(WASHINGTON) — Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., clarified his answer about the age of the Earth on Wednesday, two weeks after he passed on answering a question on the Earth’s age in an interview with GQ.
“Science says it’s about four and a half billion years old, and my faith teaches that that’s not inconsistent,” Rubio said at a Politico Playbook breakfast hosted by Mike Allen. “The answer I gave was actually trying to make the same point the president made a few years ago, and that is there is no scientific debate on the age of the Earth. I mean, it’s established pretty definitively as at least four and a half billion years old … I was referring to a theological debate and which is a pretty healthy debate.”
“I still believe God did it,” Rubio added. “And that’s how I’ve been able to reconcile that and I think it’s consistent with the teachings of my church. But other people have a deeper conflict and I just think in America we should have the freedom to teach our children whatever we believe.”
In a recent interview with GQ, Rubio said he was not “qualified” to answer a question about the age of the Earth, adding, “I’m not a scientist, man.”
“At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all,” Rubio said in the interview with GQ. “Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that.”
Despite the heat he received for not answering the question, Rubio said he has no regrets about how he responded to the initial question.
“I don’t regret it,” Rubio said. “I wish I would have given a better answer, a more succinct answer, but we went from talking about hip-hop and then it got pivoted to the Earth — I’m not a robot, I got caught off-guard, I guess.”
At the breakfast Wednesday morning, the young Florida senator also weighed in on the topic of homosexuality, saying he believes it is a sin.
“I can tell you what faith teaches and the faith teaches that it is,” Rubio said.
Rubio expressed hope that immigration reform could be achieved in the next two years, saying that a comprehensive package of bills is needed to solve the issue, and he gave 50/50 odds to the prospect of passing some type of pathway to citizenship for current undocumented immigrants in the next four years.
“I’m really hopeful we can deal with the issue of immigration holistically,” Rubio said of immigration reform. “I am optimistic if we can depoliticize this issue that we can solve it.”
On the fiscal cliff negotiations, Rubio said he’s “optimistic” that a deal will be reached by Christmas Eve.
“I think something will happen. I believe that we’ll avoid this,” Rubio said. “There’s just too much at stake. I think something will happen.”
Rubio, who did not mention Romney in his speech Tuesday night at a dinner hosted by the Jack Kemp Foundation, doled out a bit of praise for Romney, suggesting the former GOP nominee will play a yet-to-be-determined role in the future of the Republican Party.
“Mitt Romney is a role model as a person,” Rubio said. “I think he has a lot to offer the Republican Party and this country, and I don’t know exactly what that role is going to be … he has a lot to contribute.”
But when asked who currently personifies leadership the best in Washington, D.C., Rubio reached outside of politics and chose a figure in the Washington Redskins’ world, naming Robert Griffin III as his pick for the best leader in D.C. Griffin is a quarterback; in 2011 he won the Heisman Trophy playing football for Baylor University.
And when it came to his own future to lead the country, Rubio demurred on whether or not he’d launch a bid for the White House, saying, “I have no idea. I just don’t know, so I think right now I should focus on being a good United States senator.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chris Isidore, CNN
Robert Patten, EastIdahoNews.com
Stephen Collinson, CNN