Why Marco Rubio Keeps Repeating Himself: A Speech Pathologist Explains

Rubio’s repetition has earned him the nickname “Marco Roboto”

Last Updated: February 9, 2016 @ 11:10 AM

Marco Rubio’s critics have dubbed him “Marco Roboto” because of his repeated sound bites in the last GOP debate — and they got more to mock Monday when he repeated himself again in New Hampshire.

A Washington, D.C. speech language pathologist told TheWrap there seems to be a simple explanation for all the repetition.

“He must be exhausted,” said Dr. Susan Miller, a communication consultant at VoiceTrainer LLC. She has worked with politicians of both major parties, but declined to name her clients.

Miller believes Rubio’s repetition in Saturday’s debate may have been intentional — even after Chris Christie called him on it. But in his speech Monday, he appeared to catch himself as he talked about the difficulties of raising children in the modern age.

“We are taking our message to families that are struggling to raise their children in the 21st century, because as you saw Jeanette and I are raising our four children in the 21st century, and we know how hard it’s become to instill our values in our kids instead of the values they try to ram down our throats,” Rubio said. “In the 21st century it’s become harder than ever to instill in your children the values they teach in our homes and in our church instead of the values that they try to ram down our [pause] throats in the movies, in music, in popular culture.”

That redundancy was more striking, Miller said, because Rubio seemed to catch himself repeating himself.

“This was interesting,” she said. “It sounded like, halfway through the second time, he realized he was repeating it. I think he’s so rehearsed that he gets on these message maps … He got into one about his family and he started repeating it. I just think he’s overly rehearsed and exhausted.”

A message map, she explained, is a quick, memorized line designed to convey a particular idea. They’re also called sound bites, and they’re exactly what Christie accused Rubio of leaning on in place of actual accomplishments.

“He’s very messaged,” Miller said. “And Christie nailed him on it.”

Since the debate, the Florida senator has insisted that he meant to say exactly what he said Saturday — and that he hopes news outlets will keep replaying the clip.

In fact, he’s said it more than once.


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