The latest: GOP candidates offer closing arguments to NH

MANCHESTER, N.H. — The latest on the race for president, with candidates focusing on New Hampshire, which holds the first primary in the 2016 race on Tuesday (all times local):

10:40 p.m.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is reminding New Hampshire voters that they’ve “gotten to know my heart” after the New Jersey governor has campaigned in the state for combined 70 days.

Ted Cruz is trumpeting his Iowa caucus victory in his closing statement in the New Hampshire presidential debate.

Candidates gave their closing arguments at the eighth Republican debate to New Hampshire voters ahead of the state’s Feb. 9 primary.

Marco Rubio says he can unite the Republican Party, “grow the conservative movement” and defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Donald Trump’s closing pitch to New Hampshire voters is familiar: Elect me, and we’ll win.

Jeb Bush conjured the Republican Party’s heralded late President Ronald Reagan, identifying with the “Gipper” in his closing statement of the debate.

10:38 p.m.

The picks are in: most Republicans running for president think the Carolina Panthers are going to win the Super Bowl.

Four of the seven candidates in Saturday’s debate predicted a Carolina victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday. Ben Carson didn’t make a prediction, instead joking that “it will be either Denver or Carolina.”

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was the most honest in his pandering, saying “With an eye to Feb. 20, Carolina.” That is the day of the South Carolina primary.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are picking Denver. Bush says he is taking Denver because the team’s quarterback, Peyton Manning, is supporting his candidacy.

10:35 p.m.

Jeb Bush wants Republican presidential primary voters to think of him as “the most pro-life person” on the GOP debate stage.

Marco Rubio and Chris Christie want to turn the issue against the Democratic Party during the Republican presidential primary debate in New Hampshire.

Rubio and Christie both say Democrats are “extremists” on the issue, not Republicans.

There are some slight distinctions among Republicans on what exceptions candidates would prefer in any abortion ban.

All three candidates who spoke on the matter said they would allow an abortion needed to save the life of a pregnant woman. Bush and Christie said they’d both allow women to terminate pregnancies that result from rape or incest.

10:20 p.m.

Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Marco Rubio rally around veterans, agreeing that returning soldiers should be able to go to any hospital or doctor to get medical treatment.

The three candidates believe that vets should have a range of healthcare choices.

Kasich says he would work with the Pentagon to get veterans jobs upon leaving the military.

He says “there should be no unemployment among veterans.”

10:15 p.m.

Chris Christie says he’d quarantine Americans returning from Brazil after the summer Olympics and otherwise to keep the country safe from the spread of the Zika virus.

His rival Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, says quarantining people “willy nilly” is not an effective means of stopping the spread of the virus. He says organizations like the Center for Disease Control and National Institutes of Health can play a role in drafting a “rapid response” to the spread of Zika.

Christie took heat during the Ebola crisis for quarantining a nurse who returned from West Africa in New Jersey.

10:10 p.m.

Marco Rubio says he would visit an Islamic mosque if he were president, but says President Barack Obama has wrongly suggested that Muslims in the U.S. have been the targets of excessive discrimination.

He says Obama is spreading a “fiction that there’s widespread, systematic discrimination against Muslim-Americans.”

But he also says mosques ought to be watched not just for hate speech, but for any evidence they are helping violent Islamic extremists plot violence in the U.S.

10:00 p.m.

Donald Trump says police in America are “absolutely mistreated and misunderstood,” and need to be treated with more respect.

But Ohio Gov. John Kasich said in Saturday’s Republican presidential debate that community leaders with concerns over police conduct need to be involved to ensure “more win-wins in America.”

Trump says there will be abuses of police power and other problems, and when that happens, people sue.

Trump says police are “really fantastic,” ”absolutely amazing people” and have done “an unbelievable job of keeping law and order.”

Kasich says he also loves the police, but the president also has to be responsive to the concerns of people in communities concerned about abuses of power.

9:55 p.m.

Republican presidential candidates are saying they aren’t afraid to take on Hillary Clinton if she’s the Democratic nominee in the general election.

Donald Trump says he would “galvanize” the electorate against Clinton. He promises he would “win by a lot,” though he offers few details about just what his argument against her would be.

Marco Rubio says he believes the political dynamics nationally already favor the eventual GOP nominee. He says Republicans will be unified after the primary. The November election, he says, will be “a referendum on our identity as a nation and as a people.”

9:50 p.m.

Republican Ted Cruz has shared the personal story of his sister who died of an overdose of drugs to show his understanding of New Hampshire’s heroin problem, the state’s second leading cause of death.

Speaking at the GOP debate, Cruz says solving the epidemic is best done at a state level and in coordination with local organizations. He says the federal government’s role is to secure the border to stop the “Mexican cartels” from flooding the country with drugs.

Chris Christie says heroin addiction “is a disease, not a moral failing.” He says New Jersey focused on treatment and saw its prison population decrease as a result.

9:45 p.m.

Donald Trump says he’d bring back waterboarding and “a hell of a lot worse” methods of interrogation for terrorists.

Trump says waterboarding, which simulates drowning, isn’t nearly as extreme as tactics used by terrorists in the Middle East, which are in line with “medieval times.”

Trump is the most direct in promising to use waterboarding if elected president, but Texas Sen. Ted Cruz says he wouldn’t rule out using the tactic that simulates drowning. Cruz says he would use “whatever” tactics possible to prevent imminent terrorist attacks.

Jeb Bush, meanwhile, says he agrees with the existing ban on waterboarding. Marco Rubio says its inappropriate to discuss interrogation tactics.

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