Giuliani attacks Crist, endorses rival in Florida Senate race

Rudy Giuliani hinted Monday that his support for Marco Rubio in Florida's Senate GOP primary is a political payback.

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) supported John McCain in the 2008 presidential primary, something Giuliani made clear he has not forgotten.

The former New York City mayor blasted Crist on a conference call with conservative bloggers ahead of his campaign event with Rubio in Miami on Monday.

Giuliani said his endorsement goes beyond "whether Charlie Crist broke his word with me on several occasions; he did — that's the reality, that's the truth — he did break his word."

Giuliani downplayed any notion the endorsement had to do with his personal relationship with Crist, according to bloggers on the call, saying it "goes way beyond that."

"Whether I did have a history or not with Gov. Crist, in terms of him having broken his word, I'd be supporting Marco in any event," Giuliani said.

He also praised the former Florida House Speaker as "the future of our party." 

"Marco has shown throughout his career that he can be trusted," Giuliani said.

The Crist campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Crist's endorsement of McCain in 2008 was credited with helping the Arizona senator win the Florida primary, which helped McCain secure the party's presidential nomination.

Giuliani had banked on winning Florida as a way to breathe life back into his struggling presidential campaign. He had courted Crist for his endorsement and was thought to have it. But Crist stunned the political world when he announced at the last minute he was backing McCain. Giuliani's disappointing third-place finish in the Florida primary essentially ended his presidential campaign.

Hot Air's Ed Morrissey was also on the call and offered this take:

The Giuliani endorsement will make things a lot tougher for Charlie Crist, especially in attempts to paint Rubio as a right-wing extremist. Giuliani has a lot of support in Florida, and that will be one factor, but the biggest boost will come from Giuliani’s pragmatic standing within the party. Normally, one might expect the pragmatists to attempt to rescue Crist, but this sends a big signal as to where the core of the GOP wants to go in 2010.