Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

The Latest: Ted Cruz makes a small dent in Donald Trump’s delegate lead

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, acknowledges the crowd after speaking at a rally at the Macomb Community College, Saturday, March 5, 2016, in Warren, Mich. (Carlos Osorio / Associated Press)

WASHINGTON – The Latest on the 2016 presidential campaign, with voters in five states getting their say Saturday in nominating contests (all times Pacific Standard Time):

8:35 p.m.

Ted Cruz won at least 64 delegates Saturday, making a small dent in Donald Trump’s lead in the race for delegates to the Republican National Convention this summer.

Trump got at least 49 delegates. There were still 20 delegates left to be allocated, pending late returns in Kentucky and Louisiana.

Marco Rubio added at least 13 delegates and John Kasich won at least nine.

There were a total of 155 Republican delegates at stake Saturday in Kansas, Maine, Kentucky and Louisiana. Cruz won the presidential caucuses in Kansas and Maine, while Trump won in Louisiana and Kentucky.

In the overall race for delegates, Trump has 378 and Cruz has 295. Rubio has 123 delegates and Kasich has 34.

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

8:31 p.m.

Hillary Clinton has won a majority of delegates in Saturday’s nominating contests thanks to her big win in Louisiana.

With 109 delegates at stake for the night, Clinton picked up at least 55. Sanders won at least 47, having prevailed in the smaller states of Kansas and Nebraska. Seven delegates remain to be allocated.

Including superdelegates, Clinton now has at least 1,121 delegates. Sanders has at least 479. It takes 2,383 delegates to win.

8:14 p.m.

Marco Rubio’s campaign for president is rejecting Donald Trump’s call for the Florida senator to get out of the Republican race for president.

Rubio campaign spokesman Alex Conant says, “Trump’s history as a con artist is being exposed. He canceled CPAC today because he’s not a conservative.”

Trump was scheduled to speak on Saturday at the annual gathering of conservative activists in suburban Washington. He instead made a campaign stop in Kansas.

The billionaire businessman won nominating contests in Louisiana and Kentucky. At a news conference, he says Rubio should leave the race. Says Trump, “Marco has to get out of the race. Has to.”

With 123 delegates, Rubio is 252 delegates behind Trump in the race for the 1,237 needed to win the Republican nomination for president.

Conant says, “Trump knows that Marco has the momentum in Florida and is afraid because he knows losing those 99 delegates to Marco will be a turning point in this race.”

8:08 p.m.

Ted Cruz is making a small dent in Donald Trump’s lead in the race for delegates to the Republican National Convention this summer.

Cruz picked up at least 60 delegates Saturday, winning Republican caucuses in Kansas and Maine. Donald Trump collected at least 46 delegates, winning in Louisiana and Kentucky.

Marco Rubio added at least 13 delegates and John Kasich won at least eight.

There are a total of 155 Republican delegates at stake Saturday in Kansas, Maine, Kentucky and Louisiana. There are still 28 delegates to be allocated, in Louisiana and Kentucky.

In the overall race for delegates, Trump has 375 and Cruz has 291. Rubio has 123 delegates and Kasich has 33.

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

7:55 p.m.

After postings wins in Louisiana and Kentucky’s presidential nominating contests, Republican front-runner Donald Trump says it is “probably time” for rival Marco Rubio to drop out of Republican race for president.

The Florida senator finished no better than third in any of Saturday’s primary elections and caucuses. Meanwhile, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won in Maine and Kansas.

Trump congratulated Cruz for his victories. But he joked that it’s natural that Cruz won Maine because, “it’s very close to Canada, let’s face it.”

Trump has questioned Cruz’s eligibility to be president, because the Texas lawmaker was born on Canadian soil. Many legal experts have said that Cruz is a natural born citizen who is eligible to serve as president.

7:46 p.m.

Donald Trump has won the Republican presidential caucuses in Kentucky, adding to his victory earlier Saturday in Louisiana.

That’s the 12th state win for the billionaire businessman, who aimed to extend his delegate lead over Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in Saturday’s nominating contests.

