Marco Rubio's relative lack of campaigning in early states like New Hampshire has been getting increasing attention in the national press — a Washington Post article this week asked whether he'd "work hard enough to become president."
Yet when he did try to win over one local New Hampshire newspaper's endorsement in a short meeting this week, he didn't have much success. Here's Conway Daily Sun reporter Erik Eisele's pretty brutal descriptionof how a meeting with Rubio went:
"We had roughly 20 minutes with him [Rubio] on Monday, and in that time, he talked about ISIS, the economy, his political record and his background. But it was like watching a computer algorithm designed to cover talking points. He said a lot but at the same time said nothing. It was like someone wound him up, pointed him toward the doors and pushed "play." If there was a human side to the senator, a soul, it didn't come across."
This is something national political reporters who've followed Rubio have long observed. When you see him deliver a speech, he's great — charismatic, fluid, winning. But he's much better at hitting a previously prepared set of points than he is at striking a more conversational, informal tone. The town hall setting isn't the greatest for him.
Other candidates, like Chris Christie, are better at working over small groups and sounding more unscripted. Perhaps that's part of why Christie — who's on the rise in recent New Hampshire polls — won the New Hampshire Union Leader's endorsement earlier this month.