Florida Senator Marco Rubio is joining the group of presidential prospects that rather not if say he ever smoked marijuana.
“If you say that you did, then suddenly there are people out there saying, ‘Well, it's not a big deal,’” the 43-year-old Republican told ABC’s Politics Confidential. “On the other side of it is if you tell people that you didn't, they won't believe you,” he added.
Rubio visited New Hampshire last weekend, his first appearance in an early-voting state in more than a year. He headlined a pair of fundraisers in Republican-rich counties and met with local officials, activists and donors in the home of the nation's first presidential primary.
In the ABC interview, he explained he decided to refrain from answering the “pot” question a couple of years ago, when he realized that, being a public person, his actions have an impact on young people.
He had just published his memoir, “American Son,” on which he revealed he had not been a disciplined high school student with a 2.1 GPA.
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“Someone came up to me and said, ‘You know, I enjoyed your book, but I want you to know, my son came up to me and said he doesn't have to get good grades in high school, because look at Marco Rubio, he didn't do well in high school and look how successful he's been,’” Rubio recalled.
“The bottom line – Rubio said – is I believe that adding yet another mind-altering substance to something that's legal is not good for the country. I understand there are people that have different views on it, but I feel strongly about that.”
Rubio has not declared his intentions for 2016, but he has proved a prolific fundraiser, tapping his donor-rich home state and the political networks of the past three GOP presidential nominees. Last year, he raised about $8.3 million — more than Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky or Ted Cruz of Texas, both tea party stars who are also weighing White House bids.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.