Among his supporters in Kentucky was 57-year-old Karen Gallardo, a lifelong Republican who said she was proud to caucus for the real estate mogul.

She says, “It wasn’t a close call.”

She adds, “The reason I want Trump so bad is that I feel he has a vision, he knows the country. He is a successful businessman.”

7:45 p.m.

Bernie Sanders has won two out of the three states where Democrats voted on Saturday. But that isn’t translating into any gains for him in The Associated Press delegate count.

With 109 delegates at stake Saturday, Clinton is on track to win a majority of them, having gained at least 51 after her big win in Louisiana. Sanders picked up at least 45.

Democratic contests award delegates in proportion to the vote, so even the loser gets some. Clinton’s substantial margin of victory in the bigger state of Louisiana withstood Sanders’ wins in Kansas and Nebraska.

That means Clinton will maintain her substantial delegate lead.

Including superdelegates, she now has a total of least 1,117 delegates, compared to at least 477 for Sanders. It takes 2,383 delegates to win.

Clinton has won 11 of the 18 states that have voted in primaries and caucuses up to now, compared to seven for Sanders. Maine holds its caucus on Sunday.

7:14 p.m.

Donald Trump is awaiting the results of Kentucky’s GOP caucuses before he speaks at an election night press conference.

The billionaire businessman confused those gathered at his Trump International Golf Club in Florida’s West Palm Beach when he briefly walked in from the back of the room where reporters, club members and friends are gathered.

Flanked by Secret Service officers and in his entourage, Trump casually stopped in front of a bank of cameras and asked a Fox News reporter whether Kentucky had been called.

He tossed out one comment – “We won the big ones, folks” – before saying he’d be back and then left the room.

7:13 p.m.

Bernie Sanders’ big win in Kansas is allowing him to pick up some ground in the delegate race.

With 33 delegates at stake, Sanders received 23, while Hillary Clinton won just 10.

For the night, Clinton has picked up at least 48 delegates to Sanders’ 37. Sanders also won the Nebraska caucus, while Clinton won in Louisiana.

Two dozen delegates remain to be allocated, depending on Clinton’s final margin of victory in Louisiana.

Still, her lead remains substantial when including superdelegates, the party officials who can support any candidate they wish.

She now has at least 1,114 delegates according to AP’s count, compared to 469 for Sanders. It takes 2,383 delegates to win.

7 p.m.

Republican Marco Rubio is telling supporters at a campaign stop in Puerto Rico that he knew this would be the toughest stretch of his campaign for president.

Having lost in several states in Saturday’s nominating contests, Rubio is looking to Puerto Rico for a victory on Sunday. So far, he has only one win out of 18 nominating contests.

Rubio says that the upcoming schedule of primaries is better for his campaign and that the states voting Saturday “have a certain profile” that benefits “other candidates.”

The Florida senator says he still picked up delegates as part of the GOP’s proportional distribution process and now looks forward to the winner-take-all phase of the race that begins March 15.

First up: His home state of Florida, where he again guaranteed victory – despite preference polls showing him trailing GOP front-runner Donald Trump.

6:55 p.m.

Hillary Clinton says she is “thrilled” to add to her pledged delegate count on a night when she and Bernie Sanders both saw wins.

Speaking at a Democratic Party dinner in Detroit Saturday night, Clinton offered congratulations to Sanders, who won caucuses in Kansas and Nebraska, while Clinton won the Louisiana primary. She then quickly turned to the next contest: Michigan.

Clinton says, “And I can tell you this: We’re going to work for every vote.”

Clinton pointed to her plans to help grow jobs and put pressure on companies to keep jobs in the United States. She praised Detroit for making a “comeback” and stressed her commitment to Flint, which is struggling with lead-contaminated water. She says, “There are lots of Flints out there.”

6:46 p.m.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says in an interview with The Associated Press that his campaign is showing that it can win decisively over Hillary Clinton in a number of states, including victories in Kansas and Nebraska.

Sanders notes that the victories follow double-digit wins in New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Colorado and Minnesota. He says the “political revolution” has always been about turning out large numbers of working people, young people and those who have not been involved in the political process. He says that is “bearing out” on Saturday.

