GOP senator: Cheney's comments about Crist 'probably not' helpful

A Republican senator said Sunday that former Vice President Dick Cheney's comments about Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) were "probably not" helpful for the GOP. 

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), who has fundraised for Crist's Senate campaign this year, said that Cheney's statement attacking Crist as a Republican was damaging to the party. Crist faces an uphill battle against former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio (R), who leads him by double digits in the GOP primary.

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The centrist Crist has toyed with the idea of dropping out of the primary and running as an independent against Rubio and Democratic candidate Rep. Kendrick Meek.

"Lately it seems Charlie Crist cannot be trusted even to remain a Republican," Cheney said in a statement. "I strongly urge him to either stay in the Republican Party or drop out of the race. The only winners from an independent bid would be Barack Obama and Harry Reid."

Asked if the statement was helpful for Republicans, Chambliss said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday "Probably not. But in politics, everybody is entitled to their own opinion.

"You jump on one side or the other in these races and that's probably what happened," he said. "It's certainly stepped up the rhetoric."

Cross-posted to the Briefing Room