Rubio woos supporters as Republican rivals renew attacks

Last Updated: February 9, 2016
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After the worst encounter of his campaign, Sen. Marco Rubio visited Sunday to telegraph reassurance while his political rivals continued their leveling up and tried to shake up the Republican presidential contest in a state known for last-minute shifts of fortune.

Rubio appeared on network television and at a meeting in Londonderry

He appeared on network television and at a packed town hall meeting in Londonderry, the Republican political aspirant resounded the same lines that drew such derision Saturday night for their repeated, mechanical delivery in his highly criticized debate performance.

“Last night it was, ‘Oh, you said the same thing three or four times,’ ” Rubio told supporters in a high school cafeteria. “I’m going to say it again: Barack Obama is the first president, at least in my lifetime, who wants to change the country. Not fix it. Not fix its problems. He wants to make it a different kind of country.”

Rubio was silent about his shabby debate performance, but his political opponents on Sunday were so eager to take advantage of what they hoped would be a pivot point in New Hampshire’s premiere primary.

Chris Christie New Jersey Gov., Rubio’s biggest debate rival, bluntly stated on CNN that his opponent “was unprepared to be president of the United States.” At his own town hall in Hampton later in the day, he added, “When the lights go on, I told you he wouldn’t be ready.”

During the debate, Christie made jest of Rubio for repeating the same memorized 25-second sound bite about Obama knowing “exactly what he’s doing.”

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush stated on “Fox News Sunday,” describing his onetime political protege “as totally scripted and kind of robotic” in the debate, which was the last chance for candidates to make their case to a wide audience before Tuesday’s balloting.

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