Nashua, N.H. — In one of his final pitches to New Hampshire voters, Sen. Marco Rubio called for the GOP to avoid nominating a candidate who is not devoted to reversing the policies put into place by President Obama's administration.
Rubio, who was still trying to put Saturday's debate behind him, lumped Republicans without that commitment in with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, saying the future of the the U.S. is in jeopardy if any of the above are elected.
"If we elect Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders or, for that matter, a Republican not truly committed to undoing his damage, then this won't remain the greatest country in the world," Rubio told the crowd at Nashua County Community College.
The remark came only two days after Rubio's much-maligned debate performance, during which he repeated the same phrase multiple times during a back-and-forth between himself and Chris Christie. Rubio supporters, however, are not wavering after Rubio's debate outing and believe it's nothing more than a shooting star and that he will largely will be unaffected.
"I've seen him so often and I know who he really is. It's a blip on the radar screen," Doug Thomas, a state representative backing Rubio. "I think it could hit ... the people who are just tuning in and haven't seen him at all — and if that's the first time they saw him, it might hurt those people. But if you really listened to him tonight, you would hear his sincerity and his compassion for this country.
"I think he carries the American message the best. I have seen all of the candidates at least two times ... He's inspirational," said Doug Thomas, a state representative from Londonderry backing Rubio. "We need someone that's inspirational now."
Earlier in the day, Christie kept up his whacks against his newly-found target. At a town hall in Hudson, Christie asked the crowd if they wanted someone repetitive like Rubio was during the debate confronting Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"I think he stumbled a little bit on Saturday night and I want to see how he addresses that," said Rick Rutter, 55, from Nashua. "For me, it's two things: I appreciate his nuanced response to abortion in the debate ... That's probably the one thing that separates him a little bit from [Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina]."
"I've been at the same place for two months," Rutter said when asked if the debate impacted him. "Nothing changed."
The Florida senator is slated to hold a primary night party in Manchester tomorrow night as he continues to jockey for position with Cruz, Christie, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. According to the latest RealClearPolitics polling average, Rubio currently sits second in the state with 14.4 percent support, more than one percentage point over Kasich.