(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
If anyone would recognize "an unprincipled opportunist" it would be dick!
Pot – meet kettle.....
THIS is the big announcement from Cheney mentioned on your main page??? Of course he's going to endorse Rubio. Crist is about to go Independent and Rubio is cut from the same cloth as Darth Cheney.
Dick Cheney calling someone an 'unprincipled opportunist' that 'can't be trusted'? ummm, Haliburton anyone? Pot.Kettle.Black.
unprincipled opportunist, huh? What a coincidence, that's how Dickey, georgie and the rest of the "Our gang" group conducted themselves! What a farce!
It's as if Obama has destroyed the GOP just by existing. Get a grip, fellas, your job is to help us run the government by the consent of those governed, not impose your Party's will on the unbelievers and infidels. The position is Senator, not Archbishop.
Ouch. Talk about a hit to one's campaign! At a time when there is a backlash against Republicans who are the opposite of True Conservatives, he gets endorsed by Dick "Deficits Don't Matter" Cheney, a guy who stood strong in oppositition to the Constitution as Vice-President. Good luck Rube.
Talk about the endorsement from HELL!
If Crist was smart he would capitalize on the public's complaint that Washington isn't listening. Whenever the GOP tries to hang Crist with the label of "governing according to the polls" Charlie should come back with the statement that "absolutely I'm listening to the polls. I'm listening to the people and I'm being responsive to what they want." There was an article in the paper yesterday with comments from some GOP leaders down here in Florida saying that Crist should be loyal to the Republican party. He should respond by saying his loyalties are to the people of Florida – not any particular party.
The only people Cheney should be endorsing are the next cell block prisoner representatives in Leavenworth.
An endorsement from a unindicted war criminal. Hard to see how that helps Rubio.
Gosh, the only worse endorsement right now for Rubio would be from President Obama himself...Hey that is a thought, Obama could endorse the GOP candidates and assure total collapse of the two party system.
Well here's another non news event. So does this mean that Rubio endorsed by Cheney makes Rubio a war profiteer as well. He is also schooled in the latest of Republican nonsense like cheney?
Cheney still barking like a rabid pit-bull, lacking the class, dignity and sense to just retire in silence.
Moderate Republicans: THIS IS YOUR CUE. Tell this egotistical jerk who thinks his ideas are too good to share with the public that democratic governments don't work that way. This guy is way beyond "family values". This guy thinks that governing a country (or a state) is a covert operation. Plebeians have no business participating.
This will be worth only that ignorant 22% of Americans that didn't finally realize what a sociopath Cheney is. I'm taking that number from his lowest poll ratings. This basically inverts to show us that 88% at least got that he was a complete and utter failure. I don't know what percentage of that group sought to have him tried for war crimes, but it was clear, only a small portion of America stayed in his corner by the end. He is an unindicted war criminal.
Rubio, just like Kay Bailey Hutchison, I'd not be too excited. She didn't do so well with his endorsement here. We'll see if your rabidly partisan party can save you.
Should be obvious that Rubio is a big time crook too if Cheney is endorsing him. I was hoping the big news was that Cheney was announcing he was FINALLY going to keep his mouth shut.
"Congress is already overflowing with politicians who need pollsters to tell them what to think."
On this limited point, I agree with Cheney. His view is in sharp contrast to so many on the right, who take issue with the health care bill by pointing to certain polls that they say show that the majority of Americans don't want it.
"Cheney has big announcement"..... well shoot. I was hoping that he was going to announce that he'd turned gay.
Cheney has been out of washington less than two years and suddenly, he's a populist pundit? What a joke.
So Bush & his Dick.....what did they do for 8 yrs...made money on oil and all Iraq contracts .....who is he calling opportunist? The ney sayer party and Dick should be kicked out.... What is good for main street is good for US...bring back jobs to US from China all those moved there in last 10 yrs
An endorsement from that crook is actually a condemnation.
Wow, an endorsement from Dick Cheney. That's like listing Charles Manson as a character reference.
This man has no shame, if Washington is broken its because of people like you. You're nothing but a war mongering opportunistic devil, who has sold his soul ( if he ever had one) for oil. please retire to the Dark side already
Which pollsters were telling Charlie Crist that talking the stimulus money would be a good political move?
I mean talk about strength and conviction.
Someone endorsed by the devil shouldn't be elected into Congress.