A rough night for Marco Rubio, but just how rough?

Marco Rubio had the wind at his back and, thus, his rivals at his throat heading into Saturday night’s debate in New Hampshire. The senator from Florida handled himself very well — after an early exchange with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie that was pretty brutal. Here’s a quick compilation that, I can report having seen it all in real time, doesn’t take Rubio out of context:

Now, you’d be hard-pressed to argue Rubio shouldn’t be the president, or even the GOP nominee, based only on that clip. The repetition itself doesn’t speak to any particular aspect of a candidate — even the one that started the entire series, Christie’s claim that America can’t afford to elevate another first-term senator a la Barack Obama — any more than voters had reason to believe Rick Perry would screw up the shuttering of federal agencies just because he couldn’t remember the name of the third one when asked on a debate stage. Then again, we don’t call him President Perry.

I’m not saying Rubio’s candidacy is now doomed to fail the way Perry’s was after his “oops” moment. I don’t even know if it will even affect him in Tuesday’s primary in New Hampshire; a lot of the answer to that question will depend on whether voters kept watching very long after that exchange, when as I already said Rubio gathered himself and was very good on foreign policy and social issues. And anyone paying close attention to the entire debate, not to mention previous debates, will have grasped the irony that Christie’s attack on Rubio as just another senator who talks but accomplishes nothing is something he repeats over and over again himself. He’s as “scripted” in this attack — and by the way, have you heard he became a U.S. Attorney the day before 9/11? maybe once or twice or 50 times? — as he accuses Rubio of being.

But voters make decisions for a variety of reasons, and it’s easy to imagine some number of people in New Hampshire who’d been leaning toward Rubio taking, at the very least, a step back to re-evaluate their options. Here, the saving grace for Rubio may be that there was no obvious winner of the debate for these voters to gravitate toward.

Christie was OK, but the highlight of his debate was bringing Rubio down a peg; he didn’t really elevate himself unless you want an attack dog. Jeb Bush had probably his best debate of the campaign — and even won an exchange (about eminent domain) with Donald Trump! But I have to wonder if it’s too little, too late for undoubtedly the most disappointing 2016 candidate in either party up to this point. John Kasich has staked his entire campaign on New Hampshire, so maybe his solid debate, alongside Rubio’s subpar performance by his own standards, crystallizes some support there for him. We’ll have to see. But if I were going to guess, any lost voters for Rubio because of this debate will be scattered among the other candidates in such a way as not to change the pecking order. It could, however, interrupt at least temporarily the narrative that Rubio is the ascendant candidate.

And it just might be that the winner of the debate was Donald Trump. He got the best of Ted Cruz at the very start, when Cruz was asked about his statement this past week that Trump didn’t have the temperament to be president, and he dodged it. The moderator who asked the question, ABC’s David Muir, pointed out that he hadn’t answered the question and asked it again. Cruz dodged again. And then Trump, in his rebuttal time, pointed out the second dodge, too. Adding to Cruz’s troubles, Muir next asked Ben Carson about the controversy in Iowa over the Cruz campaign’s telling voters on the day of the caucus that CNN was reporting Carson was about to drop out of the race. Carson called it an example of “Washington ethics” — shades of the “New York values” for which Cruz criticized Trump not long ago. When Cruz responded with a timeline of what had happened, Carson jumped back in to point out that CNN had quickly clarified its report to say Carson wasn’t going to drop out, and the Cruz campaign ignored that. I doubt the rehashing of this point was what viewers were really looking for Saturday night, but coming right after Cruz’s bad exchange with Trump it couldn’t have helped the Texan. Like Rubio, though, Cruz was mostly better as the debate went on.

Trump, meanwhile, was pretty quintessentially himself — asked about torture, for example, he said: “I would bring back waterboarding and I’d bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.” We are waiting to see if he can get back to defying the rules of political gravity, or if Iowa was only the first sign that his prospects were overstated. If it’s the former, he just might have gained the most of anyone Saturday night.

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66 comments
McGarnagle
McGarnagle

Sense a re-occurring theme here. From Trump, Carson, Cruz, Rubio. Being top dog is not easy and rather difficult to maintain longevity. But Trump has been at the top for most of this campaign cycle and with statements he made about torture, the Dems are in good shape.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

Is Marco Rubio aware that Barack Obama isn't running for rëelection? ;)

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

@Eye wonder

With Hillary promising to continue Obama's disastrous and anti-American legacy, discussing that legacy is perfectly on point.

lvg
lvg


Gangsta from jersey beat up pretty boy from Cuba   so bad his tape recorder got stuck on hold.

khcdec
khcdec

rubio using gop playbook....say it over and over again....the rubes will believe it.....we don't need no stinkin' brains

Caius
Caius

Rubio just looks and sounds not ready for prime time.


