I remember a few months ago watching Bret Baier interview Marco Rubio on Fox News and being impressed with how articulate he was. It represented a dramatic improvement from that time Rubio fumbled so badly in his role of providing the Republican response to President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union Speech. My thought was…”he’s been practicing.” And immediately it dawned on me that perhaps that was how he was spending all the time he took off from casting votes in the Senate.
The problem for Rubio is that rehearsed answers don’t always cut it. That’s what Erik Eisele noticed when the candidate sat down for an interview with staff from New Hampshire’s Conway Daily Sun.
In New Hampshire we’re lucky. We guard the frontline of presidential politics. Every four years the candidates come, wave after wave, to sit and discuss the issues, to interview for the job. It’s a democratic utopia, a dreamland for reporters, where the action is.
But it’s a weird place too. It’s a place where you interact on a human level with people more prepared to address a television camera. It’s like they train to address crowds from podiums and lose the ability to engage a room of a dozen.
That was Rubio. We had roughly 20 minutes with him on Monday, and in that time he talked about ISIS, the economy, his political record and his background. But it was like watching a computer algorithm designed to cover talking points. He said a lot, but at the same time said nothing. It was like someone wound him up, pointed him towards the doors and pushed play. If there was a human side to senator, a soul, it didn’t come across through.
Ouch!! That one hurt.
To be fair, I’m sure that Rubio has a soul. It’s just that he can’t afford for any of us “rubes” to see it and still expect to win the presidency. But if he were to win the nomination (a yuuuge “if” right now), the algorithm will break down at some point in the process and his soul will be on display for all to see. That’s what happened when Romney’s true self broke through and he shouted angrily that “corporations are people!” Or when, thinking he was behind closed doors with his buddies, he talked about the 47% of us who are losers that only want free stuff. Yep, that’s exactly the kind of thing that awaits Rubio if he gets the nomination.