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Election 2016: Democrats describe their relationships with God in Sunday’s debate

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WASHINGTON (AP): The Latest on the 2016 presidential campaign, with contests in Maine and Puerto Rico on Sunday and a Democratic debate in Flint, Michigan (all times Eastern Standard Time)

9:59 p.m.

Bernie Sanders says he is “very proud” to be Jewish, and Hillary Clinton says she prays on a pretty regular basis throughout the day because she needs God’s strength and support.

An undecided voter asked the candidates about their faith in Sunday night’s Democratic presidential debate in Flint, Michigan.

Sanders, asked if God is relevant, says all religions hold dear the premise that people should treat others like they want to be treated. He says “we are in this together.”

Clinton, asked whom she prays for, says she is a “praying person” and prays for people she knows and those going through tough times. She says “I need that strength and I need that support,” especially when her husband was president.

9:58 p.m.

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio says his landslide win in Puerto Rico’s primary is proof that he can expand his party in a general election.

The Florida senator is playing up his “electability” as he tries to catch GOP delegate leader Donald Trump and second-place Ted Cruz.

Rubio said in an interview Sunday that he “campaigned in Puerto Rico as a conservative” and still garnered more than 70 percent of the vote in an “open primary.”

The senator says that “is evidence I can take conservatism to people who don’t normally vote Republican” and win their support.

Because he claimed a majority in Puerto Rico, Rubio earns all 23 delegates from the island territory. That’s an important boost for him after a disappointing slate of primaries on Super Tuesday and on Saturday.

9:56 p.m.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are both making the case for why they would be the best Democrat to defeat business mogul Donald Trump in a general election.

Clinton notes that she has received more votes than any candidate in either party. She says she’s building a broad coalition across the nation and says Trump’s “bigotry, his bullying, his bluster are not going to wear well on the American people.”

Sanders says polls show that he would be a tougher opponent against Trump than Clinton would be. He says his campaign is exciting working-class people, young people and others critical in a general election.

9:55 p.m.

Bernie Sanders won three out of the four states over the weekend, but he barely made a dent in Hillary Clinton’s big delegate lead.

Out of 134 delegates at stake, Sanders gained 67 to Clinton’s 64.

He won caucuses in Maine, Kansas and Nebraska, but Clinton’s victory in the Louisiana primary canceled out his gains. Three delegates remain to be allocated in Maine.

Including superdelegates, she now has 1,130 and Sanders has 499. It takes 2,383 delegates to win.

9:52 p.m.

Bernie Sanders has gotten laughs and cheers for addressing the recent Republican debates.

Speaking at the Democratic presidential debates Sunday, he said that both he and Hillary Clinton will “invest a lot in mental health” if either wins the White House.

Sanders adds emphatically, “and when you watch the Republican debates, you know why” the nation needs to invest in mental health.

9:50 p.m.

Hillary Clinton says she has a lot of conditions that must be met when it comes to fracking. Bernie Sanders says he outright opposes it.

During a Democratic debate in Flint, Michigan Sunday, both Democrats were asked if they supported fracking, a method of oil and gas drilling that environmentalists have opposed.

Clinton said she would not support fracking if there was local opposition, if methane was released or water contaminated or unless those fracking explain what chemicals they are using.

“So by the time we get through all of my conditions, I do not think there will be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place,” said Clinton.

Sanders was brief: “My answer is a lot shorter. No, I do not support fracking.”

9:44 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is defending against a suggestion that her plan to fix infrastructure is not big enough.

She said in Sunday night’s Democratic presidential debate that her $250-plus billion proposal is a “very good way to begin” upgrading water systems and pipelines. Her opponent, Bernie Sanders, is calling for $1 trillion in infrastructure spending.

A moderator questioned Sanders about how he could deliver that much since President Barack Obama got a $300 billion highway bill through Congress.

Sanders says he would stop American corporations from avoiding taxes by “stashing profits” in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda. He says spending $1 trillion over 5 years would create 13 million jobs.

9:30 p.m.

Hillary Clinton says people often “blamed and scapegoated teachers” for education shortfalls, but that poor funding is more to blame for under-performing schools than the unions.

