OKLAHOMA CITY — Republican presidential candidate and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio seems to be turning over a new leaf after his latest campaign rally at the Chevy Center in downtown Oklahoma City.
Rubio is in Oklahoma hoping to garner support from the traditionally conservative state ahead of Super Tuesday and has been much more aggressive of late.
Thursday night during the Republican National Debate on CNN, Rubio turned heads by ditching the “Nice Guy” routine and engaging in a war of words with the leading Republican candidate, Donald Trump. Some are in Rubio’s corner throughout his spar with the business mogul and are excited to see him finally squaring off with Trump.
Chandler Losing, a junior from the University of Tulsa and Rubio supporter, said he was looking forward to hearing Rubio talk about Trump just as much as his policies.
Even before he stepped on stage, Rubio was bombarded with questions from the media about Trump and what had transpired at the debate the night before. Rubio said Trump is not a “presidential man” and that he did not want to turn the country over to a “con-artist.” Rubio said the Republican Party would split apart quicker than it would let Trump become its nominee.
“I was surprised to see him talk about Trump so much, but I still like how his attacks carry meaning and depth to them," said Audrey Roth, a second-year law student at OU. "He’s not just saying things to say them."
The attacks didn’t stop once the rally began — Rubio began his speech just as aggressive as ever.
He was very critical of Trump, at one point saying the Republican Party would “lose this election if Donald Trump is the nominee.”
Rubio made sure to set aside some time to attack Trump’s Twitter antics, reading off several tweets sent by Trump that contained improper grammar or misspelled words.
“He must have hired foreign workers to run his Twitter handle,” Rubio said about the social media account.
“If anything that made me like him more, he’s very charismatic in how he goes about it,” Melanie Barnes, a second-year law student at OU, said about Rubio's seemingly more aggressive style.
Cameron Burleson, a sophomore and president of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity at OU, said he has been a “strong” Rubio supporter from day one and said it doesn’t bother him that Rubio is on the offensive.
“I just love his consistency. If you look at the transparency that he has had from the beginning of his campaign until now, it has been completely impeccable honestly,” Burleson said.
Burleson praised Rubio for staying firm in his ideas and not wavering in the face of criticism.
Rubio made sure to also call out President Barack Obama for “not following the Constitution.”
“When I become oresident, on my first day I will repeal every single one of Barack Obama’s unconstitutional executive orders," Rubio said. "You will have a president who, for the first time in what, like eight years, will follow the Constitution,” Rubio said.
Rubio criticized Obama for pitting American citizens against each other and telling them to hate each other, which in turn, he said, has made the world a more dangerous place.
Zak Kerbo, a junior at OU and member of the Pride of Oklahoma, said he agreed with Rubio attacking Obama. Kerbo said one of his biggest concerns was repealing some of the controversial executive orders that Obama has passed.
Rubio called Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders a “socialist,” and said Hillary Clinton should be disqualified from being the commander in chief of the country.
“Anyone who lies to the families of those who have lost their lives in the service of this country can never be the commander in chief,” Rubio said.
Rubio also accused Supreme Court justices of interpreting the Constitution loosely and not in the way it was originally intended.
“Even though he was aggressive, he was still genuine. He seems more personable to me now and I liked everything that he said,” said Kristin Newman, a third-year law student at OU.
“I’m even more of a Marco fan now, I feel like I almost want to go have a beer with him,” she said.