Marco Rubio’s star power seemed to have cooled the past few weeks as other Republicans stole the spotlight, particularly Donald Trump, who has been dominating headlines with this controversial comments since he announced in June he was running for president.
But now he seems to have gotten his groove back.
The Florida senator is getting high marks for his performance at Thursday night’s debate. There were testy back-and-forth exchanges between candidates, but Rubio mostly stuck to his scripts and kept his message personal and impassionate. The general consensus is that the Cuban-American was among the winners of a debate in which the number of candidates made it difficult for an individual to stand out.
The Associated Press called Rubio’s performance “energetic and confident.”
“Most importantly for Rubio, he looked the part of a president,” the Washington Post declared.
The New York Times said, “Mr. Rubio…has a good a case to be considered the debate’s top performer.”
One of Rubio’s most standout moments was his one-liner attack on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
“If I'm our nominee, how is Hillary Clinton gonna lecture me about living paycheck to paycheck? I was raised paycheck to paycheck,” said the son of a bartender and a housekeeper. “How is she gonna lecture me about student loans? I owed over $100,000 just four years ago.”
Rubio earned some of the loudest applause of the night when he offered up one of his well-used zingers to mock Clinton.
"Well, first let me say, I think God has blessed us. He's blessed the Republican Party with some very good candidates," he said. "The Democrats can't even find one."
After an incendiary answer from Donald Trump about his widely condemned comments about immigrants from Mexico, Rubio displayed his command of the issue by telling the crowed at Quicken Loans Arena that immigrants who live in the U.S. illegally are from Central American nations such as Guatemala and El Salvador, and are overstaying their legally obtained visas — as opposed to sneaking over the border.
“People are frustrated,” Rubio said. "This is the most generous country in the world when it comes to immigration. We feel like despite our generosity, we're being taken advantage of.”
An authoritative Florida Sen. Marco Rubio also distinguished himself by highlighting his foreign policy bona fides and moving personal story.
“These things come and go,” Rubio said on Fox & Friends on Friday about the positive post-debate response he has been receiving. “The bottom line is that day after polls and this early debate is not going to decide the election this is a long process there will be good days and bad days for every candidate.”