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Rubio on Earth's age: "I'm not a scientist, man"

In an interview with GQ magazine, Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio declined to provide an exact estimate of the Earth's age, arguing that parents should be free to teach any origin-of-life theory they see fit.

"I'm not a scientist, man," Rubio said when asked how old the Earth is. "I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that's a dispute amongst theologians...I don't think I'm qualified to answer a question like that. 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. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says."

The wide-ranging interview covered quite a bit of ground, from Republicans' recent electoral woes to Rubio's taste in rap music.

Rubio took issue with those in his party who hoped they could win simply by opposing President Obama without offering an alternate agenda. "There were some in politics who believed that all you had to do was be the alternative to the incumbent and you would win, but I never believed in that. I've always believed that you were better on offense than you were on defense. You were much better being for something than against someone."

Charting the path forward for the GOP, Rubio explained, "I think the bigger challenge that we face, and that we continue to face, is that we have not done a good enough job of communicating to people what conservatism is. In fact, we've allowed a myth to take hold in the minds of some that conservatism is about helping the people who have 'made it' and not about helping the people who are trying to make it."

Rubio brushed away suggestions that Republicans should jettison their social conservatism, disputing the argument that religious traditionalism has less currency among the modern electorate. "What I'm hearing is that it's ok for one side to express their view and the other side needs to be quiet," he said. "There are a very significant number of Americans that feel very strongly about the issue of life, about the issue of marriage and are we saying that they should be silenced or not allowed to speak or voice their opinion? There's a way to do that that is respectful and productive."

Asked to name his best friend, Rubio initially identified his wife. Pressed for another answer, he named Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., a tea-party kingmaker whose early support was crucial to Rubio's 2010 primary election rout of then-Gov. Charlie Crist. Rubio said he admired DeMint's willingness to "make decisions that have made him unpopular in his own party." He added that "Jeb Bush is another guy I admire for his ability to analyze issues and call them for what they are."

After an extended discourse about the evolution of rap music, Rubio was asked to name his three favorite rap songs.

His answers: "Straight Outta Compton" by N.W.A., "Killuminati" by Tupac and "Lose Yourself" by Eminem.

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