MIAMI — Call it Rudy's revenge.
Former New York City Mayor and GOP presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani on Monday endorsed Marco Rubio in his U.S. Senate Republican primary race against Gov. Charlie Crist.
"This is an easy choice, not just for Republicans but for Floridians. He is the one and only candidate we can trust to represent Republican principles in Washington," Giuliani said during a 20-minute speech at the Renaissance at the Gables restaurant in Coral Gables before a standing-room-only crowd of about 250 people.
Giuliani's endorsement came as no political surprise. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Crist tossed his support behind Sen. John McCain just days before the all-important Florida primary.
Giuliani, who bet his presidential campaign on winning the Sunshine State, was relying on the then-popular Florida governor to help him in the all-important Florida primary in January 2008. Giuliani ended up a distant third behind McCain and Mitt Romney, garnering just 15 percent of the vote. With his presidential hopes dashed, Giuliani dropped out of the race.
On Monday, Giuliani praised Rubio without knocking Crist by name.
"Never before has there been a bigger dichotomy between Republicans and Democrats than now," Giuliani said. "We need leaders who will stand up for freedom. Marco is the only candidate in this race that has a record of doing so."
Giuliani went on to say that the country was headed to the "wrong destination" under President Barack Obama. "They've taken over our automobile industry, our banks, our health care, our student loans. We need somebody to stand up and restrain government spending, push for lower taxes" and who "stands up to terrorism," Giuliani said.
"When Marco gives you his word, he keeps it," he said. "We need a person in Washington we can trust."
Sharing the stage with Giuliani and Rubio was Jeb Bush Jr., the son of former Gov. Jeb Bush.