- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 7, 2016

Chris Christie said Sunday that Marco Rubio’s performance at the Republican presidential candidates debate on Saturday demonstrated just how unprepared the Florida senator is to be president, and that he expects to take over as the candidate most viable to capture the nomination.

“I think [the debate] revealed something about what you need to be president of the United States,” Mr. Christie said on “Fox News Sunday.” “You have to be tested. You have to be prepared. You have to be experienced. You have to be ready.”

“And quite frankly, that’s what I tried to show the folks last night that I am tested and prepared and ready,” the New Jersey governor said. “What I’ve been saying about Senator Rubio was on full display last night. He’s just simply not ready. He’s a good guy, but he’s not ready to be president of the United States.”

During Saturday’s debate, Mr. Christie attacked Mr. Rubio for reciting little more than a prepared speech with some polished talking points and little substance.

Mr. Rubio was on the hot seat to prove that, despite his short political career and lack of major accomplishments in the Senate, he has what it takes to be president. He said multiple times that President Obama had the same amount of experience when took office and has proven to be effective in pushing a liberal agenda.

He reasoned that it is ideology, not experience, that makes an effective commander in chief.

Mr. Christie called out Mr. Rubio many times, asking the audience to watch for a “memorized 25-second speech.” Mr. Rubio delivered, repeating the same speech about Mr. Obama almost word for word — a chance Mr. Christie jumped at to point out to the audience: “There it is. There it is, everybody.”

On Sunday, Mr. Christie pointed to the rehearsed speech as a sign that Mr. Rubio is unfit to take the nation’s highest office.

“All week, the media is trying to make that we coalesce around Marco Rubio. After you saw that performance last night, do you think they should be coalescing around Marco Rubio?” he said. “Do you think that’s the kind of performance, that’s the kind of leadership that we want to see on the stage against [Democratic candidate] Hillary Clinton?”

He said that the “march for Marco Rubio” would come to an end and that he is courting votes from disaffected Rubio supporters on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“I think the whole race changed last night,” Mr. Christie said. “There is a march amongst some of the chattering classes to anoint Rubio. But I think there could be four or five tickets out of New Hampshire. Senator Rubio proved he can’t do that, and let’s go to the next phase. I’m ready to go.”

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