Marco Rubio’s campaign for the White House is doing the only thing it can after Saturday night’s debate: make the best of a bad situation. The candidate went on TV the next morning and said he was going to keep saying what he was saying over and over because it’s true, and if people make fun of him, it’s true.
The problem, of course, is that what he’s saying has been overridden by how he’s saying it, and the mockery, especially in this age of instant messages and Twitter, is what people will remember, along with the fact that the candidate set himself up for the attack again and again.
It also shows that Mr. Rubio is, at least in public, incapable of thinking fast on his feet. He got trapped in the corner, but instead of coming up with an alternative, he kept repeating the same thing over and over. Even a scripted alternative would have at at least saved him perhaps some embarrassment, but that didn’t happen, so we got the Lt. Data-like feedback loop. No one wants that in a president. Now he’s becoming a laughingstock and a punchline.
Mr. Rubio could recover from this. It would require him to recognize the mistake, make a self-deprecating joke or two — “At the risk of repeating myself” — and take the lumps in good humor. Digging in deeper only confirms that he’s not getting the message that a lot of people think he’s over-scripted, over-polished, and woefully over-rated.
By the way, his point that Barack Obama knew exactly what he was doing when he turned the economy around from the Bush disaster and recession, got unemployment down below 5%, got 15 million people health care, took out Osama bin Laden, and made peace with an enemy that could have nuked Tel Aviv may be campaign fodder for the base, but to the rest of us, it doesn’t exactly sound like a bad thing.