A badly beaten Marco Rubio took the stage in New Hampshire on Tuesday, battling for fourth place against his former political mentor former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
“I’m disappointed with tonight, but I want you to understand something, our disappointment tonight is not on you, it’s on me,” Rubio said. “I did not do well on Saturday night.”
It was a rare admission of failure from the freshman senator, who insisted that they had a great debate after Governor Chris Christie knocked him off script.
As supporters in the audience disagreed with him, Rubio fired back.
“Listen to this: That will never happen again,” he said as supporters cheered.
Rubio came out of Iowa polling in second place in New Hampshire polls, but he quickly lost support after his bad debate performance.
With 73 percent of the vote in, Rubio is getting 10.5 percent of the vote, while Bush is earning 11.2. Bush and his Super PAC spent $36 million in New Hampshire, while Rubio’s campaign and Super PAC only spent $15.2 million in the state. Christie fell to fifth place, signaling to supporters that he would return to New Jersey before deciding whether or not to continue his campaign.
Rubio may not have to face Christie again if the New Jersey governor drops out before the debate next week in South Carolina.
Before Iowa, campaign sources signaled a 3,2,1 primary strategy, hoping to get third place in Iowa, second place in New Hampshire, and first place in South Carolina. But that strategy appears to have shattered — now being the 3,5,_ strategy, as his final placement in South Carolina is still unknown.
Rubio delivered a ten minute stump speech, pointing out that Democrats had to lose the upcoming election, warning voters for what was at stake. He also spoke at length about the economic hardships of his father when he first came to America.
Rubio signaled that there was still a long way to go, citing upcoming New England states in the northeast. But he also signaled his next move to South Carolina where he faces a tough fight against Bush.
“South Carolina, we are on the way!” he shouted, as he exited the stage with his family.