graham has repeatedly engaged in name-calling with Trump, but Thursday’s remarks were to more than 750 members of Congress, journalists and congressional aides at the Washington Press Club Foundation’s annual congressional dinner.

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09:39 a.m.

Hillary Clinton is claiming new momentum on the eve of a South Carolina Democratic primary that she’s expected to win handily.

Clinton told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” in an interview Friday that she thinks it takes her “a little bit longer to get into the rhythm of campaigning” but that her campaign hit its stride in Nevada.

She said, “our message of breaking all barriers is really beginning to take hold. I really felt we were on an upward trajectory.”

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07:51 a.m.

Marco Rubio is waging a fresh verbal assault against Donald Trump the day after he and Republican rival Ted Cruz tag-teamed the Republican front-runner on the debate stage.

The Florida senator repeatedly called the billionaire business “a con artist” during a round of Friday morning television interviews. Rubio also questioned Trump’s business background, attacked his preparedness to lead the nation, and charged that Trump has been “sticking it to the little guy” for decades.

Rubio told CBS’ “This Morning”: “A con artist is about to take over the Republican Party and the conservative movement, and we have to put a stop to it.”

At the same time, Rubio allies prepared to spend millions on Trump attack ads in key states.

The multi-faceted takedown effort comes four days before Super Tuesday.

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