Former Vice President Dick Cheney said the Republican Party needs "to have room in it" for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
“I like Marco Rubio,” Cheney said Tuesday on "The Laura Ingraham Show," adding that the freshman senator was a “real talent.”
Cheney said Rubio, who came under fire from conservatives for his stance on immigration reform, was a rising star who came along when the party badly needed new blood. The senator was elected in the 2010 Tea Party wave election.
“He’s still green,” Cheney said. “This is his first term. He’s learning the ropes. But I think the Republican Party needs to have room in it for a man like Marco Rubio, with his experience.”
Cheney also referenced Rubio's heritage, noting the gap in Hispanic votes between Republicans and Democrats. President Obama won that voting bloc with 71 percent over GOP nominee Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential race.
“We have to actively and aggressively make sure we’re in the competition for new people coming into the electorate,” he said. “George Bush and I got 44 percent of [the Hispanic] vote. No reason we can’t do it again.”
Cheney, who was heavily involved in making national security decisions under President Bush, was pressed for comment on recent revelations that the NSA has spied on political leaders in allied countries.
But the former vice president refused to answer.
“That’s an area I’ve got to take a pass on. I haven’t been involved on classified information since I left the White House,” he said. “If there had been such a program, it would be inappropriate for me to talk about it; it’d be classified.”
He was also asked about the bungled rollout of Healthcare.gov and whether Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius should keep her job.
"From my perspective, no," he said about the secretary. But, he added, that the rollout’s highly visible shortcomings required somebody to lose their job.
“I had the responsibility [as vice president] of sending people packing. Lots of times it wasn’t necessarily their fault so much as it was the fact that we put them in a particular position... This has got to be one of the all-time most significant foul-ups and somebody ought to be held accountable," he said.
Cheney is on national book tour promoting his new tome “Heart: An American Medical Odyssey."