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    Rubio Rorschach Test

    Rubio Rorschach Test

    It’s his story, and he’s sticking to it.

    It’s pretty clear what the most talked-about segment of the GOP New Hampshire debate was.

    When Chris Christie treated Marco Rubio like an accused murderer on the witness stand, alternatively badgering and mocking the witness’s alibi for where he was the night of the crime. The witness, though, would not be shaken from his story.

    It’s his story, and he’s sticking to it.

    Needless to say, Chris Christie is trying to portray this as a game changer in the trial known as the Republican primaries:

    “I think that the anointment [of Rubio] is now over, so that changes the entire race… I am ready to roll right into South Carolina,” he later told reporters. “I have my reservations made. We have staff down there. And we’re ready to go to South Carolina. So I want the results here on Tuesday to be as good as they can possibly be. We’re going to work hard to make sure they are as good as it possibly can be, and last night we took a big step towards it.”

    Democrats are all too happy to join in the chorus of mocking Rubio, with David Brock’s pro-Hillary Correct the Record tweeting out the meme that Rubio is a robot:

    Loops of the repetition were everywhere.

    The potential damage to Rubio is significant because it goes to a core pre-existing perception problem, that his charm far exceeds his substance. Ratifying preconceived perceptions — such as Jeb Bush being low energy — can be extremely damaging to a candidate. More so than a specific issue problem.

    It’s far from clear, however, that how the media and political opponents see a debate event is how voters see it. The Rubio campaign is reporting banner website traffic and fundraising, particularly after Rubio’s answer on abortion (as I predicted at the time):

    Nate Silver at 538 notes:

    But a lot of caution is also in order. Pundits haven’t misgauged the impact of a debate since … well, since only about a week ago, when the “smart take” was that Trump had won the final Iowa debate by not having shown up for it, and that Ted Cruz had a poor evening. Instead, Cruz won the Iowa caucuses a few days later, with Trump in second with a vote share well below where polls had projected him.

    As I wrote after the previous debate, political reporters are in the “fog of war” phase of the campaign where our reactions aren’t necessarily good matches for those of voters at home. Some of the reason we reporters thought Rubio’s answer was so awful is because it confirmed some of our gossip about Rubio, namely that he tends to give pat, repetitive answers. But we tend to be more sensitive about that stuff, because we watch every debate from start to finish, and then we see lots of the candidates’ stump speeches and town halls on top of it. There’s a fine line between a candidate who seems stilted and repetitive and one who seems “on message” instead.

    Is there any evidence that home viewers saw Rubio’s performance differently? Well, maybe. On Google Trends, there was a huge spike in searches for Rubio during the debate — but it came not during his glitchy moments but instead after an effective answer he delivered on abortion about two hours into the debate. Meanwhile, a Google Consumer Surveyspoll conducted midway through the debate found respondents thought that Trump, Rubio and Cruz (in that order) were winning the debate.

    Rubio, for his part, is sticking to his story:

    I think it’s something of a Rubio Rorschach Test. People will see into it what they want. I’m not sure it changed any minds, or votes.

    [Featured Image based on this image.]


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    People wonder if Marco is a complete phony, or even halfway intelligent with his 2.1 high school GPA but this notion that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing is not true, he knows exactly what he’s doing.

      Skookum in reply to rotten. | February 8, 2016 at 4:38 pm

      Yes, Obama, Soetoro, Soebarkah, or whoever he is knows what he’s doing in transforming America toward his Marxist ideal, but Rubio’s repeated use of this fact was not responsibe. Just because the inexperienced and untested Obama proved to be a knowledgeable and effective destroyer does not mean the inexperienced and untested Rubio can be a knowledgeable and effective builder and leader. In fact, his steadfast support for immigration amnesty shows him to be one of Obama’s fellow travelers.

    After the 2000s, new University of Miami president Donna Shalala tried to reinvent/rebrand Miami as a safety school for educated rich northerners.

    Marco Rubio Graduated during the party school/football school/Jimmy Johnson era.

    But, this notion that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing is not true, he knows exactly what he’s doing.

      Rick in reply to rotten. | February 8, 2016 at 11:10 am

      I see what you did there, and it made me laugh.
      Thanks for that.

      Ragspierre in reply to rotten. | February 8, 2016 at 11:48 am

      Rubio is, of course, in this one thing, absolutely right. I’ve been saying it for years.

      There aren’t many ways to state the same truism. Pres. ScamWOW is NOT incompetent. You just have to understand what his goals are/were. He’s worked them like a Stradivarius.

        Rick in reply to Ragspierre. | February 8, 2016 at 1:01 pm

        That is correct on the substance of the particular criticism, and many of us have been willing to say that for years.
        I take the thrust of Christy’s attack to be on the repetitive, memorized, lines that Rubio falls back on, even when the substance of those memorized lines are not responsive to the question. I think that criticism is accurate.
        While I agree that obama is intentionally destroying America, I don’t think that excuses Rubio from repeating that point on and on, regardless of what the question is. I think Rubio’s falling back on a memorized line demonstrates Rubio’s inability to think on his feet, his need for memorized lines, and perhaps his overall lack of high intelligence, as some commenters have mentioned above.

        Skookum in reply to Ragspierre. | February 8, 2016 at 4:41 pm

        The only reason Obama has succeeded is he is protected by the magic shield of the threat of the race card should anyone initiate a serious challenge to his agenda. That, and the spinelessness of the GOPe.

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