Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Rubio sends supporters fundraising email, apologizing for 'dropping the ball', promises "that will never happen again."

Email after the jump ...

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It now seems clear that Marco Rubio, just days ago the consensus pick for Republican nominee, came in 5th place tonight in New Hampshire. If you average it with 3rd place in Iowa, it's 4th place combined. But that's really just putting a pretty face on it. Rubio did promise supporters tonight that he'd never screw up like that again. But it now seems clear that the foreshadowing of this debacle, the frustration, the broken dreams, the failed Turing Test could be seen this afternoon when Rubio's New Hampshire campaign chairman, Cliff Hurst, assaulted a protestor dressed as a robot at a Rubio event.

We tracked the robot down and talked to him about the harrowing incident. Here's our report, just filed by Katherine Krueger.

We don't want another Ben Carson type confusion. But Chris Christie - coming in 6th behind Marco Rubio's 5th place finish - says he's heading back to New Jersey rather than going on to South Carolina - to 'take a deep breath' and take stock of his presidential bid.

So presumably he's dropping out.

But it is almost like a moment of concluded destiny or something biblical. The job for which he was sent to earth - or at least sent to run in the 2016 GOP presidential primaries - is done: gutting Marco Rubio and in all likelihood ending the parched Floridian's run for President. So Christie is now being called home. Not to heaven. But to New Jersey.

Rubio comes clean: "I can tell you I know many people are disappointed. I'm disappointed with tonight. But I want you to understand something. I want you to understand something. Our disappointment tonight is not on you. It's on me. It's on me. I did not -- I did not do well on Saturday night. So listen to this: that will never happen again."

Me. Me. Me.

This is the perfect Trump speech. My family is awesome. I'm awesome. My campaign is awesome. It's awesome. Me. Me. Me. And then the key transition. I will make us winners again. Because I know. Because I'm a winner. Don't be a loser. I'm a winner. People won't laugh at us anymore. We'll stop losing.

There's almost a vicarious, soteriological aspect to it. Elect me and you can participate in my awesomeness.

I cannot imagine that the national Democratic Party will nominate Bernie Sanders. But Hillary Clinton has her work cut out for her. Listening to Hillary, her message seems to be "I'll fix everything. Whatever you come up with, I'll fix it." Working on everything is a decent brief for a President focused on domestic policy. But it's not a terribly coherent message. And Sanders is nothing but coherence.

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Rubio now possibly making a move from 5th to 4th place. Only 1.2% separating Rubes (10.4%) from Cruz (11.6%).

One thing to note about this result is that Donald Trump got more than a win here. He got almost the best overall result he could possibly have hoped for. Second place is taken by someone who will have a very, very hard time getting traction in more conservative GOP electorates - Kasich. The race to be the anti-Trump is totally muddled and uncertain. There's a decent chance that Rubio will come in fifth after an embarrassing debate goof. I won't say his campaign is over. But this is a major, major setback that I personally doubt he can recover from. The debate goof was a thing in itself. This shows he paid a big price politically. That makes it much worse in terms of how potential supporters evaluate his strengths as a candidate.

Donald Trump needs a big field to dominate with 30% to 35%. He'll have it for a while to come. Everybody down to maybe even Christie can look at this result and say, 'Why should I get out?' Kasich isn't going to be the nominee. And there's a big anti-Trump constituency out there. So maybe it could be me? Why not? The simple truth is that Trump clobbered everyone pretty much equally. So why should anyone drop out?

Another video of the moment when Chris Christie maybe ended Marco Rubio's campaign. After the jump ...

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