- The Washington Times - Monday, February 8, 2016

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who repeated similar lines about President Obama during Saturday’s GOP debate as he was being criticized for appearing overly scripted, said Monday he feels great about the debate and that the message is a central part of his 2016 presidential campaign theme.

“It was the biggest fundraising night we’ve had in all of the debates, so I feel great about it and we’re going to continue to say the truth: Barack Obama is systematically trying to carry out an effort to change this country and that’s why this election is so important,” Mr. Rubio said on “CBS This Morning.” “We need to stop that from continuing.”

Mr. Rubio ticked off a list of his own accomplishments, including new sanctions on Hezbollah and bringing accountability to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“But the core of this campaign is that statement and I am going to continue to say it: Barack Obama is deliberately carrying out a strategy to change America,” Mr. Rubio said. “He wants to redefine this country. It is one of the main reasons why I’m running, and it’s one of the reasons why I feel so good about our debate performance despite whatever the media people want to say.”

Mr. Rubio said Mr. Obama now has seven years of presidential experience and that he’s as bad today as he was in his first year.

“The issue is that he is carrying out an effort to change the country, to make it more like the rest of the world,” he said. “Obamacare was not an accident. Dodd-Frank was not an accident. The deal with Iran was not an accident. Now, they may have been incompetent in how they manage[d] government on a daily basis, but in terms of the policies they’re pursuing, these are intentional strategies to redefine the role of our government and our country and the role of America in the world.”

“That’s…one of the main reasons why I’m running for president, because I believe if we continue on that road, it’s going to deny our children the opportunity to live in the greatest country in the history of the world, so that’s the core of our campaign,” he said. “I look forward to continuing to say it. I hope they keep replaying those lines.”

At Saturday’s GOP debate in New Hampshire, Mr. Rubio had come under heavy fire from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for being overly scripted, and repeated similar lines about Mr. Obama’s intentions.

Businessman Donald Trump, who is leading in the polls on New Hampshire, said Monday he thought he might have been hearing things Saturday.

“I was standing next to him - it was an amazing thing,” Mr. Trump said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I have a good memory, and I’m listening and I [heard] him make the statement. And that was fine. And then he made it a second time, and that was sort of fine, you know, that was okay.”

“But then he made it a third time, a fourth time, and a fifth time, and I’m saying, am I hearing things? What’s going on over here?” he said.

“I like Marco, but Marco has a tendency to sweat,” Mr. Trump said. “Perhaps at a record-setting level. And I was watching him making statements five times and he was really hot. He was sweating.”

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