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AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
Command, shift: Sadness.
ONCE MORE WITH FEELING

Marco “Robo” Rubio can’t stop/won’t stop repeating his line about Obama

By Jake Flanagin

Marco Rubio was widely mocked following his performance at the ABC News-hosted Republican debate on Saturday, Feb. 6. With a series of similarly worded appeals, the Florida senator time and again called on party members to rid themselves of the notion that president Barack Obama is incompetent:

“Let’s dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing. Barack Obama is undertaking an effort to change this country, to make America more like the rest of the world.”

“Let’s dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing. He is trying to change this country.”

“Here’s the bottom line. This notion that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing is just not true. He knows exactly what he’s doing.”

“Anyone who believes that Barack Obama isn’t doing what he’s doing on purpose doesn’t understand what we’re dealing with here, okay?”

Rubio’s rivals and other Republicans in New Hampshire called the display “cringeworthy,” describing Rubio as “badly programmed and robotic,” “so rehearsed he comes off as inauthentic,” and “exposed at last for the wind-up doll he is,” according to Politico.

Maybe it’s just damage control, or perhaps Rubio doesn’t realize how jarring it is to hear that canned line over and over again, but he is vowing to keep repeating the line.

“Last night in the debate, they said, ‘Oh, you said the same things three or four times?’ I’m gonna say it again,” he said at a town hall event in Londonderry, New Hampshire, on Sunday (Feb. 7). Speaking to ABC News, he added, “It’s what I’m going to continue to say because it happens to be one of the main reasons why I am running.”

Why is it so important for Rubio to harp on about Obama’s intent to knowingly change America for the worse—a claim that sounds almost as strange upon the fifth or 10th or 20th hearing as it does the first time?

The answer points to one of Marco Rubio’s biggest vulnerability—his youth and relative inexperience, which recall none other than the one-time presidential candidate Barack Obama. And the claim that Rubio is a “Republican Obama” who has been anointed as leader is doubly in toxic in an election year in which Republican party has been driven nearly insane by the Obama presidency, and many are actively backing outsiders.

Essentially, Rubio needs Republican voters to think Obama is competent so they will think Rubio is competent.

“We’ve watched it happen, everybody, for the last seven years,” said Chris Christie, Rubio’s ruthless tormentor, in the debate on Saturday. “The people of New Hampshire are smart. Do not make the same mistake again.”

So is Obama a bumbling incompetent unwittingly steering the country toward destruction, or an evil genius hellbent on its destruction? Rubio, once in the former camp, is now determined to robotically argue the latter.