Sen. Marco Rubio defiantly defended his Saturday night debate performance during a Sunday morning interview on ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos.
His pushback came as opponents ridiculed him for repeating his talking points during the Saturday debate with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and the other GOP candidates.
“I would pay them to keep running that [debate] clip because that’s what I believe passionately,” he said during an interview on ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos. “It’s one of the reasons why I’m not running for reelection to the Senate and I’m running for president.”
On Saturday, as his rivals accused him of being inexperienced like President Barack Obama, Rubio repeated four times his message that the president knew what he was doing when he was leading the country astray.
Both Hillary Clinton’s “Correct the Record” support group, and the campaign teams of his rival Republican campaigns, clipped Rubio’s repeated lines and shared videos of his performance before the debate was over.
But on Sunday, Rubio also went on to repeat some of his talking points about Obama before Stephanopoulos interrupted to remind him that he was repeating himself.
A “Rubio Glitch” Twitter account was created by a rival campaign last night, highlighting his repeated responses.
In response, Rubio argued that he got more online donations than any other debate – particularly after Christie attacked him. “We raised more money last night in the first hour that debate than any other debate,” he told Stephanopoulos.
His campaign last night was more vocal in an email to supporters. “They failed” read the subject line of an email to supporters from Rubio campaign manager Terry Sullivan. In all caps, Sullivan responded to the mockery after Rubio repeated himself. “YES, HE STUCK TO HIS GUNS ON WHY OBAMA HAS BEEN AN AWFUL PRESIDENT!!!” he wrote above a $15 donate button in the email.
Speaking in the spin room last night, Rubio communications director Alex Conant shared a similar message, arguing that the governors in the race had tried and failed to knock the freshman senator off the trail. “Look, the governors, including Chris Christie, they are on the ropes,” he said. “If they don’t have a huge performance on Tuesday night they will probably have to exit this race,” he said.
American Bridge, the Democratic Super Pac trolling Republicans, placed supporters wearing Marco Rubio robots to troll the Freshman senator at one of his campaign events in New Hampshire this morning.
— Evan Halper (@evanhalper) February 7, 2016
But Rubio pushed forward to highlight his better moments in the debate, speaking about foreign policy and pro life issues. “No one on that stage has a better understanding or has shown better judgment on foreign policy than I have, period,” he said. “And I think I demonstrated that last night and I’ve demonstrated that throughout the campaign.”
He explained that he was willing to sign an abortion ban with exceptions for rape and incest because he believed that some restrictions were better than none. “As I’ve said, if they pass a law in Congress that has exceptions, I’ll sign it because I want to save lives,” he said.