Florida senator and Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio wrapped up a busy day on the campaign trail with a town hall meeting in Londonderry Wednesday night.
While Rubio can’t boast of crowds or poll numbers like front-runner Donald Trump, he continues to draw solid crowds and generate positive buzz as he meets voters.
In Londonderry, some Republicans waited close to half an hour to shake hands and take a picture with Rubio.
“Oh, I loved him. I thought he had a very articulate answer for everything that was brought his way — whether positive or negative,” said Bill Anker, of Londonderry.
“I’ve met him several times. I would say he’s in my top 5 of people that I currently like,” said New Hampshire Rep. Douglas Thomas.
While he seems to be on many Republicans’ short list, Rubio still has work to do with die-hard conservatives.
One such conservative is Rep. Al Baldasaro.
“A lot of people I talk to about Marco Rubio — they’re still stuck on his immigration stance,” said Baldasaro.
The candidate himself said they have a long way to go before anyone casts a ballot.
“So we intend to be back often and earn people’s support. It’s August. Come December, January, people will have formed harder opinions,” said Rubio.
“It’s … like an Ironman competition. It’s got like five different segments,” said Rubio. “But it’s a lot of fun. It’s a great honor. Very few people get a chance to do what I’ve had the opportunity to do, and I hope I’m blessed with the opportunity to serve this country as president. We’re going to work hard to achieve that.”
The town hall capped off a campaign swing that included stops in the western and northern parts of the state.
More than 100 people packed into a small hall in Littleton to hear Rubio speak and get a sense of what the candidate is all about. Rubio told them his campaign is about the future, not the past.
“This can’t just be about political posturing, because our country has had enough of that over the last decade and a half,” Rubio said. “This election has to be about the future.”
Rubio spoke at length about changing the tax code and making higher education more effective. He said he wants a bill passed that would better inform students about their degree. It’s called “Right to Know, Before You Go.”
“It’s a law that says before you take out a loan, the schools have to tell you how much people make when they graduate with your degree from that school,” Rubio said.
Rubio went on to talk about immigration and national security.
“If we can modernize our economic policies, revolutionize higher education and restore our national security apparatus, the 21st century will be the greatest era in our nation’s history,” he said.
Rubio also talked with voters about climate change and the large Republican field. He said he’s not worried.
“I am going to give you a serious campaign with real ideas,” he said. “We are going to do this the right way, and I am confident with all of my heart that when we do that over time consistently, it will all work out for this country and this campaign.”
Rubio’s trip to the Granite State came days before he planned to give a foreign policy speech in South Carolina.
“The Chinese economy has significant challenges, but they are also responsible for some irresponsible behavior around the world, whether it’s in the South China Sea or how they treat their own people with human rights abuses, and we are going to raise all of those issues on Friday,” Rubio said.
Every appearance Rubio has made in New Hampshire has drawn fire from the state Democratic Party. On Wednesday, they attempted to link him to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.