Diary

Substantively, Rubio won the NH debate

Stephanopolous was positively giddy when discussing Rubio’s exchange with Christie, where Rubio repeated his point — that Obama was systematically destroying this country — several times for theatrical effect.

A few thoughts on this:

* Rubio’s point on Obama was spot on, and when NH voters think about this more, they will agree more with Rubio than Christie.

* Rubio could have given a much better defense of his record which is substantive both as Florida Majority Speaker and as a Senator.  Don’t know why he didn’t mention Obamacare’s risk corridors and claim credit for subverting Obamacare.

* I didn’t like his jab of Christie not going back to NJ and thought that would be the talking point, instead of this repetitive nonsense.

* Politicians repeat themselves all the time, to get ideas and phrases burned into voters’ minds.  E.g., Trump’s “we never win” or Cruz’s “carpetbomb ISIS”.

* Rubio hit it out of the park on most of the other questions when it came to ISIS or the VA or the abortion question.  In particular, I think Rubio’s abortion response will endear discerning conservatives to Rubio even more (and raise doubts about Bush and Christie on this position).

* The Dems are giddy right now because they know that Rubio is +7 vs Hillary nationally (much higher than any other R candidate), and they think this took Rubio down many notches.  It might have lowered expectations for Rubio for NH, but that actually could be a blessing in disguise.  I think if the average conservative NH voter listened to the entire debate, they would have rated that particular exchange as the least substantive and least important one by far.