Marco Rubio's Closing Statement Aggressively Attacked One Big Target

All eyes were on front-runners Ted Cruz and Donald Trump during the sixth Republican debate, but the stakes may have been highest for Marco Rubio. Despite being the putative favorite of the GOP establishment, he’s running in a distant third, both nationally and in Iowa. Rubio simply hasn’t been able to break through into the top tier of candidates. He was clearly trying to change that tonight, and Rubio’s closing statements at the debate amounted to one of the most aggressive attacks he's made thus far. His target? Democrats.

It was apparent from the beginning of the debate that Rubio was trying something new this time. While he’s always been a fairly good debater, Rubio was noticeably more animated, and even occasionally angry, this time around. He had more pep in his step, so to speak. While this is pure speculation, that suggests the possibility that Rubio and his campaign feel that he’s been held back by a lack of energy. Rubio, of course, isn’t the most lethargic candidate running for the Republican nomination — that would be Dr. Ben Carson — but it’s true that hasn’t been quite as aggressive and spirited as many of the people he’s shared the stage with.

Rubio turned out a far more energetic performance this time than in any other debate, and his closing statements reflected that newfound energy. Here’s what Rubio said:

You know, 200 years ago, America was founded on this powerful principle that our rights don't come from government. Our rights come from God. That’s why we embraced free enterprise, and it made us the most prosperous people in the history of the world. That’s why we embraced individual liberty, and we became the freest people ever, and the result was the American Miracle. But now, as I travel the country, people say what I feel: This country is changing. It feels different. We feel like we’re being left behind, and left out.
And the reason is simple: Because in 2008, we elected as president someone who wasn’t interested in fixing America. We elected someone as president who wants to change America, who wants to make it more like the rest of the world. And so he undermines the Constitution, and he undermines free enterprise by expanding government, and he betrays our allies and cuts deals with our enemies and guts our military, and that’s why 2016 is the turning point in our history.
If we elect Hillary Clinton, the next four years will be worse than the last eight, and our children will be the first Americans ever to inherit a diminished country. But if we elect the right person — if you elect me — we will turn this country around, we will reclaim the American dream, and this nation will be stronger, and greater, than it has ever been.

Focusing his ire on Democrats was an odd decision for Rubio. When you're the front-runner in a primary, it's common to start attacking the other party in preparation for the general election. However, Rubio isn't the front-runner in this race. He's banking on anger towards Democrats fueling him through the primary, but that's what he's done in every debate. So far, the only thing it's got him is third place in the polls.