Marco Rubio charms and dashes at New Hampshire Super Bowl viewing party

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Marco Rubio's Super Bowl viewing party, New Hampshire
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Marco Rubio charms and dashes at New Hampshire Super Bowl viewing party
MANCHESTER, NH - FEBRUARY 07: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) delivers remarks during a Super Bowl watch party at Ulitmate Sports Academy February 7, 2016 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Hundreds of people came to the event to see Rubio just two days before voters go to the polls in the 'First in the Nation' presidential primary. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida and 2016 presidential candidate, speaks during a Super Bowl watch party in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. Rubio, who was starting to finally coalesce the party's anti-Trump vote, was flummoxed in the make-or-break New Hampshire debate by criticism from rivals that he's over-programmed. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio autographs a sign during a Super Bowl watch party at Ultimate Sports Academy, February 7, 2016, in Manchester, New Hampshire. Marco Rubio, the young Republican senator fast building momentum in the race for the White House, came back swinging after a mauling in the latest presidential debate for his lack of experience. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, NH - FEBRUARY 07: Sticker cover the back windshield on a car parked outside a Super Bowl watch party with Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) at Ultimate Sports Academy February 7, 2016 in Manchester, New Hampshire. New Hampshire voters will be going to the polls on Tuesday for the nation's first presidential primary. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio takes a selfie with a supporter during a Super Bowl watch party at Ultimate Sports Academy, February 7, 2016, in Manchester, New Hampshire. Marco Rubio, the young Republican senator fast building momentum in the race for the White House, came back swinging after a mauling in the latest presidential debate for his lack of experience. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, NH - FEBRUARY 07: Supporters listen to Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speak during a Super Bowl watch party at Ulitmate Sports Academy February 7, 2016 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Hundreds of people came to the event to see Rubio just two days before voters go to the polls in the 'First in the Nation' presidential primary. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio autographs a sign during a Super Bowl watch party at Ultimate Sports Academy, February 7, 2016, in Manchester, New Hampshire. Marco Rubio, the young Republican senator fast building momentum in the race for the White House, came back swinging after a mauling in the latest presidential debate for his lack of experience. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio speaks to supporters during a Super Bowl watch party at Ultimate Sports Academy, February 7, 2016, in Manchester, New Hampshire. Marco Rubio, the young Republican senator fast building momentum in the race for the White House, came back swinging after a mauling in the latest presidential debate for his lack of experience. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)
Robert Konrad, a former player for the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League (NFL), right, introduces Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida and 2016 presidential candidate, during a Super Bowl watch party in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. Rubio, who was starting to finally coalesce the party's anti-Trump vote, was flummoxed in the make-or-break New Hampshire debate by criticism from rivals that he's over-programmed. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An attendee wears a Carolina Panthers hat while waiting for the arrival of Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida and 2016 presidential candidate, during a Super Bowl watch party in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. Rubio, who was starting to finally coalesce the party's anti-Trump vote, was flummoxed in the make-or-break New Hampshire debate by criticism from rivals that he's over-programmed. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida and 2016 presidential candidate, speaks during a Super Bowl watch party in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. Rubio, who was starting to finally coalesce the party's anti-Trump vote, was flummoxed in the make-or-break New Hampshire debate by criticism from rivals that he's over-programmed. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida and 2016 presidential candidate, center, stands for a selfie photograph with an attendee during a Super Bowl watch party in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. Rubio, who was starting to finally coalesce the party's anti-Trump vote, was flummoxed in the make-or-break New Hampshire debate by criticism from rivals that he's over-programmed. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images
MANCHESTER, NH - FEBRUARY 07: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks during a Super Bowl watch party at Ulitmate Sports Academy February 7, 2016 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Hundreds of people came to the event to see Rubio just two days before voters go to the polls in the 'First in the Nation' presidential primary. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
A sign supporting Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio is seen before a Super Bowl watch party at Ultimate Sports Academy, February 7, 2016, in Manchester, New Hampshire. Marco Rubio, the young Republican senator fast building momentum in the race for the White House, came back swinging after a mauling in the latest presidential debate for his lack of experience. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, NH - FEBRUARY 07: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) arrives for a Super Bowl watch party at Ulitmate Sports Academy February 7, 2016 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Hundreds of people came to the event to see Rubio just two days before voters go to the polls in the 'First in the Nation' presidential primary. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, NH - FEBRUARY 07: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) (top) talks with a voter who said he would support the senator during a Super Bowl watch party at Ulitmate Sports Academy February 7, 2016 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Hundreds of people came to the event to see Rubio just two days before voters go to the polls in the 'First in the Nation' presidential primary. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, NH - FEBRUARY 7: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks during a Super Bowl watch party at Ulitmate Sports Academy February 7, 2016 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Hundreds of people came to the event to see Rubio just two days before voters go to the polls in the 'First in the Nation' presidential primary. (Photos by Charles Ommanney/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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MANCHESTER, New HampshireMarco Rubio threw a Super Bowl viewing party here tonight that drew a big crowd, most of which had cleared out long before kickoff, including the host.

