Rising in some New Hampshire polls, Marco Rubio became the No. 1 target in the last Republican presidential debate before the February 9 primary.
Perhaps the most withering criticism Saturday night came from New Jersey Gov. Christie, who in an effort to make the case that the Florida senator was not fit for the presidency, blasted Rubio for same “memorized 25-second speech.’’
After Christie compared the first-term senator to President Barack Obama, Rubio shot back at the governor’s record in New Jersey. Rubio then said he wanted to “dispel the notion’’ that Obama lacks competency, but is rather trying to change the United States to be like the rest of the world.
Having heard those words before, Christie pounced.
“That’s what Washington, D.C., does,’’ he said. “The drive-by shot at the beginning with incorrect and incomplete information, and then the memorized 25-second speech that is exactly what his advisors gave him.’’
The crowd erupted in applause.
“Marco, the thing is this,’’ Christie continued. “When you’re president of the United States, when you’re governor of a state, the memorized 30-second speech where you talk about how great America is at the end of it doesn’t solve one problem for one person.’’
Soon thereafter, videos were clipped together of Rubio repeating the similar “dispel the notion’’ in his answers Saturday night, including one time in which Christie even interrupts to call him out on it.
Some observers said that Christie’s attack “rattled’’ the usually composed Rubio for the rest of the debate. Before the debate had even ended, Hillary Clinton’s super PAC had also clipped together a “Rubio on Repeat’’ video.
But the senator defended himself after the debate, saying that his campaign fundraised more money in the first hour of Saturday’s debate than in any other debate.
“As far as that message, I hope they keep running it and I’m going to keep saying it, because it’s true,’’ Rubio added.