The Latest: Cruz raises $12.5 million in March on wins


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the 2016 presidential campaign (all times local):

10:00 a.m.

Ted Cruz raised about $12.5 million last month as he worked to gain momentum in the Republican presidential race.

His campaign manager Jeff Roe tweeted Friday that over the first three months of this year, Cruz had collected $32 million. He’s been raising more money each month.

Roe did not say how much cash Cruz had left as of the end of the month.

Other GOP campaigns had not yet shared their totals. All candidates must file their March fundraising reports to the Federal Election Commission by April 20.

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9:05 a.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says he’s been invited to the Vatican for a meeting on social, environmental and economic issues.

Sanders, who is Jewish, says he was “very moved by the invitation” and that he’s a “very, very big fan of the pope,” despite differences on some issues.

The Vermont senator told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Friday that he particularly respects the pope’s statements bemoaning “the idolatry of money” in society.

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8:40 a.m.

Sen. Bernie Sanders is backing away from an earlier suggestion that Hillary Clinton isn’t qualified to be president.

Appearing in nationally broadcast interviews on Friday, Sanders defended speaking out harshly against Clinton, saying “we’ve got to fight back” against statements that she’s made. But when asked whether she was qualified for the White House, Sanders said “of course” and that Clinton “on her worst day” would still be “an infinitely better candidate” than anyone on the Republican side.

Clinton made similar remarks Friday, saying Sanders would be a better president than anyone in the GOP. She shrugged off his recent criticisms, noting “people say lots of things” on the campaign.

Sanders appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and NBC’s “Today.” Clinton appeared on “Today.”

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7:50 a.m.

Hillary Clinton says Republicans are living in a world of “fantasy and hope” if they think she’ll be indicted over her use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state.

Legal experts agree that charges are unlikely. But Matt Lauer of NBC’s “Today” says Republicans tell him privately they hope Clinton will be taken out of the election equation in coming months because of criminal charges.

Clinton laughed at the suggestion, saying the suggestion shows how desperate the GOP has become and that their “fondest wishes” won’t come true.

Of the ongoing investigation, Clinton calls it a “security review” that is “conducted in our government all the time.”

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