The senator says there are “some very big states coming up” like New York, California, Oregon and Washington state. He says, “I think in all of those states, we’ve got a shot to win it.” He says wins in those big states might persuade some superdelegates to switch their support from Clinton to Sanders in hopes of holding onto the White House.

6:41 p.m.

Bernie Sanders may have won Nebraska, but he won’t be gaining ground in The Associated Press delegate count after Hillary Clinton’s victory in Louisiana.

With 51 Louisiana delegates at stake, Clinton will gain more than half – at least 28.

That margin will make up for her loss to Sanders in Nebraska.

In that state, Sanders will pick up at least 14 and Clinton will receive at least 10.

Also voting on Saturday were Kansas Democrats. The party says Sanders won that caucus but hasn’t released vote totals.

Including superdelegates, Clinton now has at least 1,104 delegates by the AP count. Sanders has at least 446. It takes 2,383 delegates to win.

6:22 p.m.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have won their respective presidential primary elections in Louisiana.

The victories in Louisiana were the 11th state wins for both candidates, the front-runners for the Democratic and Republican party nominations.

The come after their rivals, Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz, each notched wins on Saturday.

Cruz won the Republican caucuses in Maine and Kansas, while Sanders picked up a win in Nebraska. The Kansas Democratic Party said the Vermont senator also won its caucuses.

6:20 p.m.

Bernie Sanders’ win in Nebraska means he will pick up more delegates than Hillary Clinton. But it won’t dent the substantial lead Clinton has in the overall AP delegate count.

With 25 Nebraska delegates at stake, Sanders is assured of receiving at least 14. Clinton will pick up at least 10.

Also voting on Saturday were Democrats in Kansas and Louisiana. Up for grabs were a total of 109 delegates.

The Democratic Party in Kansas announced Sanders had won its caucus, but had not yet released vote totals.

Going into the weekend contests, Clinton had held a comfortable 198-delegate lead over Sanders, based on results from primaries and caucuses.

Clinton’s lead is even greater when including superdelegates, the party officials who can support any candidate they wish.

Including results from Nebraska, she now has at least 1,076 delegates according to The Associated Press count, compared to 446 for Sanders. It takes 2,383 delegates to win.

6:15 p.m.

Ted Cruz is nibbling away at Donald Trump’s lead in the race for delegates to the Republican National Convention this summer.

Cruz picked up 36 delegates by winning Republican caucuses in Kansas and Maine on Saturday. Donald Trump won 18 delegates, Marco Rubio won six and John Kasich added three.

There are a total of 155 Republican delegates at stake Saturday in Kansas, Maine, Kentucky and Louisiana. No GOP delegates have yet been allocated in Kentucky or Louisiana.

In the overall race for delegates, Trump has 347 and Cruz has 267. Rubio has 116 delegates and Kasich has 28.

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

6:04 p.m.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has won Nebraska’s Democratic presidential caucus, defeating former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The victory for Sanders on Saturday marks the second time Clinton has lost the Nebraska Democratic caucuses. In 2008, then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama defeated Clinton by a 2-to-1 ratio in the state.

Both Sanders and Clinton sent organizers to Nebraska and campaigned in the state, where Democrats often get little attention given the Republican Party’s dominance.

Nebraska’s Democratic caucuses were among contests held by one or both parties Saturday in five states.

Nebraska Republicans will vote for the GOP nominee in the state’s May 10 primary.

5:48 p.m.

The Maine Republican Party says Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has beaten New York businessman Donald Trump in the state’s Republican presidential caucuses.

The party made the announcement Saturday night. The Associated Press has not called the race in Maine as it waits for formal results from the state party.

The victory by Cruz comes as opponents of GOP front-runner Donald Trump try to stop his momentum after the billionaire businessman’s strong showing on Super Tuesday.

Cruz came to the state on Friday to campaign at the University of Maine a day after Trump rallied supporters in Portland.

5:28 p.m.

The Kansas Democratic Party says Bernie Sanders has won its presidential caucuses.

The party made the announcement Saturday night, but did not release any vote count or results. The Associated Press has not called the race in Kansas as it waits for those results.