Cruz just went ahead of Hillary for the number of "untruths" spoken during a debate. So are we going to elect a Canadian who does not tell the truth?


I thought the "governors" had the better night.


From senate.gov - "Three senators, Warren G. Harding, John F. Kennedy, and Barack Obama moved directly from the U.S. Senate to the White House."  And neither were very good presidents.  So why elect a senator again.

lvg
lvg

@Caius Cruz would lie about anything to get elected. problem is Constitution says he's ineligible.

Starik
Starik

Why in the world can't the Republican Party field credible Presidential candidates?

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

Not a felon or socialist among them.

Anyone who would vote for Obama isn't qualified to judge presidential candidates.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

Well I certainly wasn't going to vote for Howdy Doodie or Lurch. They would have been dangerous and incompetent.

lvg
lvg

@khckhc @Starik @LilBarryBailout I think Little Barry is soft on the Canadian// Cuban who is in the pocket of the 1%rs. can't wait  for that Carpet bombing to begin.

MarkVV
MarkVV

Dr. Carson continued his inept debate performance, and it is reasonable to ask, in spite of his surprisingly high percentages in polls, how long he will continue the campaign,

There was, however, one moment in the debate, which was most remarkable, although most likely will remain completely unnoticed. His answer to the question about airstrikes:

CARSON: “I would support the possibility of renewed airstrikes if in conjunction with our Joint Chiefs and our military people they felt that was an appropriate strategy.

The fact of the matter is none of us up here is a military expert, and we sometimes act like we are, but we're not. And if we actually sit down and talk with them and get them to understand our plan and their impression of what needs to be done, I think we're going to make a lot more progress.”

In contrast with the braggadocio of most of the other candidates, Dr. Carson reminded us of their lack of any military knowledge that would support their boasting. Moreover, it reminds us of the fact that every President, with the possible exception of someone like Dwight Eisenhower (in recent times), but including President Obama, relies on the top layer of our military to tell him what, in their best judgment, can and should be done. Thus the Republican attacks on President Obama’s military decisions is mostly an attack on the best minds of our military, which the Republicans pretend so much to admire. 

Rule .303
Rule .303

@MarkVV I think you have it backwards. What generally happens is that the President gives a broad strategy to the Pentagon and they execute the plan. In this case airstrikes. If your assertion were true, then the military and not Bush is responsible for the Invasion of Iraq.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@Rule .303 @MarkVV Nonsense about Iraq. Invasion of Iraq was a political, not military decision, and Bush is solely responsible for it. As for "broad strategy" regarding ISIS, to defeat  it by air strikes and helping Muslim allies is the broad strategy, and there is no difference between most Republican candidates and Obama in that. There may be some difference in the tactics, such as in concern about civilians, but most of what the Republican candidates are talking about, such as coalition, depriving ISIS of oil, money – they only pretend that they would do anything different than Obama.It is Pentagon that decides the number of sorties, not the President, as Cruz would like us to believe. They decide the target not Obama.

Speaking of Cruz, his “explanation” what he meant by “carpet bombing” was probably the second most amusing part of the debate.

CardiganBoy
CardiganBoy

@MarkVV I'd remind you that Obama chased two able men from the office of Secretary of Defense because he neither sought their advice nor took it when it was given anyway.  He (Obama) was also very indecisive.


At least let the feces on the wall that represents Obama's geopolitical legacy dry before you start comparing him to Eisenhower.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@CardiganBoy @MarkVV I did not compare Obama to Eisenhower. So the first thing you need to do is to learn to read. But your inability in that respect is a minor point compared with the stupidity and crudeness of your expression, and I have no desire to argue with imbeciles.

Caius
Caius

@CardiganBoy @MarkVV Former Defense Sec Robert Gates called Obama the most decisive president he had worked for saying that he would make the tough decision without hesitation.


Now there were other things he did not like about Obama.


creative
creative

Hey mark. Not sure if you are new here but most the people on here are retarded. Your intelligent post won't be understood and before long you will be called a nazi or a commie. When smart people try to have intellectual discussion, whether on the right or left, within 3 posts it devolves into name calling. I myself could participate in the debate, but I realize that name calling is much more effective. No here's the protocol. If someone makes an argument in support of something on the left , you must use some of these fun names.....commie, obozo, left wing nut, hitlery, communist news network and so forth. If someone makes an argument in support of something on the right you must use these names.... Faux news, nazi, redneck, bigot, and right wing nut, got it?

lvg
lvg

@MarkVV @Rule .303 Sadaam tried to kill Bush's daddy and Cheney was sore because Powell got HW to end the Gulf war without invading Iraq.

