Marco Rubio was roundly criticized by insiders for his debate performance Saturday night, but he was back on the New Hampshire campaign trail Sunday trying to regain some momentum.
"This is the first primary in the country that's going to get to answer the question, 'What happens next to America,'" Rubio said.
It was game on for Rubio on Super Bowl Sunday. At a Watch party for the game, he wasted no time acknowledging Saturday night's debate and the searing criticism.
"People think it's a bad thing. I'm going to keep saying it over and over again, Barack Obama is trying to change America," he said.
The Florida senator, who was repeatedly attacked by Chris Christie at the debate, seemed rattled, repeating the same stump speech multiple times after a barrage of hits from the New Jersey governor.
Rubio is placing second in the latest New Hampshire polls. Whether the verbal assault and debate performance hurt his chances will become clearer on Tuesday.
"He stayed on message," said one supporter, Cathy Wienzek of Manchester.
Loyal supporters stood by the candidate.
"I thought the other people went after him because they're scared of him," said Erin Magee of Nashua.
"You're not marrying the guy," said Elizabeth Johnson, who decided Sunday to vote for Rubio. "There's no perfect candidate. You just got to know in your gut what your one or two deal-breakers are, and he doesn't have them.”
For Ann Cea, neither the debate nor the senator's speech Sunday night moved her.
"Right now I'm going to vote for Trump, for Donald Trump," she said.
Rubio had four campaign events in New Hampshire Sunday. On Monday, he has two on the schedule, both in Nashua.