A pre-caucus rally Thursday for the Vermont senator in the liberal bastion of Lawrence drew several thousand people.

His backers overcame support for rival Hillary Clinton from former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and other Democratic establishment figures in the state.

5:20 p.m.

Turnout in Republican presidential caucuses in Kansas has exceeded the party’s most optimistic predictions.

State GOP Executive Director Clay Barker says at least 73,000 people cast ballots in Saturday’s caucuses. He says there are another 6,000 provisional ballots and 1,000 absentee ballots sent to voters but not yet collected.

That compares to about 30,000 people voting in the state’s GOP caucuses in 2012 and about 20,000 voting in 2008.

The party had 60,000 ballots printed this year and then warned caucus sites to be prepared to print more.

5 p.m.

Ted Cruz won most of the delegates in the Kansas Republican caucuses, collecting at least 23. Donald Trump won at least nine delegates and Marco Rubio got at least five.

There are still three delegates to be allocated in Kansas.

There are a total of 155 delegates at stake in four states Saturday: Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and Maine. No GOP delegates have yet been allocated in any of the other states.

In the overall race for delegates, Trump has 338 and Cruz has 254. Marco Rubio has 115 delegates and John Kasich has 25.

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

4:50 p.m.

By the time Ted Cruz took the stage for a campaign rally in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, he was already the winner of the Kansas caucuses. And he was in the mood to celebrate.

“And the scream you hear, the howl that comes from Washington, D.C., is the utter terror at what we the people are doing together,” Cruz told a crowd of about 1,600 people who packed into a county fairgrounds building.

Idaho votes on Tuesday, but Cruz was hoping to collect more victories on Saturday. He even got ahead of himself, telling the crowd “God bless Kansas and God bless Maine” – even though there is no winner yet in Maine.

Cruz told reporters after his speech that a win in the GOP nominating race by Donald Trump “in all likelihood” would lead to a Hillary Clinton presidency.

He says “65 to 70 percent of Republicans believe Donald Trump is not the best candidate to go head to head with Hillary Clinton.”

4:12 p.m.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says he wants to loosen the laws that limit the use of torture if he’s elected to the White House.

Speaking at a rally Saturday in Orlando, Florida, Trump says “we’re going to have those laws broadened, because we are playing with two sets of rules — their rules and our rules.”

Trump adds, “We’re going to stay within the law, but we’re going to increase it.”

Trump this week appeared to reverse his stance on the use of torture after he was criticized by top Republican national security experts. He had previously advocated killing the wives and children of violent Islamic extremists, as well as bringing back waterboarding, a practice discontinued by the Obama administration.

Trump said this week in a statement that he would “use every legal power … to stop these terrorist enemies,” but he vowed not to order military or other officials to violate international law.

3:03 p.m.

Ted Cruz will collect at least 17 delegates for winning the Republican caucuses in Kansas, and Donald Trump will win at least six.

There are a total of 155 delegates at stake in four states Saturday: Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and Maine. No GOP delegates have yet been allocated in any of the other states.

In the overall race for delegates, Trump has 335 and Cruz has 248. Marco Rubio has 110 delegates and John Kasich has 25.

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

2:58 p.m.

Two former Walt Disney World employees who say they lost their jobs and were forced to train foreign workers with H1-B visas are endorsing Donald Trump and slamming rival Marco Rubio.

The two spoke Saturday before a cheering crowd at Trump’s rally in Orlando, Florida, home to Walt Disney World. Dena Moore and Leo Perrero say they feel “betrayed” by the Florida senator.

The two former technology employees at Walt Disney World are suing Disney and the outsourcing companies they say colluded to break the law and replace workers with cheaper immigrant labor. Disney has rejected their claims.

Perrero and Moore say their pleas for help to their home-state senator went unanswered.

Perrero says Rubio has betrayed American workers because he wants to expand the H1-B visa program. Rubio supports raising the number of highly skilled immigrants through the H1-B visa program from 65,000 to 110,000 annually.

In Thursday night’s Republican debate, Trump retreated from a position paper on his website, saying he had swung in favor of more temporary H1-B visas. His stance against that had been one of the few specific policies he had laid out.

