‘Establishment’ favorite Marco Rubio had a very bad go of it on Saturday night. Seen as the surging candidate in the GOP race after his strong finish in Iowa, Rubes likely knew that he had a target on his back heading into ABC’s debate. John Kasich, Chris Christie and Jeb Bush are all hoping to finish as high as second in New Hampshire in order to save their moribund campaigns, and they can’t afford for Rubio to take all the moderate votes on Tuesday.
Likely thinking Jeb! was going to be the one on the attack, Marco was taken by surprise when Christie blindsided him on stage, highlighting Rubio’s penchant for repeating himself and sticking to a memorized script, which is essentially that President Obama is purposely trying to destroy this country. Things quickly went downhill as the Florida Senator repeated the same phrase four times in the course of the evening, all with Christie heckling him from the side. It became an instant meme on social media and has the possibility of sticking to him during the entire campaign.
Appearing on ABC’s This Week Sunday morning to discuss his debate performance, Rubio-Bot continued to malfunction. Speaking to host George Stephanopoulos, Rubio tried to defend his canned responses by repeating himself numerous times during the interview, pointing out that he’ll continue to do so because Obummer sux and the people need to hear it.
From the transcript (emphasis mine):
STEPHANOPOULOS: Democrats are circulating that video from last night, Senator Marco Rubio joins us live right now.
What went wrong?
RUBIO: Well, actually, I would pay them to keep running that clip because that’s what I believe passionately. It’s one of the reasons why I’m not running for reelection to the Senate and I’m running for president. This notion and this idea that somehow, oh, this is an accident — ObamaCare was not an accident. Dodd-Frank was not an accident. The deal with Iran was not an accident —
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you’re getting pounded for repeating that speech.
RUBIO: Well, look, we raised more money last night in the first hour that debate than any other debate. As far as that message, I hope they keep running it and I’m going to keep saying because it’s true. Barack Obama — yes, has he hired incompetent people to implement laws and run agencies? Absolutely.
But when it comes to the — what he’s trying to do to America, it’s part of a plan. He has said he wanted to change the country; he’s doing it in a way that is robbing us of everything that makes us special.
I’m going to keep saying that because that not only is it the truth, it is at the core of our —
STEPHANOPOULOS: But even after Chris Christie called you out for what he called canned speeches, 25-second canned speeches, you repeated again, he says, there you go again. That was not a good moment for you, was it?
RUBIO: It’s what I believe. And it’s what I’m going to continue to say because it happens to be one of the main reasons why I am running. I — this is the greatest country in the history of mankind because of a certain set of principles. Barack Obama wants us to abandon those principles that he has spent seven years putting in place policies that rip them from us: undermining the Constitution, undermining free enterprise, undermining our standing in the world, weakening America, apologizing for us on the global stage.
The reason why I’m running is if we elect someone like that for the next four years, I think it may be too late for American to turn around.
Marco can try to spin this as a positive by saying he only repeats these same blurbs over and over because they’re true, but it just isn’t going to work. Coming across as the same talking point-driven robot just reinforces what Christie pointed out. Now, this may not hurt him in the short term, but once the field thins out, you know someone as vicious as Ted Cruz or Donald Trump will hammer him mercilessly over this on the trail.