Marco Rubio, flavor of the week amid Beltway bubbleheads paid obscenely to forecast wrongly the presidential race, got hammered, staggered and rolled by Chris Christie moments into Saturday night’s GOP New Hampshire debate.
God, we love the smell of napalm in the morning.
The Florida Senator came into the debate with momentum after finishing third in Iowa (and celebrating like he’d won the Super Bowl) but the New Jersey Governor is a big-time NFL fan, and the hit Mr. Beef put on pint-sized Marco resembled one of those loud and prodigious licks a free safety sometimes puts on an inattentive wide receiver in the first minute of the game to “send a message,” i.e. attempt to concuss, maim and break every bone in the guy’s body.
RoboMarco Christie did so by a) tying Rubio to Obama, portraying both as first-term Senate back-benchers who don’t know how to run anything but their mouths; b) closing his argument with the finger point of death and taunting Marco – “You have not been involved in a consequential decision where you had to be held accountable — you just simply haven’t”; c) most damaging of all, accurately and repeatedly noting that his rival constantly delivers nothing but “his 25-second memorized speech,” which Rubio, with unintended comedy, promptly confirmed by repeating his 25-second memorized speech four times, to a chorus of boos.
The moment, and the debate, was significant in large part because independents are the biggest single voter group in New Hampshire’s open primary, and many of them decide in the final 72 hours before the Tuesday election. Christie, along with Jeb Bush and John Kasich, has spent months catering to them, along with moderate Republicans, and is determined to stop Rubio from sweeping in to cash in all that labor. Not so fast, Cassius.
For those who, unbelievably, may have found something else to do on Saturday night besides watch the traditional pre-primary St. Anselm College debate, you can find a transcript here.
Five other takeaways:
Trump holds serve. Donald Trump did nothing to damage his front-runner status in the Granite State, beyond his usual collection of inanities, absurdities, circular reasoning, narcissism and lies. He hammered immigration and mostly avoided his bullyboy act, except one exchange when Jeb Bush bitch slapped him – finally! – and he tried to come back by telling Jeb! to shut up; he made one major blunder, which will be yuuuge if he, let us pray, wins the nomination, when he managed to write off whatever remnants of minority votes he might have with an extremist defense of police without even nodding to injustice against blacks and Latinos, in answer to a question about excessive force cases.
Govs all shine. Christie, who finally lost his stupid Jersey Shore spit curl haircut, had a very good night, although it’s possible his beat-down of Rubio just did the dirty work and opened the door for Ohio Governor Kasich and ex-Florida gov Bush, who both had very strong nights. Kasich was upbeat, optimistic and inclusive all night long, which may prove attractive to the aforementioned independents, if not the GOP base, and Bush finally gave a performance in which you could actually imagine him as Commander in Chief; with Rubio in the mix, the electoral calculus gets very complicated and the final four finishes behind Trump could be messy.
Good night for torture. At least three of the candidates spoke up on behalf of water-boarding. Trump said he would not only bring back the now-banned form of torture, “but a helluva lot worse,” while Rubio, wink-wink, said they shouldn’t really discuss interrogation methods in public and Cruz said he wouldn’t use “torture” but that water boarding didn’t really fit the definition.
Cruz can’t wait to head South. Now that we think about it, Cruz did seem to possess a lot of details about torture, and we wouldn’t be surprised if eventually he meets his end by asphyxiating himself while wearing rubber underwear in some hotel room. Also: we’ve covered a few of these New Hampshire deals and it just doesn’t seem like his grating televangelist voice or his oily fake sincerity will play.
Ben Carson’s still running, sources say. Gentle Ben had a moment when he gently chided Cruz for ripping off his votes on caucus night, but beyond that he again was a non-entity, surprise, surprise. At one point, after complaining about not getting to answer a question posed to others about North Korea’s latest nuke missile test, he directed everyone to his website to find his deep thoughts on that. Get off the electric computer machine, Maude – I need to get to bencarson.com, and pronto!
Our real-time tweets (in reverse order):
Cruz, in his close, makes the mistake of citing Iowa to voters in NH. Trump says Ted did well because he got Carson’s votes. Snark.
ABC failed to ask questions that delineate the candidates from one another, like Chuck and Rachel did with the Democrats. Too bad.
Rubio acknowledges that he would ban abortion in cases of rape or incest but he’d except to save the life of the mother
Christie’s attacks on Rubio and Marco’s shaky performance along with Cruz’s weak effort should help Trump hold his lead in NH
Trump’s extreme defense of police without even a nod to injustice against blacks and Latinos is a sure-fire way to lose any minority votes.
Marco found his water wings on foreign policy but he’s still under water
Trump not worried about running against potential first woman president, says he’d win handily. Carson calls Hillary deceitful.
Cruz tells story of his half-sister who died an addict but his only answer on drug addition is AA, churches and closing the Mexican border.
Trump would bring back water boarding. Sheesh. Cruz wants to carpet bomb Trump’s properties and maybe Marco’s house. And he’d torture a bit.
Trump on ISIS: Bomb the oil and take the oil. How does that work?
Rubio sounds stupid repeating his line that “Obama wants to change this country.” That was Obama’s slogan: Change You Can Believe In
Debate so far: Christie steamrolls Rubio; Bush bitch-slaps Trump
Jeb’s best exchange with Trump, who came off looking like a nasty brute
Trump gets booing in his exchange with Jeb over eminent domain — Jeb says Trump tried to take a little old lady’s property to park limos
Cruz goes after “socialized medicine” — a shot at Bernie and Trump at the same time — repeats he’d repeal every word of ACA
Christie is revealing that Marco is actually a weasel
Jeb suggests he would pre-emptively strike a N Korea nuke. Must be something in the Bush blood about pre-emptive warfare.
Trump disagrees with Marco Obama knows what he’s doing. Says he’s incompetent. Says China should be made to handle North Korea. Huh??
Christie has appointed himself THE guy to take down Rubio, whose constant repetition of talking points is now getting boos!
Christie says Marco hasn’t made a consequential decision for which he’s been accountable — his record is truancy, not leadership
(edited for typos)