(CNN) - Former Vice President Dick Cheney became the latest prominent Republican to line up behind Marco Rubio's Senate campaign in Florida, issuing a strongly-wording statement Thursday casting Rubio's GOP primary rival, Gov. Charlie Crist, as an unprincipled opportunist who can't be "trusted" to stand up to President Obama.
"Washington is broken and Congress is already overflowing with politicians who need pollsters to tell them what to think," Cheney said of Crist. "It certainly doesn't need another one. Now more than ever America needs leaders with the strength of conviction."
Cheney called Rubio "a strong conservative leader." He urged Crist to either remain in the Republican primary, which he would almost certainly lose, or drop out of the race completely.
"The only winners from an independent bid by Crist would be Barack Obama and Harry Reid," Cheney said of the president and Senate Democratic Leader from Nevada.
Along with being an outspoken critic of Obama, Cheney hasn't shied away from picking sides in contested Republican primaries. His record so far in 2010, however, is a losing one. Last November, Cheney endorsed Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in her ultimately unsuccessful primary fight for the Texas gubernatorial nomination. She was soundly defeated by Gov. Rick Perry.
In March, he endorsed Secretary of State Trey Grayson over Rand Paul in Kentucky's GOP Senate primary, scheduled for May 18.
The endorsement could nab Rubio some positive headlines after it was reported Tuesday that the former House speaker and other Florida GOP players are being investigated by the IRS over their use of state party-issued credit cards.
UPDATE 1:10 p.m.: Florida Gov. Charlie Crist reacted to the Cheney endorsement on Thursday, downplaying the effect it will have on the primary race.
"Just another Washington politician telling Florida what to do," Crist said. "I don't think Floridians appreciate it."
And when asked by local reporters if he was upset by the endorsement, Crist retorted, "Do I look upset?"
- CNN's Charles Riley contributed to this report
Cheney,is in no position to endorse anyone....he is lucky that he is not in prison himself
I'm not sure that helps...
They really are trying to kill this guy's chances of winning aren't they?
Gee weez, what a surprise!! Is it true Rubio used RNC funds for personal use? Now that's no surprise!
What a back-handed compliment that is !!!!
Talk about the kiss of doom.Cheney should be in prison.
Way out in front on that one Dick.
WOW – that is really big!!!
The news just keeps getting worse for Rubio. Getting endorsed by Cheney is the same as being endorsed by Osama Bin Laden, they were cut from the same cloth. Crist has never had it so good !
Just makes me want to run right out and vote for him. This is like getting an endorsement from the DEVIL.
Unless Cheney's big announcement is that he's going away forever, I'm not interested!
The headline on page one was that Cheney had a big announcement. I was hoping that it was that he was finally going to tell the truth. Obviously that's not happening.
If I was a politician, I wouldn't want my name mentioned in the same sentence with the names Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, or Rush Limbaugh....!
Any endorsement from the likes of these people you would think would be enough to derail any political campagne...
Just ask John McCain.....!
Oh God, there goes the nail in his coffin! Dick Cheney's endorsement will help Floridians make up their minds for sure and I don't think it is going to help Rubio like he thinks it will.
All the more reason not to vote for him.
Has Dick Cheney been put in jail as yet ? If not Why ?
There's a "Kiss of Death" for Marco! Hope Crist runs as an Independent. He could pull of a Lieberman move very easily.
Rubio is probably weeping like a girl after that endorsement. The man with one of the most terrible approval ratings endorsing someone else?
That should help Rubio get more of the uneducated white trash vote.
Get lost Dick. Most people thing you are a scumbag.
I was soooo happy not to have heard from Cheney and his loud mouth daughter for awhile and now he's back, YUK!!!! Dicks a liar and his daughter swears to it!!!! She is the most disrespectful and arrigant women ever, she talks over everyone when she's speaking with a panel no one else can get a word in at all she has such a huge mouth and most of the time she's lying or covering up something that her daddy did, Dick was Bush's main problem he may have done okay without Dick running the show, WAR MONGER !!!!
I'm a Democrat and I want Gov. Crist to win! but he has to drop the Republican Title run as an Independent!! and he WILL win.. as for Kendrick Meek blahhhhh..Gov.Crist is a Democrat at heart and Republican in Name only!!!
Who cares what this irrelevant old man does or thinks!
if cheney endorses ANYBODY that's a perfect reason for NOT VOTING FOR HIM!!!!!!!!!!!
Who cares what he says. He should go do to himself what he told Ried to do. He and Bush "effed" up the country to near total disaster already.
Crist must be more than annoyed at being abandoned by his former friends. I hope he runs as an independent. Maybe Florida will end up with a rational Senator for a change. (Not that people from Texas have ANY right to criticize the Senators from other states. Just look at what we elected: Cornyn and Hutchison).
That's a surprise? Two of the most conservative nut-bags on the planet. Of course Cheney supports Rubio.