This alone made it another good night for Marco, and if shockingly idiotic applause lines like "The Democrats have the ultimate Super PAC: it’s called the mainstream media" are your cup of tea...it might have even been great. But lurking underneath the pre-planned responses and crowd-pleasing one-liners, Rubio's major flaw again showed through: He can't think well on his feet.
We saw this most starkly with his unbelievably bad non-answer on Iraq earlier this year (get those attack ads ready, Clinton campaign!) and we saw it here when tried to defend his tax plan to John Harwood. Rubio didn't dispute that it would benefit the middle class the least...instead he gave us all a math lesson worthy of Jeb's smarter brother circa 2000.
"The math is: 5% of a million is a lot more than 5% of a thousand."
Of course, Dubya would have followed up that line with a classic "heh heh" and that shiteating grin of his. But otherwise it's the same stupidity.
Rubio's presentation at these events isn't nearly as confident as candidates like Cruz or Christie. It feels as though he's simultaneously very polished but also on the verge of a nervous flop-sweat disaster should anything go wrong. The 2013 State of the Union water bottle fiasco made clear that such a thing is a very real risk, and he knows it.
Another thing: Lying in a Republican debate and fending off a lame candidate like Jeb is one thing, but telling astonishing, easily verifiable lies over and over again about Benghazi to a good journalist the next morning is another.
Can you believe this guy?
Someday he might have to square off against a candidate far tougher than Jeb Bush or anyone else on that stage last night. And if so...there will be sweat.