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Tuesday, November 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Campaign notebook: Cruz says Trump’s lawsuit threat is frivolous

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at a rally Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, in Anderson, S.C. (Paul Sancya / Associated Press)
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at a rally Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, in Anderson, S.C. (Paul Sancya / Associated Press)
Associated Press

BEAUFORT, S.C. – Ted Cruz says if Donald Trump sues him as threatened over a campaign ad, the lawsuit would be dismissed as frivolous.

Cruz lashed out at Trump at a news conference Wednesday in South Carolina, three days before the state’s primary.

Cruz says the ad, which includes footage of Trump declaring his support for abortion rights, can’t be defamatory because it includes comments Trump himself made on national TV. Trump has since said his position has changed and he is anti-abortion.

Speaking directly to Trump, Cruz says. “you have been threatening frivolous lawsuits for your entire adult life. Even in the annals of frivolous lawsuits, this takes the cake.”

Rubio says he will confront ‘outrageous’ comments

Marco Rubio says going forward he’ll address audience members who use “outrageous, over-the-top and egregious” language during his events.

That’s in response to an incident Tuesday night when an audience member shouted out “Water board Hillary!” Rubio laughed on the suggestion at the time. He pointed to the press in the back of the room while chuckling and said he didn’t hear the comment, but knew it wasn’t profanity.

The next morning in Mount Pleasant, S.C., Rubio said he didn’t hear exactly what the shouter said.

He added, “But I also can’t be I the position of correcting everyone in the audience that says something, because I’ll never get through my speech.”

Rubio says that going forward, “If it’s something outrageous, over the top and egregious, I’ll address it.”

Presidential candidates are often confronted with heated or violent rhetoric during their events.

Hillary Clinton was criticized after laughing off an audience member’s suggestion last fall that someone strangle Republican Carly Fiorina. In 2008, John McCain corrected an audience member who called President Barack Obama an Arab.

Trump doubles down on waterboarding

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump declared on Wednesday morning that “torture works” and repeated his vow to bring back waterboarding and approve other, tougher interrogation techniques.

“Don’t tell me it doesn’t work. Torture works, OK folks?” Trump tells a crowd of several hundred in Sun City, South Carolina. “You know, I have these guys, torture doesn’t work. Believe me, it works, OK? And waterboarding is your minor form.”

Trump has repeatedly advocated enhanced interrogation techniques for foreign prisoners, including during a recent GOP debate. He said again Wednesday he would “absolutely” allow waterboarding, which simulates the feeling of drowning.

“But we should go much stronger than waterboarding,” he adds. “That’s the way I feel. They’re chopping off heads. Believe me, we should go much stronger because our country’s in trouble, we’re in danger. We have people that want to do really bad things.”

“Waterboarding is fine, but it’s not nearly tough enough,” he says.

(Waterboarding was practiced until late in the Bush administration, but was disavowed by President Barack Obama. A 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee report concluded that harsh interrogation techniques failed to produce information the CIA couldn’t have obtained elsewhere or didn’t already have. Republican leaders objected to the report’s findings, as did some former CIA officials, who said they gained vital intelligence that still guides counterterrorism efforts.)

Kasich-backed ad uses Gingrich

An outside group supporting John Kasich’s presidential bid is up with an ad in South Carolina featuring a defense by the most recent winner of this state’s GOP primary.

In the television spot from New Day for America, the image – but not the voice – of former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich appears, defending Kasich against attacks that paint the Ohio governor as soft on defense.

Earlier this week, an outside group backing Jeb Bush began airing an ad in this military-minded state – home to to Fort Jackson and Parris Island, massive training installations for the Army and Marine Corps, as well as a number of air bases and a naval training school for nuclear submarine officers – aiming to use Kasich’s own words against him. Both Kasich and Gingrich denounced the criticism.

In the New Day ad, a narrator quotes Gingrich’s recent remarks to a newspaper that Kasich, alongside whom he served in Congress, “consistently fought for a better, more effective military.”

On the trail himself on Wednesday, Bush continued to take on some of his GOP rivals, including Kasich, who have not argued for military spending increases on the same scale Bush has, painting himself as best-positioned to assume the role of commander in chief.

Trump on Lindsey Graham: ‘One of the dumbest human beings I’ve ever seen’

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump slammed South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham in Sun City on Wednesday, calling his former rival “one of the dumbest human beings I’ve ever seen.”

Trump was responding to Graham’s appearance on Fox News earlier Wednesday, when Graham called Trump “a kook” and “unfit for office” and said he would be “the most flawed nominee in the history of the Republican Party.”

Trump hit back from a stage in Sun City, mocking Graham’s demeanor, saying, “He couldn’t even talk. He was shaking – the hatred.

“He went crazy. The guy is a nut job,” says Trump.

Graham appeared calm in the interview.

Trump also mocked Graham’s low level of support in polls before he dropped out of the GOP contest as well as his perspective on U.S. military engagement.

“I could push him over with a little thimble,” says Trump, adding: “This guy knows nothing.”

It was in Sun City in June that Trump read Graham’s cell phone number out loud to the crowd – one of the first signs that his campaign was eager to break all the rules of political decorum.

Bush says opponents ill-prepared to be president

Jeb Bush is swinging hard at fellow Republican presidential candidates Marco Rubio, Donald Trump and John Kasich Wednesday, dismissing them as ill-prepared as he fights for his political survival.

The former Florida governor says Rubio’s claim that Bush has no foreign policy experience is “a low blow.” Bush touts his two terms as governor and 30-plus years in the private sector, which included overseas trade missions.

He called Rubio, a U.S. senator from Florida, “a back-bencher” and “a guy whose office has a hard time actually saying what his accomplishments are.”

National security is a key issue in the South Carolina primary. Bush is in a fight with Rubio, Ohio Gov. Kasich and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for second place to Trump’s commanding lead in Saturday’s primary.

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