Senator Ted Cruz may have dropped the best opening line in calling out the moderators last night, but Senator Marco Rubio arguably gave the most solid performance. Rubio had a lot of good applause lines last night, but here are three of the best:
3). On Medicare: “I’m against anything that’s bad for my mother.”
The moderators at CNBC wasted no time trying to paint the Republican candidates as unreliable champions of social security, spending a good portion of the debate highlighting the cuts that would have to be made to reform the program and asking repeatedly whether it was moral to break a social compact. Rubio stopped those arguments cold by pointing out that the GOP wasn’t talking about cuts for current beneficiaries, but rather were referring to people like Rubio and Cruz who would have more time to adjust to the changes. To underscore how serious he was about this, Rubio invoked his mother as the ultimate assurance that current benefits wouldn’t be touched:
2.) Crushes Jeb Bush’s fake concern about his absences
This will likely be remembered as the moment when Marco Rubio officially stepped out of Jeb Bush’s shadow. Bush went for what seemed like an easy target by pointing out that Rubio has missed more votes since he started running for president, but Rubio was ready with a comeback of his own. I especially liked his closer, where he accused Bush of bringing it up “because we’re running for the same position, and someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you”:
1.) The Democrats have the ultimate Super PAC, and it’s called the Mainstream Media
This was Rubio’s best response of the night, without a doubt. He called out the media, destroyed the myth that Hillary Clinton’s House panel hearing was good for her campaign, and won some major goodwill from the base, all in less than a minute. ‘Nuff said:
Nick Arnold is a researcher for the American Principles Project.