Marco Rubio apparently didn’t realize how badly he’d bombed Saturday’s debate until he saw all the mean tweets about his performance on Twitter.

The anecdote was dropped in an article in today’s New York Times examining how Rubio’s robotic repetition of a talking point about Barack Obama tanked his campaign. Rubio knew he hadn’t done particularly well, but it wasn’t until he went on Twitter that he understood how bad the damage was.

The episode was such a shock that not even Mr. Rubio seemed to understand the gravity of the situation as he left the stage at St. Anselm College just after 10 on Saturday night. His wife and four children rushed to greet him in a private back room, followed by somber-faced aides, who delivered their candid assessment.

It was not, Mr. Rubio conceded to them, his best performance. But only after the senator scrolled through Twitter — flooded with brutal, mocking reviews — did he fully grasp the damage he had done to his own campaign.

According to the Times, Rubio’s campaign had believed he’d be better off attacking Obama than fighting with his fellow candidates, a strategy that appeared to be working up until the disastrous debate Saturday. Rubio did not comment on the article but let’s dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing.

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