The Latest: Trump says he’d negotiate Medicare drug prices

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Here are the latest developments from the 2016 race for president, one week out from the Iowa caucuses. All times local.

8:10 p.m.

Republican front-runner Donald Trump says he could save Medicare billions of dollars by getting the massive federal agency to negotiate prices with the major pharmaceutical companies.

Trump told an enthusiastic crowd of about 1,000 people packed into a high school gymnasium Monday night in Farmington, N.H., that Medicare could “save $300 billion” a year by getting discounts as the biggest buyer of prescription drugs.

Said Trump: “We don’t do it. Why? Because of the drug companies.”

Companies generally can set the prices for approved drugs because the U.S. government doesn’t regulate medicine prices, as other countries do. The powerful pharmaceutical lobby has repeatedly fended off such proposals that would cut into profits.

Trump also boasted about his high poll numbers nationwide and in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire. He slammed President Barack Obama and bashed Republican rivals, specifically Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz.


7:20 p.m.

Former “Saturday Night Live” actor Tim Meadows made a surprise appearance before Iowa State’s basketball game against Kansas — playing Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson.

Meadows showed up at half court roughly 90 minutes before tip-off in Ames, Iowa. The public address announcer introduced him as Carson, and Meadows proceeded to sing the national anthem in the neurosurgeon’s voice.

The only fans in the building were in the student section — and they had no idea Meadows would be making an appearance. But by the end of “The Star Spangled Banner” many of them were singing along.

Meadows told The Associated Press that he was shooting a comedy sketch for the Funny Or Die website, adding that he planned to film additional segments Tuesday.

The real Ben Carson also was in Iowa on Monday holding events a week ahead of the Feb. 1 caucuses.


5:35 p.m.

Hillary Clinton says Democratic voters deciding between supporting her or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders don’t have to choose between their head and their heart.

During a Monday appearance in Oskaloosa, Iowa, Clinton told voters, “You can have it both” and it doesn’t have to be an “either or” choice.

Clinton and Sanders are locked in a tight race with a week to go until the Iowa caucuses.

While Sanders is calling for sweeping government action to address health care, education and Wall Street reform, the former secretary of state is pitching a more incremental approach that seeks to build off President Barack Obama’s administration.


5:20 p.m.

Donald Trump is doing what he does best in fighting back against rival Ted Cruz: Taking to Twitter.

The Republican presidential candidate delivered a series of angry Tweets on Monday accusing the Texas senator of lying about Trump’s record.

The tweets label Cruz “a nervous wreck” who is “making reckless charges not caring for the truth!”

He writes, “Cruz going down fast in recent polls – dropping like a rock. Lies never work!”

Cruz told reporters Monday that Trump supports taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood and “Bernie Sanders-style socialized medicine.”

Trump has said he would “look at the good aspects” of Planned Parenthood before making a final decision about stripping its funding, but has said no government money should go toward abortions.

He also has been a vocal critic of President Barack Obama’s health care law and distanced himself from support he voiced for a single-payer system years ago.

Trump and Cruz are duking it out for a first-place finish in next Monday’s Iowa caucuses.


5:10 p.m.

Sen. Bernie Sanders has picked up support from a South Carolina state lawmaker who previously endorsed Hillary Clinton.

State Rep. Justin Bamberg is a Columbia Democrat who also is an attorney for the family of Walter Scott, a black man shot repeatedly in the back last year as he ran from a police officer now charged with his murder.

Bamberg’s endorsement gives Sanders another African-American elected official to support his claims of momentum ahead of South Carolina’s first-in-the-South primary Feb. 27.

Bamberg says Clinton did nothing to lose his support, explaining he “did not give Sen. Sanders a fair shake” before signing up with the former secretary of state. After “paying closer attention,” Bamberg says he embraces Sanders’ proposals for universal access to health care and higher education.

South Carolina is the first of the four early voting states where black voters will form a significant part of the Democratic electorate. Clinton still maintains a wide lead there, but recent polls suggest Sanders has narrowed the gap.


4:30 p.m.

A new television ad from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign urges voters to “look to the American horizon.”

The spot released Monday continues an uplifting, optimistic message that Sanders has been making his central argument in the final week before the Iowa caucuses.

The self-described democratic socialist narrates the ad and discusses his liberal vision for the country: equal pay, higher wages, less military involvement overseas, expanded retirement benefits, single payer health care and free college education.

In the ad, Sanders says “there are those who say we cannot defeat a corrupt political system and fix a rigged economy. But I believe we need to lift our vision above the obstacles in place.”

Sanders is locked in a tight race in Iowa with Hillary Clinton, who’s allies had criticized another recent Sanders ad as featuring mainly white people. The ad released Monday prominently features several minorities.


4 p.m.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz says Iowa voters do not want to see him trading insults with billionaire Donald Trump.

Cruz reiterated his position Monday during a campaign stop at a pizza restaurant in Manchester, Iowa, that he will criticize Trump’s positions on the issues, but he won’t engage in personal attacks. Until recent weeks, Trump and Cruz had avoided any direct confrontation in the Republican race.

But now they are running close in Iowa with the Feb. 1 caucuses just a week away.

Trump has gone after Cruz on a variety of issues, including questioning whether he’s eligible for the ballot given his birth in Canada and calling him a “nasty” person who is not liked by anyone.

But Cruz says he will “continue to sing Donald’s praises personally.” Cruz says Trump has energized a lot of people to be focused on the election and “that’s a wonderful thing.”


3:35 p.m.

Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream fame is backing Bernie Sanders’ bid for the Democratic presidential nomination with a personal flavor called “Bernie’s Yearning.”

The website shows packaging bearing a picture of Sanders under the heading “Vermont’s Finest Senator” and a “Ben’s Best” label, rather than a Ben & Jerry’s brand.

Cohen says the flavor is his alone, with no connection with Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc., or Sanders’ campaign.

The flavor is solid chocolate on top with plain mint ice cream underneath. The container says the chocolate represents “the huge majority of economic gains that have gone to the top 1 percent since the end of the recession. Beneath it, the rest of us.”

Eating instructions urge people to let the ice cream soften and then mix, “and there you have it, Bernie’s Yearning.”

Cohen says he made 40 pints in his kitchen and donated 25 to the Sanders campaign. He set up a contest to give away the rest.


1:55 p.m.

With one week to go, the 2016 presidential candidates are opening their final push in Iowa. They’re seeking any edge over their opponents in a race brimming with unpredictability for both Democrats and Republicans.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders plan to deliver closing pitches in a televised forum Monday night. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama offered his assessment of their differences. He praised Sanders for energizing liberals while saying that Clinton’s perceived dominance had been both an advantage and a burden.

Republicans are working to ensure their supporters make it to the caucuses that mark the start to the presidential primary voting.

With insurgent candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz fighting for a GOP victory, the remaining contenders are hoping a better-than-expected performance can provide a momentum boost heading into New Hampshire.