(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
Dick Cheney needs to just shut up!!!
Who cares? The headline got me excited. A big announcement would be Cheney turning himself into the Hague for war crimes.
If there was ever a reason to doubt that Marco Rubio was destine to help bring America to ruin, it can be wiped away now. Way to go Marco, your dream of becoming Darth Vader is soon to be realized.
There's a big strike against Rubio. If Cheney likes him, that's enough for me to look elsewhere.
A Cheney endorsement being a "strong conservative" means a radical right, narcissist and racist who only wants money and power for himself.
That would be the ticket coming from that "evil" old man.
Well thats a heck of an endorsement from the man who directed the privious administration into the nations worst finacial mess since the depression of the 1930s. I hope that Crist goes independant and kicks Rubios butt. We need more indepentants that are not tied to the strings of the two disfuctional parties. No the Tea Party is not independant it is a right wing fring of the republican party !
It's not pretty when the sharks turn on their own...
The only winners from an independent bid by Crist would be Barack Obama and Harry Reid," Cheney said
Based on some of the dumb statements I read from Rubio, I think the residents of Fla might benefit from Crist staying in the race. Maybe we need to start titling this elections as a selection of who the political parties put on the ballot instead of a selection of our best and brightest.
Charlie Crist crawls out from under a rock everday to do his dirty work. Many hard working people at my job are about to lose their jobs because of that dirt merchant.
I would think an endorsement by Cheney would be a black mark rather than helpful.
A man who was greatly responsible on leading our country to near destruction has no creditibility, except with CNN,
Scare tactics...again! The Republicans eat their own!
That is as predictable as rhe sun rising in the east. Go away, or rather just go to jail.
The republicans have developed a palate for their young. It's nice to see them eat.
It's funny how one goes from being a potential VP running mate to being characterized as an opportunist whose election would only benefit Reid and Obama...especially since your talking about a current two term Republican governor!
Crist should run as an independent. The republican party no longer considers him a republican...why should he consider himself a republican?
This scumbag cheney is a war criminal and should be executed for war crimes and treason.
Is this supposed to be good or bad news for Marco Rubio??? Almost as toxic an endorsement as one from the devil himself. (I was going to write George Bush there but changed it).
talk about unprincipaled.....the evil emperor is still showing his true color.....bush cheney almost sunk this country, obama, biden are pulling it together......
Since when is Dick Cheney described as a "prominent" Republican? Citizen Cheney is nothing but a crook. He stole the American people blind and made millions during his term as VP. I would not support anyone he endorses.
Im sure somewhere in your heart you are convinced Americans love to hear your 2 cents. You have done so much for us. You started sending thousands of youngmen to war in iraq and afghanistan and promised to catch osama. I cant see how convincing yourself that since you failed the osama mission, may be obama drama is accomplishable.
Your Hipocrisy and loud mouth always brings the memory of thousands of young people you placed in harms way. Your current domestic jihad mission will blow up in your face too.
Ticker: Cheney has big announcement
Ah gee whiz I thought he was going to be throwing a tea party. BTW I hear Cheney watched the Winter Olympics but was dissapointed that "Snow Boarding" did not involve actual torture.
Who cares what Chaney thinks? If I was going for the seat, I wouldn't even want his endorsement. When will this guy go away? Enough already. Just stop talking!!!
wow i would not vote for Rubio after that endorsment.
Getting an endorsement from Cheney is only positive with the right wing crazies that support Rubio anyway. He will certainly turn off independents and moderate Republicans. And there are more moderate Republicans than Fox News will ever admit!
This is a big announcement? Who cares what this has been says or who he endorses? His opinion carries about as much weight as a pimple on a rat's butt? (to put it nicely)
Well! I know one thing now about this Rubio: he's a liar, a fraud, and a cheat like Mr. Cheney his mentor.
Chaney needs to go find himself a rocking chair to sit because I for one don't want's to hehear nothing he says know or ever