Would the meaning of sentence change if I replace "as" with "than"?
No, the meaning of the sentence would not change if you replaced "as" with"than". In fact, I think you are more likely to hear the use of "than" in this sentence structure than "as". I think it is much more common, when comparing or talking about preference, which is what he is doing here, to use "than." Ex: I'd rather go to bed early than stay up late and risk missing the bus. Ex: There nowhere I'd rather be than here with you.
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