Cantor endorses Marco Rubio

House Republican Whip Eric Cantor endorsed former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio’s Senate campaign this morning.

The theme running through Cantor’s endorsement of Marco Rubio was that we need principled leaders to  make the tough decision:

America needs energetic, smart, responsible leaders to start making sure that Washington once again starts working for the people, and Marco will play a big part in that effort.

During the conference call announcing Cantor’s endorsement, I asked about the impact of the support the National Republican Senatorial Committee now gives Rubio.

Cantor replied that now is the time for the country to turn to the new generation of leaders that Marco Rubio represents to take on the challenges and make the tough decisions to assure America’s continued leadership in the world.

In his response, Rubio said that when he started this campaign, he wanted the next Senator from Florida to be someone that he could be trusted to stand up to the Obama agenda and offer alternatives. Rubio is the only candidate in this campaign who will do that regardless of which label the candidates embrace.

Cantor also took Governor Crist to task for his on again off again threats to campaign as an Independent, his support of the Obama stimulus and his recent veto of an education bill. Most of Cantor’s criticism of Crist concerned the Independent threat:

We need an entirely different kind of leadership, a principled leadership and an individual that will keep his word to the voters.

As someone working in Congress to change the direction we are headed as far as an agenda is concerned, we have to stand firm on principles. Running as an Independent means throwing away years and years of involvement in our party and the policies of limited government, lower taxes, free markets, individual responsibility, and more freedom just to stay in office. The people of this country do not need another U.S. Senator who will do that.

Right now, what we need are principle-based leaders who will be there to make tough decisions for the people of this country.

It is good to see the Republican establishment finally getting on the Rubio bandwagon. Too bad it did not happen sooner. Those of us fortunate enough to have been at the RedState gathering in Atlanta have known since last summer that Rubio was likely to be the Republican nominee.