Rubio Implodes in New Hampshire Debate by Acting Like a Broken Robot

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Republican Candidates Debate In New Hampshire Days Before State's Primary
The damage is done.Photo: Joe Raedle/2016 Getty Images

Senator Marco Rubio’s attempt to claim the GOP establishment mantle and surge past Donald Trump and Ted Cruz to the Republican presidential nomination encountered a massive glitch in the early part of Saturday night’s debate. At first, Rubio’s strategy appeared to be to rehash his stump speech insinuating that President Obama is deliberately damaging America. Chris Christie, whose strategy for the debate was clearly to take out Rubio, repeatedly called attention to the senator’s canned speech and accused him of using memorized sound bits to cover up for his complete lack of executive experience. That strategy worked. The exchange became an instant classic in the history of political smackdowns, especially because, incredibly, a clearly rattled Rubio continued to use his canned speech, repeating his attack on Obama a total of four times over the first half of the debate:

And here’s the extended exchange with Christie:

The early reaction is not good: