When I went to sleep last night, I was in a foul temper, and I hoped that I would wake in the morning with less of it. This was a vain hope. I am sitting with Craig in his living room surveying the damage from Marco Rubio's performance last night, and it isn't pretty.
There were three really horrible things about his exchange with Christie. First, was the substance. What he said was absolutely correct. Barack Obama's actions as President are not born of his "inexperience"--they are born of his irresponsible desire to remake America. But the way he put it was too subtle, too nuanced, to unclear. The second thing wrong with it was the repetition, as if repeating the same damn thing multiple times was going to clear it up. Finally--the repetition completely and utterly confirmed the charge that was being made against him in the first place, that he repeated talking points.
Such a missed opportunity. Rubio could have made his point more clearly. Then, he could have said, "Chris, how many times are we going to hear about you being a prosecutor? How many times are we going to hear your 9-11 tale? How many times are we going to hear your theory of Governors vs. Senators? Your entire line of attack here is a repetition of what you've been saying all week on the campaign trail--surprise, surprise, politicians repeat important messages."
So, I'm calling an audible today. I'm going to spend the day reading reaction and watching how Marco Rubio handles all of this. It is indisputable that he got his act together on the stage last night--his performance in the final 2/3 of the debate was up to his usual standards. But today, I need to see him under pressure--how he reacts to a setback. This is his Romney tax return 2012 moment--his Obama 2008 guns and clingers moment--I need to see how his campaign find a way to communicate their reaction.
Here is what I want to hear: "It clearly wasn't my finest moment. Chris is a skilled prosecutor--and someone I'd love to see as Attorney General. I knew the attack was coming and I simply overthought it. But the essential truth of what I was trying to say remains the same---our country is in the shape it is not because Barack Obama was inexperienced, but because he was successful in getting terrible policies passed in Congress and when he couldn't, through his unconstitutional use of Presidential Power. I hope the good people of New Hampshire will look past a regrettably human moment."
We'll see how it goes.