News coverage was merciless. The New Hampshire Union Leader said that he had been “rocked” by Mr. Christie. “Choke!” blared the front page of The Boston Herald, which is widely read in southern New Hampshire.
A WMUR focus group after the debate revealed that voters were unimpressed. And an operative for the Democratic research group American Bridge, Eddie Vale, greeted reporters outside Mr. Rubio’s morning appearance dressed as a robot, with a colander on his head and a large cardboard box over his torso labeled “Rubio Talk Point 3000.”