Clinton was asked at Sunday’s Democratic presidential debate whether unions protect bad teachers. The former secretary of state has been endorsed by both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.

Clinton says she has told her friends at the top of both unions to “take a look at this” and if there is “anything that could be changed, I want them to look at” potential improvements.”

9:10 p.m.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are criticizing former President Bill Clinton’s 1994 crime bill.

The Democratic presidential candidates were asked about the legislation during a debate in Flint, Michigan Sunday night. Critics argue that the bill has ushered in an era of mass incarceration.

Clinton noted that Sanders had voted for the bill and said she agreed with recent comments from former President Bill Clinton that “it solved some problems but it created other problems.”

Sanders said the bill had both pros and cons, but that his comments raising concerns at the time reflected that he “was a congressman who was torn.”

9:00 p.m.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are tussling over whether gun manufacturers should be legal liable when their weapons are used in crimes.

Clinton said in Sunday’s Democratic presidential debate that giving immunity to gun makers and sellers “was a terrible mistake” and notes that she and Sanders were on opposing sides of the debate.

Sanders has said his support for the 2005 law was in part an effort to protect small gun shops in his home state of Vermont. He says during the debate that Clinton’s approach could amount to “ending gun manufacturing in America.”

Clinton is bringing up the Sandy Hook massacre and tells Sanders, “you talk about corporate greed. The gun manufacturers sell guns to make as much money as they can.”

8:55 p.m.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is responding to calls for his resignation by Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders over the contaminated water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

The Republican governor took to social media Sunday night.

He says “political candidates” will be leaving Flint and Michigan in a few days after the state’s primary, but he is “committed to the people of Flint.” Snyder says “I will fix this crisis and help Michigan forward.”

Clinton called for Snyder’s resignation for the first time during Sunday’s debate, saying he should either resign or be recalled from office. Sanders has previously demanded that Snyder step down.

Snyder has apologized for the disaster but has said there were failures at the state, federal and local levels.

8:40 p.m.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are at odds over his past opposition to the federal Export-Import Bank, which makes and guarantees loans to help foreign customers buy U.S. goods.

In Sunday’s Democratic debate, Clinton criticized Sanders, saying the U.S. is in a “race for exports” and that without the bank, “more jobs would be lost here at home.”

Sanders counters 75 percent of the money goes to profitable corporations such that have outsourced jobs overseas. He was the only Democrat to oppose the bank, but he says “Democrats are not always right” and “have often supported corporate welfare.”

Clinton says Boeing deserves assistance from the government to keep pace with Airbus, because the U.S. is not as “aggressive” as other countries.

Asked if he was agreeing with Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, Sanders says “Democrats are not always right” and Democrats have supported “corporate welfare” in the past. Sanders is the nation’s longest-serving independent member of Congress and has caucused with Democrats in the Senate.

8:30 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is arguing that Bernie Sanders opposed the bailout of the auto industry.

During a Democratic debate in Flint Sunday night, Clinton said she voted to save the auto industry, while Sanders, she said, “voted against the money” that saved the auto industry.

Sanders said that Clinton was talking about the Wall Street bailout package, through which “some of your friends destroyed this economy.” Clinton tried to rebuttal but Sanders uncharacteristically snapped back: “Excuse me, I’m talking.”

Clinton replied: “If you’re going to talk, tell the whole story.”

Clinton later called the vote a hard but necessary choice, saying that “If everybody had voted the way he did, I believe the auto industry would have collapsed taking 4 million jobs with it.”

8:25 p.m.

Bernie Sanders says he’s glad that Hillary Clinton has “discovered religion” on trade but he says it’s too late.

At the CNN Democratic debate in Flint, Michigan Sunday, Sanders accused Clinton of supporting “disastrous trade agreements” such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and normalizing trade relations with China that he says have led to job losses.

Sanders spoke after Clinton discussed a number of ways to help manufacturing jobs.

Clinton says there needs to be both “carrots and sticks” so that manufacturers make investments in the U.S.

