The Latest: O'Rourke gives a nod to Sanders

The Associated Press
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2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker speaks during a town hall meeting in Rock Hill, S.C., on Saturday, March 23, 2019. Booker is making his third trip to the state, home of the first primary in the South. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

The Latest on the 2020 campaign season (all times Eastern):

11:50 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke says he's glad Bernie Sanders is also running and that the country "owes so much" to the Vermont senator for his persistence and leadership to move the country closer to embracing universal health care.

O'Rourke said while making his first campaign stop in Las Vegas Saturday night that he won't speak ill of any other Democrat seeking the nomination and instead wants to bring the country together.

The former Texas congressman told Democrats in a packed living room that the deserts and mountains of Las Vegas remind him of his home in El Paso and declared "Me encanta."

Shortly after O'Rourke landed in Las Vegas Saturday afternoon, he met privately with D. Taylor, president of the national labor group Unite Here and former leader of the powerful Culinary Union of casino workers.


8:50 p.m.

Bernie Sanders has a message for Kamala Harris. He's going to win her home state of California.

The Vermont senator made the boast Saturday during an outdoor rally in downtown Los Angeles that attracted thousands of cheering supporters, who packed into a city park and lined the steps of City Hall.

The Vermont senator who finished in second place behind Hillary Clinton in California's 2016 presidential primary is on a swing through San Diego, L.A. and San Francisco.

Sanders told the crowd "our job is to complete the revolution we began" in his first campaign. He said while President Donald Trump is dividing the nation "we are going to bring our people together."

Sanders early, three-city swing is a sign that he plans an aggressive campaign in heavily Democratic California, the biggest prize in the 2020 primary.


7:50 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren confronted the topic of climate change during a campaign stop Saturday in Berlin, New Hampshire, saying the government is badly out of sync is with the future of the country.

The U.S. senator from Massachusetts says the government isn't spending money on infrastructure — not repairing what's falling apart and not hardening the existing infrastructure against what she calls "the kind of change that is coming in our direction."

Warren also railed against "giant drug companies" and emphasized a message of economic equality. She praised the idea of the Green New Deal, saying she wanted to make a strong pitch in favor of it to voters.


12:40 p.m.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar defended John McCain during a town hall in Rye, New Hampshire as the deceased military veteran and senator continues to be the subject of scorn from President Donald Trump.

The presidential candidate called McCain her friend. She said Trump's "ranting and raving" about McCain led her to remember the last time she had seen the Arizona Republican who lost his races president in 2000 and 2008.

Klobuchar and her husband had visited McCain and his wife at their ranch. McCain was having trouble speaking, she remembered. He found one of his books and pointed out a quote to Klobuchar.

The quote read: "There is nothing more liberating than fighting for a cause larger than yourself."

She says Trump doesn't understand that sentiment.


12:00 p.m.

New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker says he's "a little bit worried" about how the issue of reparations is being discussed during the presidential campaign.

Booker told people crowded into a barbershop in Rock Hill, South Carolina, that it's time to discuss the "persistent reality" of racism in this country, rather than worrying about how to handle a specific plan on reparations.

South Carolina holds the first southern primary and is the first place where candidates are tested by a primarily black democratic electorate.

Several candidates in the sprawling Democratic field have called out President Donald Trump as a racist, while others have voiced support for the idea of reparations for the descendants of enslaved black Americans.

Booker, who announced his candidacy at the start of Black History Month, has said its time to recommit to the fight for justice in America.

Booker is making his third trip to this early-voting state since announcing his presidential candidacy.


11:50 a.m.

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg (BOO'-tuh-juhj) is telling voters in South Carolina his candidacy might seem unlikely, but it may be time for the party's nominee to be a millennial from a red state.

The 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, spoke to several hundred voters in Greenville. Buttigieg also will make stops Saturday in Columbia and Rock Hill. It's his first trip to South Carolina since he launched a presidential exploratory committee in January.

Buttigieg says as a millennial he has a greater stake in the future of the country and more urgency to tackle issues like climate change.

He acknowledged the more "traditional" route to the White House is to spend years in Washington before running. But he says the country "would be better served if Washington started looking more like our best-run cities."

He also says it "might not be such a bad thing if people from redder states" like South Carolina and Indiana were "some of the faces of Democratic values."


12:40 a.m.

Presidential contenders are spreading out across the country on Saturday as they try to find space in the crowded 2020 Democratic field.

Much of the candidate activity is focused on the early contest states of New Hampshire and South Carolina.

California Sen. Kamala Harris will host a rally at Texas Southern University, while former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke will campaign in South Carolina.

Later Saturday, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will hold a campaign rally in Los Angeles.

Back east, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has a pair of events in New Hampshire. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper will also appear in the state Saturday.

Down south, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker will make campaign stops in South Carolina.