Republican Presidential candidate Marco Rubio is not running away from the talking point he was widely criticized for repeating multiple times in the GOP debate Saturday. Rubio doubled down on Monday.
As snow flurries started falling outside the Barley House Tavern in Concord, N.H., a crowd carrying signs gathered in anticipation of a visit from Rubio. But if you looked closer, a few of the signs the O in Rubio had the distinctive striped design of Barack Obama’s campaign logo. That wasn't meant as a compliment. Ryan Miner said he came to New Hampshire from Maryland to support Rand Paul.
“But he dropped out and I am searching for a candidate," he said. "I just know the one that I don’t want.”
That's Rubio. Another Paul supporter, who didn’t want to share her name, walked around with her sign, mocking the first half of the phrase that Rubio repeated several times in the debate.
“Barack Obama knows exactly what he’s doing! Barack Obama knows exactly what he’s doing!” she repeated.
A Rubio supporter challenged her, saying Rubio is the best candidate to defeat Bernie Sanders.
“How could you hold up your sign?" he asked.
“Because Marco Rubio wants to fundamentally transform this nation,” she told him, echoing Rubio’s debate refrain about Obama. She said Rubio wants to the government to be able to spy on citizens without a warrant and that he voted for bills that violate civil liberties.
Inside, Rubio found a warmer reception.
In the final hours before the New Hampshire primary, Rubio sounded more like he’s running against Obama than against Clinton, Sanders, or any of his Republican rivals.
“After seven years of a president who’s been trying to fundamentally trying to change America and make us more like the rest of the world, a president who has deliberately changed the relationship of our government to our economy—the role of our government in our economy—who has deliberately undermined the constitution, who has deliberately cut America’s influence in the world, after seven years of that, this election, if we get it wrong, I don’t know if we can turn back,” Rubio said.
Rubio spoke about government getting out of the way to allow the private sector to create jobs. And he said his national security experience was greater than all the other Republican candidates combined.
“If anyone denies that Barack Obama’s trying to change America, look no further than what’s happening with our military," he said.
It won’t be long now before Rubio, and the rest of us, find out if his strategy of focusing his attacks on Obama pay off, as the New Hampshire primary results start coming in.