2:35 p.m.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has won the Republican presidential caucuses in Kansas, adding to his wins in Iowa, Alaska, Oklahoma and his home state of Texas.

Cruz’s victory in Kansas is the first result on a day in which Republicans are voting or holding caucuses in four states.

Among his supporters in Kansas was a 52-year-old engineer at an aviation company, David Cox. He caucused for Cruz in Wichita and says he picked Cruz because he believes he “stands for strong morals, conservative values.”

Cox says he initially favored Ben Carson for the GOP nomination, but switched his vote to Cruz after the retired neurosurgeon dropped out of the race this week.

2:30 p.m.

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio is playing up his support for military spending and veterans health care.

The approach makes plenty of sense in Jacksonville, Florida, a GOP stronghold with a military presence that rivals any American city. And Florida is Rubio’s home state.

Rubio told more than a 1,000 supporters Saturday that “if there is a city that understands the importance of the military, it’s right here in northeast Florida.”

The senator also introduced his older brother, a Vietnam veteran who lives in the area. Rubio frequently tells of his brother injuring himself jumping from a plane during his military service and repeatedly struggling to navigate the federal bureaucracy for care.

Rubio is under tremendous pressure to defeat Donald Trump in Florida’s March 15 primary and is expected to continue hammering the GOP front-runner as unfit to be commander-in-chief.

2 p.m.

Campaigning in his home state of Florida, Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio is reminding voters in Jacksonville that they’ve helped him as an underdog candidate before.

Behind in the delegate count to GOP front-runner Donald Trump, the Florida senator is under pressure to win the state’s March 15 primary. The victor will claim all of the state’s 99 delegates.

Rubio is a Miami native, and he reminded more than 1,000 supporters in Jacksonville on Saturday that when he ran for the Senate in 2010 “there was one other city that believed in me.”

1:55 p.m.

Republican front-runner Donald Trump says he will clinch the GOP nomination if he wins Florida’s March 15 primary.

He tells thousands of supporters in Orlando on Saturday that “if we win Florida, believe me, it’s over.”

Cheers erupted from the capacity-crowd inside the University of Central Florida campus arena. At one point, Trump got the crowd to raise their right hands and pledge to vote for him.

He delivered his speech the same day early voting began statewide in Florida. GOP voters have already mailed in more than 457,000 absentee ballots.

1:20 p.m.

Donald Trump is battling to pad his lead in the delegate count as four more states deliver verdicts on the fractious Republican race for president. Democrats in three states are choosing between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Saturday’s GOP races in Maine, Kansas, Kentucky and Louisiana, and Democratic contests in Nebraska, Kansas and Louisiana, have been overshadowed by Super Tuesday contests in the rear-view mirror and critical contests to come.

But with front-runner Trump yet to win states by the margins he’ll need in order to secure the nomination before the GOP convention, every one of the 155 GOP delegates at stake on Saturday is worth fighting for.

In very early returns, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz led in Kansas.

1:10 p.m.

Republican presidential hopeful John Kasich has released his partial tax returns for the past several years, joining Sen. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz among the GOP candidates to make public such personal financial records.

The Ohio governor posted tax returns from 2008 to 2014 on his campaign website on Saturday.

The records show that in the past seven years, Kasich has paid roughly 31 percent of his income in federal taxes.

Like Rubio and Cruz, Kasich only released the first two pages of his federal 1040 form. Not included in the disclosure are other parts of his returns, including the documents that detail his deductions.

Those records would shed additional light on Kasich’s charitable contributions, for example.

GOP front-runner Donald Trump has not release his personal tax records, citing an ongoing IRS audit of his returns dating back a dozen years.

11:40 a.m.

Donald Trump’s rally in Florida has heard from a Texas woman whose 18-year-old son was killed by a classmate who was in the country illegally.

A tearful Laura Wilkerson told her story to a hushed crowd of thousands in Orlando.

Throughout her speech, the crowd chanted “Build That Wall!” and “Trump! Trump! Trump!”