She says the country needs a comprehensive plan for manufacturing and improve roads and bridges.

8:15 p.m.

Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders say people at the Environmental Protection Agency should their lose jobs over the Flint water crisis.

Asked whether she would fire the head of the EPA over the lead-tainted water, Clinton said Sunday night during a Democratic debate in Flint that she would launch an investigation “and determine who knew what, when, and yes people should be fired.”

To the same question, Sanders said a “President Sanders would fire anybody who knew what was happening and did not act appropriately.”

8:10 p.m.

Hillary Clinton says as president, she would assure Flint residents that their water has been double- and triple-checked before telling them it is OK to use it again.

In the Democratic debate in the Michigan city, she is applauding President Barack Obama’s for pushing for the resignation of a regional administrator because of Flint’s water crisis and says he was right to expand Medicaid to help people there. She also says health and education interventions must be done to help Flint children with elevated lead levels.

Bernie Sanders says if the state government refuses to act, he as president would ensure that federal government acts immediately. He says something also must be done about Flint’s high water rates.

8:07 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is echoing calls by her rival Bernie Sanders for the resignation of Republican Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan, saying he should either resign or be recalled from office in the aftermath of Flint’s water crisis.

Clinton says in her opening statement in the Democratic debate that “it is raining lead in Flint” and more needs to be done to help the residents of Flint deal with the aftermaths of contaminated drinking water.

Sanders notes in his opening statement that he had called on Snyder to resign for his “dereliction” of duty. He says what is happening in Flint is happening throughout the country to a lesser degree.

Clinton says: “Amen to that.”

8:05 p.m.

Bernie Sanders’ win in Maine will give him more delegates than Hillary Clinton for the night. But it won’t have much impact on Clinton’s substantial lead overall.

With 25 Maine delegates at stake, Sanders is assured of winning at least 14 while Clinton stands to gain at least six.

He can now lay claim to winning eight of the 19 states that voted in primaries or caucuses to date, having prevailed in Maine, Kansas and Nebraska over the weekend.

But Sanders is making little headway in delegates after Clinton’s large margin of victory in Louisiana on Saturday.

For the weekend, out of 134 delegates at stake, Sanders will win at least 66 and Clinton at least 63. Five delegates remain to be allocated in Maine.

8:05 p.m.

Bernie Sanders has won the Democratic presidential caucuses in Maine, beating rival Hillary Clinton for his eighth win in the nomination process.

Prior to the contest in Maine, Clinton had at least 1,123 delegates to Sanders’ 484, including superdelegates _ members of Congress, governors and party officials who can support the candidate of their choice.

It takes 2,383 delegates to win the Democratic nomination.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won in Maine’s Republican caucuses on Saturday.

8:00 p.m.

At the start of the Democratic debate in Flint, Michigan, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are bowing their heads with the audience in a moment of silence to honor former first lady Nancy Reagan, who died Sunday.

The wife of former President Ronald Reagan was 94.

7:55 p.m.

The latest Democratic presidential debate is about to begin in Flint, Michigan, where a contaminated water crisis has become a major focal point of the campaign.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will face off in the CNN debate Sunday as Democratic caucusing is wrapping up in Maine, where 25 delegates are up for grabs.

Clinton has added to her overall delegate lead after winning most of the delegates at stake in Saturday’s contests.

Out of 109 delegates, she won 57 while Bernie Sanders picked up 52.

Sanders won the Kansas and Nebraska caucuses, but his gains were overcome by Clinton’s large margin of victory in Louisiana.

6:55 p.m.

John Kasich believes he can convince some of Donald Trump’s supporters to back him instead of the billionaire because he has better answers on how to fix the nation’s problems.

Kasich tells The Associated Press that he doesn’t think it will be very hard to bring Trump voters his way as his message becomes more familiar. On the trail, Kasich often says he understands peoples’ economic anxieties because he grew up in a scrappy blue collar town in Pennsylvania.

He says, “If they can hear me, and what I’ve done, that’s the ticket. I believe that if I can sit with some Trump people – I won’t get them all – if I can sit with them they’re gonna understand that I’m one of them.”

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