Ficklefan
Ficklefan

- He survived it. But there will be more to come, and it is good experience/preparation for what the Dem/Libs and their national campaign organization, the lame stream media, are going to do to him, and worse, after he is nominated. 


- All of the pols in both parties live and die these days by the scripted speech and sound bite. Whether it is a simple question, a debate issue, or an in depth interview, they all launch into their scripted talking points and "stay on message." 


- Why? Because the electorate is more dumbed down, uninformed, and just plain more stoopid than perhaps it has ever been in history. This makes it a big sucker for voting for the Dem/Libs,  willing to give it more and more "free government stuff" free education, freedom from debt, free medical care, free cell phones, food stamps, and "equal out-comes"  etc. (impossible but it plays very well to all the dim bulbs out there) 


- But with the nation in clear decline domestically, national debt to infinity and beyond, the economy in the perpetual doldrums, and US foreign policy weaker than ever, and in complete shambles, there is still enough of an electorate with a brain left to put a Republican back into the White House and get the country moving forward again. 


- Rubio is the one Republican that Hillary Clinton fears, and for good reason.  And he cannot let them abuse his record and his character and lie about him and define him as Romney let them do to him.


- Electability is key now. And Hillary will be coming into this fight with lots of baggage of her own. If the lame stream media was in the pocket of the Pub/Cons instead of the Dem/Libs, she would not have a prayer. 


- With the inevitability of her coronation now a thing of the past, and the shoe about to drop on her greatest - but not her only  vulnerability by a long shot - the winds of change are picking up. 


- The totally politicized Justice Department under Holder and now Lynch will not indict her, no matter what evidence is presented by the FBI, but the basis of the FBI case against here will be made public, and that will be enough. 


- Petraeus took the lid off of the top secret cookie jar and he was punished for it. Hillary took the lid off, ate all the cookies, and then broke the cookie jar. There is no justifiable way (except politics) that Petraeus could have been prosecuted and punished under the laws that apply to this case - and Hillary not be prosecuted after she is indicted. The electorate will see that clearly.


- Pub/Cons have become very feisty, aggressive, and combative because they know the winner of the nomination has a very good chance of becoming President, and the lame stream may not be able to prevent that this time around. Hence Christie (unelectable), Kasich (a good guy, but unelectable), and Bush (electable but unfathomable) will not win the nomination.


- Neither Trump or Cruz will get the nomination. What sustains them has no staying power with an intelligent and informed electorate. 


- Hillary's best hope if Rubio gets the nomination. Trump or Trump/Cruz make a third party effort. Then, like her husband, with the assistance of Ross Perot, Hillary will become President.


- Trump/Cruz/ Limbaugh/Beck/Palin et al. will then be once again let off the hook and not  actually have to govern (which they are not capable of doing any way), but free to continue to go on the cable news shows and spew their ignorance and howl at the moon for the next 4 years - which is the only thing they are really good at. 



RafeHollister
RafeHollister

You have to ignore a lot to be for any of these candidates, especially Marco Rubio.  So, maybe the voters will look past his scripted remark loop.  He said the same thing 8X according to one source I saw.  I think he was insistent on getting the point through that Obama wasn't a failure because of lack of experience, but was a failure due to his deliberate attempt to reshape America.  If Obama's inexperience caused his failure, Rubio then is suspected of just being a potential Obama.  No one else on the stage agreed with him that Obama was competent, so I'm not sure he won that point.  The truth is a little of both, I believe, on some things totally incompetent on others deliberately trying to change America's standing in the world, which has caused this mess in the ME.


For those who noticed, "immigration" was the top issue discussed on social media last night.  Many of the establishment constantly imply that immigration is not that important to the voters, but what they mean is the donors want it ignored.  


The immigration issue may not be that big for voters in lily white NH, as they aren't faced with it as much as the rest of the country, so that may help Rubio.  Rubio really has a lot to run away from on this issue.  An eye opening article today on  Breitbart, where an ICE employee describes his terrible treatment, when he sought influence from Rubio on helping to protect law enforcement interest in the Gang of Eight bill.  He was lied to and totally blown off by Rubio, who later watched Chuck Schumer kick the guy out of a hearing, when they guy tried to ask a question.


None of the candidates are perfect, they all have issues, so their supporters tend to excuse/obfuscate/ignore/deny the things about their candidate that they don't particularly agree with, so Rubio will probably live to campaign another day.

