Marco Rubio chats about immigration reform, climate change and Biggie at inaugural “Buzzfeed Brews”

Despite being surrounded by political journalists, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) appeared calm, cool and collected as he chatted with Buzzfeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith Tuesday night and the popular online publication’s inaugural “BuzzFeed Brews” event in Washington, D.C.

Whether he was discussing immigration reform, women in combat, climate change or his taste in music the freshman Senator and oft talked about 2016 presidential candidate seemed right at home in front of the rowdy crowd at the Bar 201 event, which took place just a stone’s throw away from his home away from home in the Hart Senate Office Building.

During the ‘Brew,’ Rubio championed moving toward a republic with a smaller federal government and a free economy, suggesting that the government needs to move toward a place where it acts as a safety net to catch people who have fallen on hard times more than a harness keeping people from losing their balance the tight rope.

“I think the problem we get into is when we believe there’s a government answer to every problem, or when we overestimate government’s ability to grow the economy and create opportunity for prosperity,” he said. “This is not about balancing the budget by denying people the government services they need. It’s about growing our economy, so people need less government services.”

Smith and Rubio discussed a wide number of topics, but they spent a significant amount of time talking about immigration reform, which Rubio is attempting to champion along with other members of the so-called “Gang of Eight,” an bipartisan group of Senators, four Democrats and four Republicans.

Like fellow ‘Group of Eight’ member John McCain (R-Ariz.), Rubio was adamant that the new laws should not concern coverage for LGBT partners.

“This issue’s so complicated. The immigration issue has so many landmines and pitfalls,” Rubio said. “I think if that issue becomes a central issue in the debate, it’s just going to make it harder to get it done.”

The conservative Republican said the issue has negative connotations for states rights. “I’ve always been uncomfortable with a federal constitutional amendment on anything, particular on [gay marriage].”

Smith also put the freshman Senator on the spot with another issue of the moment: women in combat.

“I think the bottom line is that we have to have our best people,” Rubio said. “If that person happens to be a woman, then I don’t have a problem with it.”

The Florida Senator also talked about global warming, noting that he has seen cost-benefit analysis that would impose “devastating” economic impacts to the country if the federal government enacts the bulk of the legislation Democrats are proposing. He also pointed out that China and India, not the U.S., are the “largest polluters in the world by far,” and thus, changes to U.S. regulations wouldn’t solve many of the problems environmentalists are concerned about.

“The changing climate is not the fundamental question,” Rubio added. “The fundamental question is whether man-made activity is contributing to it.”

The interview wasn’t all work and no play for conservative superstar, though. He and Smith also discussed his musical interests (don’t look for Biggie Smalls tunes on his Spotify account – he’s not a fan), with Rubio confirming that he does like Eminem. Rubio said he likes Tupac, too.

“I think Tupac’s lyrics were more insightful,” he said. “In some ways, rappers are like reporters… so the ’90s was a time when this was really pronounced. You had gang wars, racial tension, and they were reporting on that.”

The Florida Senator will be “rollin’ with [his] homies” in the coming weeks as the Gang of Eight’s immigration reform proposal hits the Senate floor.  He will also be giving the Republican address to the State of the Union. Whether or not he’ll ride the wave all the way to first-in-the-nation-state in 2016, though, is still up in the air.

“I really believe that if I do the best job I can in the Senate, then, in a couple of years, I’ll be in a position to make a decision about whether I want to run for reelection, leave politics and give someone else a shot, or run for some other position,” Rubio said.

Francesca Chambers contributed to this report.

Comments

Polititainment

Michael Bay might direct Benghazi movie

Bay, who has spent the last several years gaining popularity for his "Transformers" films, is reportedly in talks to direct the Benghazi film "13 Hours," according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Holder wants Denzel to play him in movie

Holder spoke to The Hill about Hollywood and politics while at an event at the Washington Ideas Forum Wednesday that was hosted by The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic.

'Rival Survival' premiering Wednesday

Senators Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) are getting ready to show America their bipartisan fire-starting skills on "Rival Survival," a reality show starring tho lawmakers that premiers Wednesday night on the Discovery Channel.

Lovitz has a field day with Hillary

Before Hillary Clinton's jobs comment is swept aside as a minor whoopsie, a few words from Jon Lovitz.

John Oliver has some ideas for the FDA

Some people want more nutrition information on food labels--but who really understands those labels anyway?

White House

Russian hackers broke into the White House network

Hackers with suspected ties to the Russian government recently broke into the White House’s unclassified computer network, the Washington Post reported Tuesday night.

Obama is withholding over 15,000 Fast and Furious documents

President Obama claimed executive privilege to withhold over 15,000 documents relating to Operation Fast and Furious, including nearly 20 emails sent between Attorney General Eric Holder and his wife.

White House fence jumper charged with assault
WASHINGTON (AP) — The 23-year-old Maryland man who climbed over the White House fence Wednesday night has been charged with felonies for assaulting two police dogs and making threats, the Secret Service said Thursday. Dominic Adesanya of Bel Air, Maryland, is in custody of the U.S. Marshals Service for previous outstanding warrants, Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said. […]
President Obama, unpaid bills and the curious editing of the White House transcript
President Obama, some unpaid bills and a curiously “inaudible” section of the White House recording of a speech — that’s how all good stories start, right? While at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Chicago, Obama cracked a joke about the “unpaid bills” at his home. The joke was reported by the White House Press […]
Secrecy shrouds how the Obamas cook their chicken wings

Now it seems the Obamas are tight-lipped even about their eating habits.

Congress

Justin Amash envisions a libertarian Congress

Rep. Justin Amash, the libertarian congressman from Michigan, knows that Congress is far from libertarian. But someday, he thinks that might change.

Rand Paul: The GOP's image ‘sucks’

Rand Paul didn’t mince words about the GOP.

Small college's students thrown into 2014 election

Young people tend not to engage much in the humdrum local politics that go into midterm elections. But what if it’s happening literally in their own backyard?

GOP senator: 'Sorry the government's so f***ed'

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) made some self-deprecating jokes and colorful remarks about the state of the government during a recent private gathering, per a recording provided to CNN by South Carolina Democrats.

Top lawmaker's Ebola claim

A leading House Republican says he is aware of information that points to the United States eventually receiving non-U.S. Ebola patients for treatment.