FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Latest on the presidential race ahead of Thursday's GOP debate and the March 15 primaries (all times local):
A leading Muslim civil rights group is calling on GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump to apologize for his claim that Islam hates the west.
In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper that aired late Wednesday, Trump said: "I think Islam hates us."
"There's a tremendous hatred," he added. "We have to get to the bottom of it. There is unbelievable hatred of us."
The Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling on Trump to apologize for the comment and other recent remarks it deems Islamophobic.
CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad suggests Trump could do so at Thursday evening's GOP debate.
A man has been charged with punching a protester at a Donald Trump rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, after video of the altercation surfaced.
Cumberland County Sheriff's office spokesman Sgt. Sean Swain told The Fayetteville Observer that John Franklin McGraw, 78, of Linden was charged with assault and disorderly conduct at Wednesday night's rally.
North Carolina phone listings for McGraw rang disconnected Thursday.
Rakeem Jones tells The Associated Press that he was being escorted out of Crown Coliseum by several deputies when he got hit.
Jones said he recalled thinking: "Wow. The police watched me get hit."
Witness Ronnie Rouse took video and told the AP he couldn't believe that Jones got punched in front of law enforcement officers.
Utah Sen. Mike Lee is planning to endorse Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, making him the first in the U.S. senate to publicly endorse the Republican presidential hopeful.
A person with knowledge of the endorsement tells The Associated Press that the Utah senator will make his endorsement formal in an announcement later Thursday.
The person spoke anonymously because the news is not public.
While Cruz has maintained a steady lead over rivals Marco Rubio and John Kasich, he has not received the same level of backing from party elites who have thrown their support by the dozens behind Rubio's campaign in particular.
Lee was one of five senators to miss a vote in the Senate Thursday on the abuse of opioids.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich's presidential super PAC is pushing back against ads airing in his must-win home state by backers of rival Marco Rubio.
New Day for America has filed complaints against Conservative Solutions PAC, allied with the Florida senator, that say Kasich has raised taxes. New Day fought the same tactic when a super PAC tied to then-candidate Jeb Bush tried it in New Hampshire.
Kasich's defenders say he has not raised taxes. They say he cut the state's overall tax burden by about $5 billion since becoming governor in 2011.
In fact, both are true. Kasich paid for across-the-board income-tax reductions by raising cigarette taxes and other sales taxes. The state's sales-tax rate rose to 5.75 percent from 5.5 percent in 2013.
Hillary Clinton says in Tampa, Florida, that she wants to take her "vision and views" to the general election — and it doesn't matter which Republican candidate she faces.
Clinton says she's often asked which of the leading Republican candidates she would like to take on next November. The former secretary of state says that's "not for me to decide, but given what they've all said? I will take any one of them."
Clinton was campaigning in Florida ahead of next week's Democratic primary against rival Bernie Sanders. She used the event to talk about her plans to rebuild the nation's roads and bridges and took some swipes at Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who is seeking the GOP presidential nomination.
She says the governor told people working for the state not to use the words climate change. And she says both Scott and Rubio don't understand the threat posed by climate change.
Former Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham is finding the humor in Hillary Clinton's Tuesday loss to Bernie Sanders in Michigan's Democratic presidential primary.
At a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting Thursday, Graham chuckled about polls that had showed Clinton as the front-runner.
"I can tell you one person who doesn't believe in polls, and that's Hillary Clinton," Graham said. "She was 21 points ahead of Bernie in Michigan and lost."
The joke, which came in the middle of a debate over Republicans' decision to block President Obama's eventual Supreme Court nominee, was met with only tepid laughs. The panel had been discussing polling on the Supreme Court issue.
Graham pulled out of the GOP presidential race last year before any primary votes were cast.
President Barack Obama says Donald Trump's positions aren't different from those of the other Republican presidential candidates — he's just more provocative in talking about them.
Obama weighed in on the 2016 presidential campaign during a news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (troo-DOH'). Obama says Trump's positions on immigration and other issues aren't that different from those of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz or Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
Obama calls the GOP primary a "circus" and a "Republican crackup" resulting from GOP actions. Obama says he takes responsibility for failing to bridge political divides, but says he has not contributed to the worsening tone of political rhetoric.
Obama says he believes the Democrats are doing a fine job of working out issues in their primary.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich has landed the high-profile endorsement of Ohio State's head football coach ahead of the state's critical presidential primary.
In a video released Thursday, Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer calls Kasich a friend and says he's "a true supporter" of what Kasich stands for. Meyer urges the governor to "go win this darn thing."
The remarks come days after Republican front runner Donald Trump praised Meyer at a political rally in Columbus. The billionaire businessman said he wasn't sure if Meyer endorsed him but he had said "such nice things."
Kasich has been lining up high-profile endorsements, including movie star and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, headed into his home state primary.
The winner-take-all contest, worth 66 delegates, is a must-win for the governor and former congressman.
Anxious Republican officials are coming to terms with the idea that their second least favorite presidential candidate — polarizing Texas conservative Ted Cruz — may be the party's best last chance to stop Donald Trump.
Reluctant Senate colleagues and former presidential rivals have long feared Cruz's purist ideology but fear the prospect of a Trump nomination more. The first-term Texas senator has gained the support of one former primary opponent, Carly Fiorina, and is seeking the backing of another, Jeb Bush, on Thursday.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham says Cruz is "the most logical person to take on Trump." Earlier in the year Graham likened the choice between Cruz and Trump to "being shot or poisoned."
Trump, meanwhile, is calling on mainstream Republicans to unify behind his candidacy.