"Exposed at last for the wind-up doll he is"

New Hampshire GOP insiders called Rubio “cringeworthy,” “badly programmed and robotic,” “so rehearsed he comes off as inauthentic,” and “exposed at last for the wind-up doll he is.”…

“While he had cogent answers on many issues, he allowed Christie to get to him. Bad move,” said another New Hampshire Republican. “If only Rubio had been confident of his knowledge of policy issues, he could have won. Pointing out Christie’s positions on gun control, Common Core or Bridge-gate would have scored more highly than combating on the specific issue.”

One South Carolina Republican said Rubio’s poor performance could threaten his ability to lock down the establishment lane moving to the Feb. 20 first-in-the-South primary if he falls short of expectations in New Hampshire on Tuesday.

“Just like Trump losing Iowa where he was expected to win, Rubio placing fourth will show he is vulnerable when under heavy fire and maybe he’s not the best candidate in the field,” the South Carolina GOP insider said. “It will raise doubts which will impact the donor class where Rubio has struggled relative to Cruz and Bush. Rubio needed a strong New Hampshire showing to secure more donors for the long-term primary campaign, and tonight he hurt his chances to finance through the entire primary calendar.”