Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio was attacked by several GOP rivals for the party’s nomination to run for the White House, in a fractious ABC debate.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie described Marco Rubio, a rising force in the polls, as inexperienced and scripted.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio, also assailed by Donald Trump and Jeb Bush, fought back by attacking President Barack Obama.
The New Hampshire debate comes four days before the state picks its presidential nominee in each party.
Several of the seven Republicans on stage have staked much on this state, and the pressure seemed to provoke several points of conflict.
One of the testiest moments at the debate in Manchester was when Chris Christie lambasted Marco Rubio.
The New Jersey governor accused Marco Rubio of “truancy” by missing Senate votes and said his eloquent speeches were ineffective in improving the lives of a single American.
However, Marco Rubio, who was a strong third in the Iowa vote on February 1, attacked him for not immediately returning to New Jersey from the campaign trail during the recent snowstorm.
The night got off to a bizarre start when Ben Carson missed his entrance to the debate and was left standing in the wings by debate hosts ABC News.
When it eventually got under way, the candidates sharpened their differences on issues like national security, immigration and abortion.
New Hampshire polls suggest Donald Trump, who has no political experience but finished second in the Iowa vote on February 1, is out in front.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who like Donald Trump is running on an anti-establishment platform, was the victor in Iowa.
However, a strong third by Marco Rubio has made him a target from the others.
One of Marco Rubio’s counter-attacks under pressure in the debate, that President Barack Obama is knowingly changing the nature of the US, was strongly rejected by Donald Trump.
“I think he [Barack Obama] has no idea what he’s doing. And our country is going to hell. So, I just want to say, we disagree on that.”
Jeb Bush also put the boot into his former Florida protégé, saying he was gifted but in a way that reminded him of Barack Obama.
After New Hampshire on February 9, the rest of the 50 states will have their turn over the coming weeks and months.
Each party formally announces their presidential candidate at conventions in July, four months before the presidential election.