After his widely criticized debate performance Saturday, Marco Rubio defended his performance on the stage and even suggested his approach had been a success, while the reaction from voters in New Hampshire has been mixed.
"I would pay them [Democrats] to keep running that clip because that's what I believe passionately," Rubio said Sunday, in an appearance on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." "We raised more money last night in the first hour that debate than any other debate," Rubio added. "As far as that message, I hope they keep running it and I'm going to keep saying because it's true."
Rubio stayed true to his word on the campaign trail, too. In three town halls and a Super Bowl watch party, he continued to explain that his message from the debate Saturday was deliberate and important, and he said he would not back off of repeating his attack line on Mr. Obama.
"And let's dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing," Rubio had said several times during Saturday's Republican debate. "He knows exactly what he's doing."
As confident as Rubio appeared Sunday morning, at his events some supporters found cause for concern.
Rick Brown, a software engineer from Londonderry, was a Rubio supporter but his stumble Saturday night has made him reconsider his vote on Tuesday.
"I'm disappointed in how he handled it....He's so immaculate, his presentations, how he's handled himself in these debates....He had to know that was coming," Brown said.
"I've liked this guy from day one. It felt almost like it could be a Howard Dean moment, it felt that bad to me." He added that Rubio "was actually awesome [the rest of the debate] but I don't think anyone's going to talk about that."
Steven Vivian, also from Londonderry, happened to miss the top of the debate because the power went out at his home as he sat down to watch. Missing the first twenty minutes (when Christie's attack on Rubio largely took place), Vivian had a much different reaction to Rubio's performance. After hearing him at a town hall today, Vivian said he was likely to vote for Rubio on Tuesday because "he's speaking from the heart. I like his values, I just like where he comes from."
Daniel McCarthy from Boston, Massachusetts, will vote on Mar. 1, but he had driven across the border to see Rubio in Hudson, New Hampshire. Asked about Rubio's performance, McCarthy said it didn't hurt him that much, and he wasn't concerned by it, quipping, "I voted for Romney last time, so obviously I don't mind robots."