Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told ABC this morning that despite New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s criticism of his repetition on Saturday night’s debate stage, he wants his message to be played over and over again.
Christie argued in the New Hampshire face-off that “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.”
Rubio retorted “the bottom line” is that “this notion that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing is just not true. He knows exactly what he’s doing.”
“There it is. There it is. The memorized 25-second speech,” Christie declared. “There it is, everybody.”
“Well, that’s the reason why this campaign is so important. Because I think this notion — I think this is an important point. We have to understand what we’re going through here. We are not facing a president that doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows what he is doing. That’s why he’s done the things he’s done,” Rubio continued.
Christie and Rubio also tussled over the governor’s initial plan to stay on the campaign trail instead of heading home as Winter Storm Jonas targeted his state.
“He told everyone he wasn’t going to go back. They had to shame him into going back. And when he decided to go back, he criticized the young lady, saying, what am I supposed to do, go back with a mop and clean up the flooding?” Rubio said.
Christie’s quote in the storm aftermath: “I don’t know what you expect me to do. You want me to go down there with a mop?”
At the debate, the governor fired back, “It gets very unruly when he gets off his talking points.”
While Rubio was criticized by pundits over the exchange with the bulldogged Christie and the video was being circulated by Dems, the senator told ABC that he “would pay them to keep running that clip because that’s what I believe passionately.”
“Look, we raised more money last night in the first hour of that debate than any other debate. As far as that message, I hope they keep running it and I’m going to keep saying because it’s true. Barack Obama — yes, has he hired incompetent people to implement laws and run agencies? Absolutely,” Rubio said.
“But when it comes to the — what he’s trying to do to America, it’s part of a plan. He has said he wanted to change the country; he’s doing it in a way that is robbing us of everything that makes us special.”
Pressed again by host George Stephanopoulos on the redundancy — “That was not a good moment for you, was it?” he asked — Rubio stuck by his statements.
“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 why I am running. I — this is the greatest country in the history of mankind because of a certain set of principles. Barack Obama wants us to abandon those principles that he has spent seven years putting in place policies that rip them from us: undermining the Constitution, undermining free enterprise, undermining our standing in the world, weakening America, apologizing for us on the global stage,” Rubio said. “The reason why I’m running is if we elect someone like that for the next four years, I think it may be too late for American to turn around.”
The senator added that “no one on that stage has a better understanding or has shown better judgment on foreign policy than I have, period.”
“And I think I demonstrated that last night and I’ve demonstrated that throughout the campaign,” he said.
Christie told CNN this morning that he hoped the debate “showed people last night…I’m the person who’s best prepared to beat Hillary Clinton.”
“If Republicans want someone who can get on that stage and hold Hillary Clinton to task for the things that she’s done and the things she’s proposing, and they — and they’re trying to choose between me and Marco Rubio, I think last night showed what they should do,” Christie said. “…They need someone who’s tested. And I’ve been tested and Senator Rubio has not.”
The governor said “there could be a time where I go after Mr. Trump as well.”
“But, you know, those are decisions for me to make… I engage at a time of my choosing.”