From NBC's Mark Murray
Speaking with reporters this afternoon in Washington, Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio (R) refused to rule out the need for offshore drilling -- even after the spill in the Gulf Coast.
While saying that he supports the development of alternative energy sources, Rubio stated: "In the short term, our economy will still be heavily dependent on petroleum. And America has to answer a fundamental question: How dependent does it want to be on foreign sources of energy, particularly areas of the world that are hostile and unstable and unfriendly to the United States and its interests?"
"There is going to be drilling off the coast of the United States," he went on to say. "Venezuela is going to be there. China is going to do it. Russia is going to do it. Cuba might do it. And so the United States has to make a decision about energy independence. And that's an issue we're going to have to confront" -- regardless of the spill in the Gulf.
Rubio added, "The goal is an energy policy that is safe and effective. Clearly, no one ever wants to see this happen again," referring to the oil rig explosion and subsequent spill.
The issue of offshore drilling has become an issue in the three-way Florida Senate race featuring Rubio, Kendrick Meek (D), and Charlie Crist (I). On "Meet the Press" this past Sunday, Crist said that offshore drilling should be tabled in the wake of the oil spill. And Meek has been firm in his opposition to offshore drilling.
Also during today's press conference in DC -- where he is holding meetings and raising money -- Rubio declined to criticize President Obama's handling of the spill, saying he didn't want to politicize the issue. "I hope he is very successful in dealing with it."
And when asked whether the suspect in the failed Times Square bombing -- who is a United States citizen -- should be declined his Miranda rights, Rubio replied: "If this individual has information that could help us prevent future attacks and loss of life nothing should stand in the way of that, including Miranda."