A top aide to Marco Rubio doubled-down on Rubio’s decision to stick with his scripted talking-points throughout the campaign.
“We don’t buy into that,” Rubio adviser Todd Harris when asked if Rubio would try to speak off-the-cuff in future debates.
Pressed by Breitbart News about Rubio’s strict memorization of his talking points, Harris defended the practice to Breitbart News while standing in the Spin Room after Saturday night’s Republican debate. “We have a message that he believes in and so he’s going to keep saying it over and over again,” Harris said, before being ushered away by a fellow Rubio staffer.
Spokespeople for other campaigns dinged Rubio for his reliance on memorization.
“Marco Rubio was the big loser tonight,” Maryland governor Larry Hogan, acting as a surrogate for Chris Christie, told Breitbart News. “He has these memorized answers and he can’t get off his talking points.”
“The media was prematurely trying to have a coronation for Marco Rubio just because he came in third in Iowa. Governor Christie wanted to test him and see if he was a real candidate and could handle the pressure. And he couldn’t,” Hogan said. “If he can’t stand up to Chris Christie how will he be able to stand up to Hillary Clinton?”
Jeb Bush campaign manager Danny Diaz told Breitbart News that Rubio probably had “pocket cards,” as opposed to flash cards, to memorize all of his talking points.
Former New Hampshire House speaker Bill O’Brien, representing Ted Cruz, spoke of Rubio’s “lack of mental agility” as exemplified by his returning to the same scripted answer four times during the debate.
O’Brien said that if Rubio can’t finish second in New Hampshire, his campaign is likely doomed, though Rubio could probably still move on to South Carolina so long as he finishes third in the Granite State.
Breitbart News first noticed Rubio’s adherence to pre-scripted talking points in Iowa, where this reporter watched him deliver the same exact speech three times in a row, stopping to correct himself if he started reciting one of his lines slightly differently than the way he’d memorized it.