Why Republican candidates are attacking third-place Marco Rubio

WASHINGTON -- It might make little sense at first glance that precious resources are being deployed in the Republican presidential contest to pound the third-place candidate.

See Full Article

One rival is funding an air campaign, in the form of ads dropping bomblets on Marco Rubio's credibility. Another is smacking him with street-level insults.

The back-alley bruises are coming from the governor of New Jersey, who has been hitting Rubio with insults arguably worse than anything Canadians heard in the last election between the rival party leaders.

"Marco Rubio hasn't accomplished one thing in his career," Chris Christie told MSNBC on Thursday, bashing the young senator as a sheltered bubble boy.

"(All he does is) fix his hair, smile, and give the same speech he's given for the last six years... then he does a driveby 45-minute town hall meeting where he gives the same 60-second canned answers that he gives on the debate stage," he continued.

"Someone who has not done a thing in the United States Senate except skip votes because he says that his votes don't matter anymore -- I mean, why would I want to support that person?"

So why all this animus expended on an alleged lightweight who finished third in Iowa, and whom polls suggest might finish second and possibly third again in New Hampshire?

There may be a method to this mad pile-on.

The old saying about Iowa is that there are only three exits: First place, second, and third. The first two spots went to Sen. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, both detested by the prominent figures in their party.

That precious third spot was held by Rubio -- and it appears the cluster of establishment rivals trailing him -- Christie, Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich -- have decided that their only discernible path to victory involves pounding down Door No. 3.

A survey released Thursday described the prize. The Public Policy poll suggested Rubio would actually lead a three-way race involving Trump and Cruz, if everyone else dropped out.

His rivals aren't letting him take it. In fact, different campaigns have been chatting amongst themselves about their shared interest in taking down the first-term Florida senator, the New York Times reported Thursday.

Christie has been insulting his qualifications. He's also accused Rubio of being too uncompromisingly anti-abortion for a less-religious state like New Hampshire, where the race has shifted.

An old friend, meanwhile, is hammering Rubio not as an ideologue but as the opposite: a flip-flopping phoney.

A political-action committee supporting Bush, his old Florida ally, has taken out at least 218 advertising contracts worth hundreds of ads in the last few days, according to federal filings compiled by the website Political Ad Sleuth. Many are in New Hampshire, and many more are in the next-voting southern states.

If the group's website is any indication, Rubio is target No. 1.

Four of the last five ads about opponents on the Right to Rise committee's YouTube page target Rubio. One highlights his absentee rate in the Senate: "Doesn't show up for work, but wants a promotion."

In another ad, Rubio is a human weathervane: "Just another Washington politician you can't trust."

"Jeb Bush's Super PAC has basically spent $30 million -- a third of its money -- attacking me," Rubio told NBC before the Iowa vote.

"And yet we keep growing and we feel real positive about it."

Other Republicans, meanwhile, have grumbled in the press that Bush's rich friends have done worse than waste money -- that they're damaging the party's hottest young prospect, who represents the Republican party's future.

In a head-to-head matchup against Hillary Clinton, Rubio is the only Republican who's consistently polled ahead of the Democratic front-runner.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Quebec City mosque leadership takes stand at shooter's sentencing hearing

    Canada News CTV News
    QUEBEC -- The head of a Quebec City mosque where six worshippers were gunned down addressed the author of the rampage directly in court Thursday and pointedly asked him why he committed the crimes. "Why? Why?," said Boufeldja Benabdallah, his eyes trained on killer Alexandre Bissonnette as he testified at his sentencing arguments. Source
  • Dash cam video captured by Manitoba courier sparks concerns about crosswalk safety

    Canada News CTV News
    When a woman was having trouble crossing a busy intersection in Selkirk, Manitoba, Rick Ritchie’s dash cam was there to capture every second. The video shows the pedestrian waiting on the side of the road as cars continue to speed through the marked crosswalk. Source
  • Montreal couple hoping city lets them keep beloved pet pig named Babe

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL - A Montreal couple are hoping to be allowed to keep their beloved family pet -- a 27-kilogram pig named Babe. Mario Ramos and his wife received a notice from a city inspector giving them 15 days to find another place to put their animal or else face penalties. Source
  • P.E.I. vet operates on 50-gram hamster in smallest ever surgery

    Canada News CTV News
    NEW PERTH, P.E.I. - A veterinarian in Prince Edward Island successfully operated on her smallest patient ever earlier this week -- a 50-gram dwarf hamster named Mr. Nibbles. Mr. Nibbles injured his paw on his hamster wheel, and needed an amputation. Source
  • North Korea wants guarantee of security in return for 'complete denuclearization'

    World News CBC News
    Welcome to The National Today newsletter, which takes a closer look at what's happening around some of the day's most notable stories. Sign up here and it will be delivered directly to your inbox Monday to Friday. Source
  • Wine industry, business groups disappointed by Supreme Court's interprovincial beer ruling

    Canada News CBC News
    Business groups and free-market advocates are expressing disappointment with Thursday's ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada that dealt a blow to those who want to see interprovincial trade barriers knocked down. The top court's decision upheld a provincial restriction on how much alcohol people are allowed to bring across provincial borders. Source
  • Man accused of killing yoga teacher takes stand in own defence

    Canada News CTV News
    WARNING: This story contains details that some readers may find disturbing. HALIFAX - Nicholas Butcher has taken the stand in his own defence at his second-degree murder trial in the death of Halifax yoga instructor Kristin Johnston. Source
  • Supreme Court of Canada set to decide on international custody case

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Canada's top court is set to decide on Friday whether children who have lived in Canada for years should be forced to go back to Germany where their father lives. The case turns on such matters as how much say children should have when their parents' relationship sours, and what constitutes their "habitual residence. Source
  • Puerto Rico officials say 80% of customers have power after latest blackout

    World News CBC News
    Puerto Rico's power company said Thursday that it has restored electricity to more than 80 per cent of customers affected by an island-wide blackout that was caused by an excavator hitting a transmission line, but tens of thousands of families still remain without normal service seven months after hurricanes Maria and Irma. Source
  • Meet the 20-year-old who wants to interview as many WWII combat veterans as possible

    Canada News CTV News
    For the past year and a half, Rishi Sharma has been travelling across the U.S. The reason for the 20-year-old’s travels is not wanderlust, nor is it a thirst for adventure. The driving force behind Sharma’s journey is a desire to interview every Second World War combat veteran that he can before time runs out. Source