Taking a cue from Politico’s live events, BuzzFeed on Tuesday hosted its first question-and-answer social with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who touched on a range of policies and issues that included immigration reform and climate change.
At the inaugural “BuzzFeed Brews,” held at a bar on Capitol Hill, Rubio fielded questions for a little more than 40 minutes from BuzzFeed’s editor-in-chief Ben Smith — a pair of beers resting on the table between them.
On immigration reform — a debate of which Rubio has found himself at the center — the junior Florida senator spoke of the need to produce a bill that is “humane and respectful” and that “respects the rule of law.” He also said that he does not want LGBT protections for immigrants to emerge as a “central issue” in the debate out of fear that it could derail the reform effort.
“I think if that issue becomes a central issue in the debate, it’s going to become harder to get it done because there will be strong feelings on both sides,” Rubio said.
But Rubio didn’t seem to harbor the same passion for addressing climate change. Asked by Smith if climate change concerned him as a resident of Florida, a state where hurricanes and tropical storms have long wreaked havoc, Rubio contended that he’s seen “reasonable debate” in the scientific community on the notion that global warming is influenced by man-made activities.
“Well, first of all, the climate’s always changing. That’s not the fundamental question,” Rubio said. “The fundamental question is whether man-made activity is what’s contributing most to it. And I understand that people say there’s a significant scientific consensus on that issue. But I’ve actually seen reasonable debate on that principle.”
The question-and-answer session brought to mind the “Playbook Breakfast,” a semi-regular event wherein Politico’s Mike Allen interviews Washington’s heavy-hitters. Smith is a Politico alum. Tuesday’s interview with Rubio was the launch of BuzzFeed’s series, which will see various members of the popular website’s staff participate.
Tom Kludt is a newswriter for TPM. A former research intern and polling fellow for TPM, he lives and works in New York City. Tom graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Dakota in May of 2010 with a B.A. in Political Science and History. He can be reached at Tom (at) talkingpointsmemo.com.