(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
Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. "Crist is an unprincipled, opportunist".
Wow Dick....you have some nerve. My God....I can't believe you were VP for eight years and didn't talk your puppet GW into pressing the red button. Please go away to wherever it is people like you go after the body ceases to function.
It's all about standing up to Obama. Doing what's right for the country isn't even on the radar.
First Eric cantor now Darth Vader..........Wow Rubio you really attract some evil folks.........Charlie Crist needs to run as an independent
And why should Florida care that the nut that took us into needless wars thinks you are swell...........GO AWAY Darth
How is this a huge annoucement?
If I needed a reason to vote against Rubio, this is it.
Does anyone really want Darth Vader endorsing them?
At least Christ is not the pied piper follower that a lot of repulibcans are now. Tea Party should back Chist because of his independant thinking.
What a surprise – the thought leader of the Republican Machine supports the endorsement of the Republican Machine
Who ever Chenny is for; people would be smart to vote for the other guy. Anyone who would want to go through more of the same, of the 8 years under Bush Chenny, didn't live in the same country I do. Never again.
This is a "big announcement"?
You would have expected anything else?
"I am turning myself in for crimes against the United States." – Now THAT would be a big announcement!
The kiss of death.
Cheney a man of conviction.. HAhahahaha! this is so funny RUbio if i was u i would not be taking advice from Dark vader..I think Governer Crist has done a great job in florida. Just b/c he took stimulus money for jobs doesnt mean he is not a conservative. Cheney just go away please , you are killing me softly
Who cares what Cheney wants? He's yesterday's news and not worthy of mention in the main stream media. Please give us a break and quit reporting on hacks like Cheney and Gingrich.
Well that should do it for those of you in Florida as of yet undecided as to whom to vote for.
CHENEY APPROVES OF RUBIO THAT SHOULD TELL YOU NO TO!!!!!
Here's a novel idea: Rather than positioning every GOP candidate as "Standing up to President Obama", hence reinforcing the "Party of No" image, how about you recommend someone who "is principled, represents his state well, and does what is right for the American people?"
I guess that says it all – in the divide between the lunatic Right and the rest of America.
Well, I suppose Cheney would be an expert on the subject of
'"Washington is broken and Congress is already overflowing with politicians who need pollsters to tell them what to think," Cheney said of Crist'
I love it when elected representatives of the people are chided for caring what the people think.
""The only winners from an independent bid by Crist would be Barack Obama and Harry Reid," Cheney said '
That's an impressive statement considering neither Obama or Reid are running for Florida's senate seat.
Seriously, if this drivel is the best rhetoric Cheney can come up, then my opinion of Crist has just gone up.
Does that mean, Mr. Cheney, that you can't trust Crist to LIE for the Republican cause? If I lived in Florida, I'd be voting for Gov. Crist, no matter which party he runs in!
A Pig sticks up for a Pig. This is enough to make me back off on Rubio.....Neither represents me...
Cheney has all the class of Freddie Krueger and Michael Myers.
What a shame a person who should be standing trial for sacrificing thousands of American lives & a trillion dollar for his own agenda in Iraq disaster, is allowed to speak out in public & we are made to listen to him.
A petty crook being endorsed by an international criminal. Seems about par for the Republican party these days - one dirty hand washing the other.
Washington is broken. you should know cheaney ,you sure had a hand in helping to do that.
"Big announcement" had me hopeful he is turning himself in for arrest for treason and war crimes!