The GOP hopeful addressed the group of several hundred gathered at Manchester's Ultimate Sports Center with the promise that he had the right stuff to unify the fractured Republican Party. The Florida senator's comments ranged from reminding the audience that "our rights come from God" to a promise to ban disco music — with the exception of the Bee Gees and Donna Summer, after protests from a supporter. He made no mention of his struggles during Saturday night's Republican debate organized by ABC News.

Rubio, wearing a zip-up blue sweatshirt and tie, cited his rags to riches story and painted a dire picture of the nation's choices in the 2016 presidential race. The American dream of upward mobility may very well die if the GOP does not recapture the White House, he warned.

"Remember the 1970s (under President Carter) — long gas lines and disco music. Those were terrible things," said Rubio, who was born in 1971.

Rubio Supporters Hold Steady Despite Poor Debate Performance

While Rubio spoke, volunteers set out trays of popcorn, chips, cheese crackers, submarine sandwiches and several dozen Little Caesars pizza boxes, plus slices of cake for dessert. But the grub was off limits until the candidate finished speaking.

The crowd was generally engaged and exuberant and focused on Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton as Public Enemy No. 1. One supporter strolled the gathering handing out mini "Stop Hillary" signs. Another presented Rubio with a boxed "Hillary Nutcracker" toy to autograph. He obliged.

Rubio hung around for selfies and autographs of the Marco Rubio placards that were distributed to the crowd. Questions from a gaggle of reporters at the edge of the stage were ignored as the candidate ducked out shortly after the feed of CBS' Super Bowl 50 coverage was blasted on to the big screen TV sets scattered around the space.

After Rubio's exit, the pizza and cake slices began to disappear as the crowd dispersed.

Although Rubio's appearance was brief, one couple who journeyed to New Hampshire all the way from San Diego, Calif., was satisfied with what they saw.

"I like his views on limited government," said Scott Schwab, a retired Air Force official who now works for the Department of Defense. He joked that he might be putting himself out of a job, but he appreciated Rubio's views on reining in the federal government.

Marcy Schwab was quick to dismiss criticism of Rubio during Saturday's debate, when he repeated talking points about what he sees as the dangers of President Obama's economic and political agenda. She didn't take kindly to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie going after Rubio during the debate.

"We don't care for when candidates go after each other," Marcy Schwab said. "We want to hear from them what they believe."

The Schwabs made the trek to New Hampshire this past week specifically for the chance to hobnob and speak directly with the candidates. They're still not sold however on Rubio as Republican choice come June in the California primary, particularly after a cordial meeting with Ted Cruz on Saturday at the candidate's New Hampshire headquarters.

Cruz "was so personable," Scott Schwab said. "He really connects with people on a one-on-one basis."

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