Reviews for Marco Rubio's response speech
Marco Rubio "didn't embarrass himself," Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute said on public radio today, after observing, "It was really quite stunning how nervous he was."
Didn't embarass himself seems a pretty fair asessment of Rubio's performance responding to President Obama's State of the Union Address. Forget the water grasp that went viral and stipulate the the response speech is a thankless, tough job. Rubio did better than some predecessors (Bobby "Kenneth the page" Jindal for sure), but did not shine and live up to his reputation as a great communicator either in delivery or substance.
Here's a sampling of reviews - often, of course, colored by partisanship:
David Frum: "...Thus far, Rubio-ism is merely Ryanism with a human face. If Rubio is to be the party's "savior," as promised by TIME magazine, he needs to develop a new message to accompany his new tone."
Former Cheshire County, N.H. GOP Chair Juliana Bergeron (via Byron York): “I thought he did the best rebuttal I’ve seen....I was really with him on this speech,” Bergeron continued. “Tonight was the first night that I really thought that he is somebody I could support for president. There’s a lot of time, and I’m not committing to that, but this time I thought this person could be a contender for president.”
The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf : "...Maybe he's like the Beatles. we're just getting to know him, and he'll reveal unexpected depth with time. But I think he's like The Monkeys, if their television show had aired in the mid-1990s instead."
Conservative radio host Mark Levin: “The best response to a State of the Union I’ve ever seen.”
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough: "He did look kind of uncomfortable...My biggest problem was that it sounds like a speech that I gave in 1994 the first time I was running for congress. ... How many times have you heard this speech since 1994? I sat there thinking, 'Is this how we're going to reach out to a new generation of conservatives?' I don't think so. William F. Buckley believed that it was all about ideas, and that speech last night told me nothing that I have not heard a thousand times since 1994."
New York Times' Maureen Dowd: "...The ubiquitous 41-year-old — who’s on the cover of Time as “The Republican Savior” — looked as if he needed some saving himself Tuesday night as he delivered the party’s response to the State of the Union address in English (and Spanish). He seemed parched, shaky and sweaty, rubbing his face and at one point lunging off-camera to grab a bottle of water. He needed some of the swagger reflected on the Spotify playlist he recently released, featuring Tupac’s “Changes,” as well as Flo Rida, Pitbull, The Sugar Hill Gang, Kanye, Big Sean, devoted Obama supporters Jay-Z and Will.I.Am, and a Foster the People song about “a cowboy kid” who finds a gun in his dad’s closet and goes after “all the other kids with the pumped up kicks.”
Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin: "Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) did not disappoint tonight, showing a fresher face and more dynamic brand of conservatism –- presented by a fresher and more dynamic face. He appeared relaxed and jovial throughout, hardly the stereotype of the angry Republican. Standing in front of the window was a helpful framing — making him “fill up” the screen, if you will. As a TV communicator he did the best job of any State of the Union respondent I can recall. His delivery was briefly marred by grabbing for a swig of water, which depending on your view was either a “real moment” or a rookie error."
National Review's Jonah Goldberg: Rubio's playing a long game. Humanizing himself a bit now doesn't hurt him at all. He helped himself tonight. Base loved substance, too.
Political Wire's Taegan Goddard: "Rubio is generally a very, very good speaker. But that was not it."
The Nation's Katrina VandenHeuvel: "Does Rubio's speech seem, well, so 1956?"
Democratic strategist Paul Begala: "Who knew Dick Nixon's makeup artist was working for Rubio?"
NBC's First Read: "There is no doubt that Rubio is a GOP politician with a bright future and plenty of personal appeal. But it also seemed like Rubio was preaching to the Republican choir rather than broadening the party’s reach. It’s a speech that is being very well received among conservatives, but was it a persuasion speech?"
Laura Ingraham: "Wd have been cooler if he sipped a glass of scotch, lit up a Marlborough, then blew an "O" into the camera &said "u just saw our recovery."