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February 08, 2016 01:43 PM UTC

"Robot" Rubio's Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Debate

  • by: Colorado Pols
Marco Rubio.
Marco Rubio.

As the Washington Post reports, an awful debate performance by GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio this weekend has thrown his campaign into a tailspin at the worst possible moment:

Just two days before the New Hampshire primary, Rubio drew mockery for repeating a rehearsed line four times during the Republican candidates’ debate, even after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had ridiculed him for being a talking-point machine.

Rubio received scathing reviews on the Sunday talk shows and was needled by some of his opponents. On Twitter, he earned the moniker “Rubio bot.” Clips of the debate played repeatedly on cable news and were watched hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube.

The episode interrupted Rubio’s week-long effort to build on his impressive third-place showing in the Iowa caucuses and consolidate donors and party officials behind him. It also appeared to give new life to the struggling candidacies of Christie, former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, while improving Donald Trump’s chances of winning the New Hampshire Republican primary.

After Rubio’s disappointing third place finish in the Iowa caucuses, spin doctors allied with his campaign went to absurd lengths to characterize the result as a “victory”–spin that fell embarrassingly flat in the days following, but revealed just how desperate the GOP insider establishment is for a alternative to Donald Trump, and to a lesser extent Sen. Ted Cruz. But after this weekend’s debate, Rubio’s shine has dulled considerably:

“The whole race changed last night,” Christie said Sunday on CNN. “There was a march amongst some in the chattering class to anoint Senator Rubio. I think after last night, that’s over. I think there could be four or five tickets now out of New Hampshire because the race is so unsettled now.”

…Trump has held a dominant lead in the polls in New Hampshire for months. There was a growing sense on the ground in recent days that Rubio might surf a wave of buzz and goodwill to contend for the top spot, but party strategists said the debate probably closed whatever opening may have existed. [Pols emphasis]

Rubio’s robotic verbatim answers about the motives of President Barack Obama recalled a similar on-camera disaster for Rubio backer Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman, as Democrats were quick to mashup for posterity after the debate:

But for Coloradans, the worst moment in Rubio’s rough debate Saturday could well be his flip-flop on–yes, that’s right–the Denver Broncos:

We’re pretty sure Rubio’s Colorado backers are still cringing from that one.

Bottom line: we won’t know the full effect of Rubio’s poor debate performance until polls in New Hampshire close tomorrow night, but the timing couldn’t be worse for his campaign. Without a powerful comeback story in New Hampshire, all the insider spin in the world can’t spin Rubio past the two candidates who beat him in Iowa. And sounding like an amateur talking point machine in Saturday’s debate feeds the criticism that hurts Rubio most: that he is an inexperienced and shallow candidate, completely unprepared to serve as President.

And the more Rubio talks, the more unprepared he looks.


14 thoughts on ““Robot” Rubio’s Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Debate

  1. Rubio is pulling in all of the late deciding voters. One debate isn't enough to drive voters to Trump or Cruz. If voters decide on experience that won't be Trump.

    The "experience" argument is obviously meant to cover for the Democrats fossil candidates. All the arguments for Obama used by Democrats apply to Marco Rubio.

      1. With the added bonus of actually ringing true — Young Rubio is more suited to be a pretty boy TV newsreader than qualified to lead anything more challenging than a cub scout troop.

        His handlers won't let him answer many impromptu questions on the campaign trail for fear of exposing him as an empty suit, claiming he's got to rush to the next event, but then hangs around taking selfies.  

        1. Rubio is definitely in danger of finding himself in a destructive loop. In 2008, it was a legitimate criticism that Obama did not have the experience to be the leader of the free world.  He allayed those concerns in part by running such a good campaign. He took on and defeated teh Clinton machine. Notwithstanding his weakness in experience, it appeared that Obama surrounded himself with people that knew what they were doing, including Joe Biden.  (It also helped that his rival chose caribou barbie as his running mate). Rubio, as Rubio-bot, is demonstrating that he does not know what he is doing and does not have competent people around him. Rubio has to know that the primary line of attack will be "you have not enough experience."  If his people do nothing else, they need to prepare him to answer that attack. They did not.  They gave him, "do not be fooled, Obama is a mastermind in his plans and actions to destroy this nation."  That does not cut it. Rubio is not done, but he is severely wounded.

    1. So Chris Christie is a Dem plant, then?

      Rubio is paper-thin, not even a single major bill OR AMENDMENT to his credit. Not even a talking-point about a successful negotiation to add something into a bill in committee. And Christie is right: the thing Rubio said 4 times during the debate is the same exact thing he says every time he steps up for his short stump speech. People accuse Bernie Sanders of being a broken record on the need for corporate reform, but at least he brings up different examples and facets of his campaign every time he brings it up… Rubio doesn't even have that.

      1. He was part of the Gang of Eight on immigration reform but then he had to repudiate
        (or is it refudiate) that legislation, Watching him run away from that bill was like watching Mittens walk back from Romney-care aka Obama-care.

        1. "I did not ever have a good idea, nor ever participate in one in any way.  Really.  I'm a conservative Republican.  Really!  (… and, anyone who quotes me is obviously a liar.)"

           —  Numerous 21st-Century GOPers

    2. It wasn't a Dem who couldn't think of a single Rubio accomplishment. It was Santorum who was supposed to be speaking in Rubio's support. Please go away, waste of space.

    3. Rubio is pulling in all of the late deciding voters.  Rubio is pulling in all of the late deciding voters. Rubio is pulling…<ModBot1000 rebooting>…

  2. Marco Rubio, Lampooned for Repeating Himself, Does It Again


    Speaking to a crowd in Nashua, he was lamenting the decline in American family values.

    Then he lamented the decline in American values again.

    This is what he said verbatim, as his wife and four children looked on:

    “We are taking our message to families that are struggling to raise their children in the 21st century because, as you saw, Jeanette and I are raising our four children in the 21st century, and we know how hard it’s become to instill our values in our kids instead of the values they try to ram down our throats.

    “In the 21st century, it’s becoming harder than ever to instill in your children the values they teach in our homes and in our church instead of the values that they try to ram down our throats in the movies, in music, in popular culture.”

    Mr. Rubio appeared to notice his own echo: As he repeated the word “throats,” he caught himself, but proceeded to the end of his sentence nonetheless.

  3. Every time I see Rubio, I'm reminded of an editorial cartoon that showed him standing before a mirror in what was obviously supposed to be his father's much-too-large-suit. That sums him up pretty concisely. 

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