Marcos Rubio's ascent as the establishment Republican candidate for president may have crashed and burned Saturday night after his over-reliance on a single talking point regarding President Obama led viewers and commentators to conclude he came off like glitchy preprogrammed robot.
Rubio's insistance on repeating "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," multiple times during the evening led to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie openly mocking him during the debate.
This is not the first time it has been noted that Rubio's responses to questions seems preprogrammed.
In 2011, Jonathan Chait wrote a column entitled "Is Marco Rubio Secretly A Robot?"
"Do you get the feeling that 'Marco Rubio' is not an actual human being at all but some kind of computer program designed by the Republican Party? Imagine they had the technical know-how to create a candidate like this. What would they come up with? They'd come up with Marco Rubio, a cinematically handsome Latino from Florida who hews to the Tea Party line while spitting out patriotic cliches that sound as if they were programmed like a computer," he wrote before stating, "I'm not saying I'm sure Rubio is a robot. I'm just saying that I want to watch him walk through a metal detector."
As for Saturday night's performance, Twitter users joined ranks in attacking Rubio as being a tightly-scripted talking points machine.
I've watched Rubio for a long time, always thought that critique of him as a talking-points robot was way overblown. But oh dear.— Ross Douthat (@Ross Douthat) 1454809039.0
#GOPDebate Kasich: I'm here Christie: I'm proud Bush: I'm Reaganish Carson: I'm ... Rubio: I'm a 🤖 Cruz: I'm trusted Trump: I'm winning— Matthew T. Hall 😷🙏 (@Matthew T. Hall 😷🙏) 1454817037.0
After last debate I said Rubio talks like a robot. After tonight, it may be because he is a robot - though a poorly programmed one— Taegan Goddard (@Taegan Goddard) 1454818848.0
Robot Rubio repeats same line four times, even after being mocked https://t.co/H5mbgmNj8x https://t.co/cHddOy5Cuu— Boing Boing (@Boing Boing) 1454824066.0
I like Rubio but his coaches need to get him off this same speech robot thing— Jared C. Wilson (@Jared C. Wilson) 1454808792.0
I don't like Christie, but him flat-out calling Rubio a robot to his face is a highlight of this cycle for me.— Mark Harris (@Mark Harris) 1454808828.0
Triply strange about Rubio tonight is that he's been looser, less programmed, DEFT on the trail over recent days. So why the robot now?— Frank Bruni (@Frank Bruni) 1454812093.0
Rubio is a conservative, but fortunately the Three Laws of Robotics will keep him from harming us all.— Sr. WH Official(fmr) (@Sr. WH Official(fmr)) 1454818659.0