From Jeremy Peters and Jonathan Martin in the New York Times:
LONDONDERRY, N.H. — Senator Marco Rubio on Sunday confronted what may have been the most challenging moment of his presidential campaign as his rivals seized on images of him mechanically repeating himself in Saturday night’s debate as proof that Mr. Rubio, who arrived in New Hampshire ascendant, was not ready for prime time.
Mr. Rubio defiantly told voters here that he would continue hammering at President Obama’s leadership, a critique he made again and again during the debate, inviting vicious ridicule from Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.
“I’m going to say it again,” Mr. Rubio told about 1,000 people who crowded into a high school cafeteria, one of his largest audiences yet in New Hampshire. “Barack Obama is the first president, at least in my lifetime, who wants to change the country. Change the country. Not fix it, not fix its problems. He wants to make it a different kind of country.”
Christie’s angle with Rubio was called by some to be over-the-top. Though Rubio awkwardly repeated his line, he refused to back away from it later. Christie missed his point later as it would have ruined his moment. More from Rubio:
Far from appearing sheepish about his performance in the debate, in which Mr. Christie ridiculed his reliance on “the memorized 25-second speech,” Mr. Rubio, a Florida senator, insisted that he would “pay” to have clips of his repetitious critique of Mr. Obama rebroadcast for New Hampshire viewers.
“It’s what I believe,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.” “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.”
This tweet from retired conservative talk show host Neal Boortz may help Christie understand the point a little better:
For those watching the entire debate, it was clear that Rubio rebounded extremely well and scored points on abortion and national security. On the later, he continued to show he is the most knowledgable candidate and most effective speaker. The media narrative is focused on Rubio’s flawed showing in his exchange with Chrsitie and he will need to overcome that. He’s beginning to already.
The fact of the matter is that last night, Rubio was running against Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and the Democrats. Christie and Jeb Bush to some extent were running against Rubio. It was clear the three governors are working in tandem to take down Rubio. His response today to Christie’s confrontational tactic is a good one.