If Marco Rubio has learned anything from Donald Trump, it’s that he should never apologize and keep doing exactly what he’s doing. Rubio got slammed in the media for repeating the same talking point five times, and in his interview with George Stephanopolous the next day, he hadn’t changed much:
@00:07: “I hope they keep running that clip, because that’s what I believe. Passionately. It’s one of the reasons I’m not running for reelection in the senate and I’m running for President.”
@00:29: “As far as that message, I hope they keep running it, and I’m going to keep saying it.”
@00:48: “I’m going to keep saying that.”
@01:00: “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 I am running.”
@01:40: “No one on that stage last night has more experience or a better understanding of the national security issues before this country than I do.”
@01:59: “No one on that stage has a better understanding or has shown better judgment on foreign policy than I have.”
@07:10: “Of all those people on that stage last night still running for President, none of them has more experience or a better understanding or proven better judgment on these issues than I have.”
@07:41: “If you want to be Commander-in-Chief […] you better show you understand these issues in-depth and that you have some good judgment on them.”
And there’s more, like where he repeats word-for-word his “I believe life isn’t a political issue, it’s a human rights issue” line, or when he starts in again with his “notion” about Obama’s policies not being an accident, or when he repeats how his campaign raised more money in the first hour of the debate than in any other debate at the beginning and end of the interview.
Do other candidates repeat themselves repeat themselves? Sure. Trump has somehow mesmerized approximately a third of likely NH Republican voters with that stuff. But for a guy who prides himself on not being Donald Trump, Rubio sure likes to get out the same message time and time again.
But will it really matter? Has the stark media reaction forecasting a doomsday scenario for Rubio been an accurate reflection for what will go down in New Hampshire tomorrow? Eh…
But in the new dawn, given the reality of the debates’ limited audience and the general competition for voters’ attention, the exact extent of the damage was less clear. Rubio’s first event of the day drew overflow crowds showing both interest and enthusiasm. And he himself told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week that he would pay the networks to show his repetitious sound bites again and again.
From The New York Times:
Mr. Rubio and his advisers pushed back on Sunday against suggestions that his momentum might dissipate, saying his strategy would remain unchanged and boasting repeatedly of strong overnight fund-raising.
“I don’t think anything happened last night that is going to fundamentally change the trajectory of this race,” said Todd Harris, a senior Rubio adviser. “The governors are all on either life support or borrowed time.”
A handful of voters interviewed at Mr. Rubio’s Londonderry appearance seemed unaware of or indifferent to his tough night.
“Missed it,” said Mark Nemecek, 61, of Derry, N.H., an undecided voter who was there with his wife. “It was Saturday night movie night, you know.”
Andrea Almquist, 57, a nurse from Londonderry, said she was still deciding between Mr. Rubio and Mr. Cruz. “That did work against him,” she said of the debate. But she nodded along as Mr. Rubio spoke of strengthening the military and said “amen” when he said Americans’ rights come from God, not from the government.
I already voiced my doubts about Rubio crashing and burning in New Hampshire because of Saturday night’s gaffe, and my prediction is that he’ll perform about as well as the polls indicate. And as he said in the Stephanopolous interview, he got the same number of delegates out of Iowa as Trump and only one less than Cruz despite a third-place finish. This kind of thing will only hurt him long-run if he keeps doing it in the long-run, and while his money ain’t Jeb! Bush money, he’s got plenty to keep rolling even if he takes a dip, meaning he isn’t a short-term candidate.