Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) acknowledged in an interview published Tuesday that he made some fatal missteps during his presidential campaign, including repeating the same line nearly verbatim during a New Hampshire debate—a performance that led to him being mocked as “robot” Rubio online.
“Did we make mistakes, or are there things we’d do differently? Yeah,” Rubio told The Guardian.
On the debate stage, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) skewered Rubio’s flustered, repeated criticism of President Barack Obama as an example of the Florida senator’s scripted and robotic style.
Rubio attributed his distant fifth-place finish in the Granite State’s primary three days later to widespread media attention on that debate moment.
“I don’t think it impacted voters, but I do think it impacted media coverage in the days leading up to the New Hampshire vote, which I think ultimately hurt us,” he said. “I think we would have finished very strongly in New Hampshire had it not been for that, and it might have led to a different outcome in South Carolina and maybe changed the trajectory of the race.”
The Florida senator dropped out of the race on March 16 after losing the primary in his home state to Trump.
Rubio told The Guardian that despite engaging in personal attacks with now- presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump over the size of Trump’s hands, he remained “proud” of his campaign. He also spoke to the difficulty of operating a campaign in an unprecedented election year.
“A lot of times it feels almost like the guy who built this really strong building contest, and it was in the right place, and it was the way these buildings have always been built, but he got hit by a category five hurricane,” Rubio told the publication.
“It’s not that we lost, it’s that Donald Trump won,” as he put it to the Guardian. “It was just a very unusual political year.”