Wilkerson praised the GOP front-runner and denounced Republican rival Marco Rubio, a Florida senator who faces Trump in the state’s big March 15 primary.

She says Rubio “lied to every single Florida voter” when he pushed his comprehensive immigration bill in as part of the “Gang of Eight” in Congress. The bill would have provided a path to citizenship for people living in the country illegally. It passed the Senate and failed in the House.

11:30 a.m.

In Wichita, Kansas, turnout’s been so heavy at the Republican presidential caucuses that some voters waited in lines outside one event center for more than two hours before they got in.

About 100 protesters congregated outside an earlier rally for GOP front-runner Donald Trump before the caucuses opened, but their numbers had thinned out by late morning to about a dozen. They waved signs saying, “Trump Makes America Hate Again” and “A Bridge Not a Wall.”

Voters in Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine and Nebraska are holding presidential nomination contests Saturday.

10:45 a.m.

John Kasich is showing a rare quality in the 2016 presidential campaign: humility.

In a low-key campaign speech in Traverse City, Michigan, he said: “I’m not really worthy, to tell you the truth.”

The contrast with cockier candidates could not have been greater. Supporters praise Kasich’s authenticity and maturity. But some say his refusal to join the Republican melee is keeping him off center stage.

Susan Mendenhall is 62 and describes herself as a “one-woman media campaign” who posts information about the Ohio governor on social media. She says, “He’s got to get his face out there somehow.”

Twenty-six-year-old Kurtis Berry acknowledges Kasich is a longshot in the Republican race. But Berry says Kasich has a chance if, as he puts it, “people wake up and realize we can’t have in essence a little kid being president.” That’s an apparent reference to his view that front-runner Donald Trump is childish.

10:40 p.m.

The review is in from Bernie Sanders. The Democratic presidential contender says the wild Republican debate Thursday night looked like a sixth-grade food fight.

Sanders is in Cleveland for an event at a historic black church. Speaking from his Cleveland campaign office, he said of the GOP debate: “I hope most sixth-graders understand we don’t act like that.”

10:20 a.m.

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio isn’t tipping his hand on the prospect he’ll get the endorsement of Jeb Bush before the March 15 primary in their home state of Florida.

Winning the state would be crucial for Rubio as he tries to chase down GOP front-runner Donald Trump. Florida will award all of its 99 delegates to the winner of its primary.

A former Florida governor, Bush remains an influential figure in state Republican circles. He’s also a face of the GOP establishment and an unsuccessful candidate for president this year, making his potential support tricky for Rubio given how primary voters have embraced outsiders such as Trump.

Rubio said Saturday at conservative gathering in suburban Washington that he believes Bush was “the greatest governor in Florida history.”

The Florida senator confirmed the two allies-turned-rivals have spoken since Bush ended his White House bid on Feb. 20, but he said he won’t discuss private conversations he has with anyone.

10:15 a.m.

Marco Rubio is promising he would not nominate a Supreme Court justice in the final year of any four-year term he serves in the White House.

The Florida senator made the promise Saturday in response to a question at a gathering of conservative activists in the Washington suburbs.

As have his fellow Republican presidential candidates and many GOP senators, Rubio has argued that President Barack Obama shouldn’t attempt to fill the seat vacated by the Feb. 13 death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Rubio says the Supreme Court can “function with eight justices.” He adds, “There’s no magic No. 9.”

Rubio did not discuss the practical effects of 4-4 rulings from the court, which result in leaving the decisions of lower courts in place.

10:05 a.m.

It can be a dilemma for Donald Trump’s rivals: Hit back or walk away.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (KAY’-sihk) says a sure way to grab the spotlight for his campaign would be to hurl insults at the Republican presidential front-runner.

But Kasich won’t take the bait.

“I’m with Harry Potter – I’m not going to the dark side.” That’s what Kasich tells reporters after a rally in Traverse City, Michigan.

But Marco Rubio – who’s called Trump a “con artist” – takes a different approach:

“Where I grew up, if someone keeps punching people in the face, eventually someone’s going to have to stand up and punch them back.”

The Florida senator got loud cheers from an audience at a conference of conservatives outside Washington.