MarkVV
MarkVV

There is no doubt that the smackdown, which  the smug, self-righteous, preachy Marc Rubio has received was the highlight of the Saturday debate. The Republicans who support him also clearly document their hypocrisy, after all those years of harping on the inexperience of a one term senator becoming the President.

xxxzzz
xxxzzz

@MarkVV For people paying attention to the debates, it was obvious Marco was an empty suit.  Christie just exposed it for everyone to see.  Now a lot of people like a slick talker instead of someone who can actually do the job, so it may not matter to them.  But NH typically decides in the last 3 days, so it might have a big impact.  Tuesday will tell.

ByteMe
ByteMe

 Rubio said three times that Republicans had to dispel the notion that Obama “doesn’t know what he’s doing.” ABC News "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos told Rubio that Democrats were circulating the video and asked the GOP nominee hopeful what went wrong.

"Well, actually, I would pay them to keep running that clip because that's what I believe passionately," Rubio said, before trailing off.


When life hands you crap, build a crap sandwich!

xxxzzz
xxxzzz

@ByteMe Iraq, ISIS, Syria, Libya, Benghazi, Ukraine, Putin, North Korea, Iran, VA Hospitals, failure to pass a budget for 6 years with a senate majority and 2 of those with a house majority and 60 seats in the senate, a horrible rollout of Obamacare, sloppy language that resulted in Roberts having to save Obamacare with a twisted definition of tax, the longest recession recovery ever, continued wage stagnation, lowest labor force participation in decades-if that is Rubio's definition of knowing what he is doing, he is REALLY not qualified.

DMayr
DMayr

Amazingly, the sole position (or proposed policy, for that matter) offered was 'Obama is bad and represents the end of America as we know it'. despite overwhelming evidence that he's actually 1) done a good job in improving America since being elected, despite unprecedented opposition from the G-No-P, and 2) done exponentially better than his predecessor, who drove Murica into a ditch with the help of the GOP Congress for 75% of his tenure. No wonder the GOP field is being led off a cliff by a reality TV star. The entire part lives in Lal-La Land and cannot function in reality; only rhetoric.


At this point, Bernie Sanders could win against them :-)


LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

Spending, deficits, poverty, taxes, and unemployment were all lower on W's watch.

Do facts matter to you?

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

I'm counting the off-budget stuff. And yes, unemployment was lower. In fact, January 2016 unemployment was the lowest since 2008.

Care to try again?

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@LilBarryBailout Long as you don't count the spending for so much off the books.


Unemployment lower?  Ya godda be kidding!

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

I didn't say the Iraq war was free, I said that when its included with on-budget spending, W spent less than Obama

Thanks for playing.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

Obama ratcheted spending up by a trillion bucks a year in his first year, so cutting it a little since then allows people like you, ignorant of basic facts, to parrot talking points fed to you by libtard media.

My statements stand unchallenged.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

Base don the limited time I watched the debate and the clips, Kasich had a good and appealing night. Rubio was not as bad as most think. I would pause and reflect on voting for any of the repub candidates based on what they said and how they represented themselves. Kasich still is the best of the lot. Not sold on Hillary  and Sanders either.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@RoadScholar Kasich needs to stop bouncing behind the podium.  I'm betting he's got some tune playing in his head to keep him relaxed.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@ByteMe @RoadScholar

You focus on the strangest things, Byte.

I don't like the way Obama noisily returns his hands to the podium when speaking but I don't dwell on it. It's not what makes or breaks him as a president.

If I had to guess, it's because of his stooped posture and the pain it may cause. Bernie does the same thing.

Rubio's need for water could be due to chronic dry mouth. A lot of folks are afflicted with dry mouth.

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

Does anyone really like Rubio? Or is it that they just hate Cruz so much? My guess is the latter.

Christie is right, the dude has never done anything.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@LilBarryBailout Cruz has neither.  Rubio has likability but is too green to be useful.  Trump... well now there's a special case.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

And none of the GOP candidates are under investigation by the FBI, or socialists.

Of course, what really matters to Dem voters are their handouts and their freedom to kill their inconvenient unborn children.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

Democrats clearly value likeability over competence or actual accomplishments. And it's worked out so well.

ByteMe
ByteMe

After that exchange with Rubio, none of the candidates seemed to want to re-engage Rubio.  Were they worried that it would have been seen as "child abuse" to do that?

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

What were you saying about insults making the original point garbage?

Oopsies!

LMAO!!

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

Those goalposts must have wheels under them!

Can't make your argument without a personal attack? Must be pretty weak!

ByteMe
ByteMe

@LilBarryBailout Did I insult you or your ilk?  Nope.  but you do it as a matter of course.  Which means your points get lost in your invective.

Pretty comfortable I made my point cleanly by attacking the candidate and not his followers.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@LilBarryBailout That "I know you are but what am I response" is about what we've come to expect from you, so no worries!