Manu Raju reports for CNN Politics:
Call him the anti-Trump.
Marco Rubio is running a presidential campaign marked by precision, caution and discipline — so much so that the Florida senator delivers the exact same speech, jokes, quips and one-liners wherever he goes.
When he addresses the media, his aides select the reporters who can ask questions, often shutting down follow-ups. During media interviews and presidential debates, Rubio is quick to fall back on the same script that he often delivers before GOP audiences in New Hampshire and Iowa.
His campaign makes sure every room is packed. Lately, that’s because an overflow audience is interested in hearing from the surging candidate. But other times his aides have cut the room in half with drapes, ensuring it’s a standing-room-only crowd.
If Trump is the kind of candidate who will say and do virtually everything that’s on his mind at that moment, Rubio is the complete opposite: He rarely deviates.
To some, it’s the kind of thing that makes them eager to back Rubio: He’s unlikely to make a mistake that could change the trajectory of the presidential race and cause problems down the ticket. And he’s hardly the lone candidate in the field who stays relentlessly on message (See Ted Cruz).
Yet, to rivals, it’s exactly why the GOP shouldn’t nominate him: They say it shows a rehearsed candidate who will crumble in a general election at a time when voters are looking for authenticity.
“His 60-second memorized speeches all of which we’ve heard over and over and over again are getting stale and tired,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Wednesday on Fox News. “Sen. Rubio needs to come up with some new material and needs to start answering questions. The boy needs to come out of the bubble.”
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