"In the 2012 election cycle, Americans are looking for strong leaders who will restore optimism, make tough decisions and guide the country in finding real solutions during these turbulent times. Dick Lugar has proven his ability to be a positive force for our American principles and for our party. As such, I am proud to support his bid for re-election," Rice said in a statement. 

Lugar credited his close relationship with Rice during her time in the Bush administration for her endorsement.

"As chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I coordinated with Secretary Rice to build more robust American diplomacy with objectives of reducing terrorism and foreign conflicts, avoiding U.S. military engagements and preventing the loss of American lives and resources," Lugar said in a statement. "Along with our mutual friend, President Reagan's Secretary of State George Shultz, we continue today to advocate for strong U.S. leadership and partnerships around the world. I am honored by Dr. Rice's ongoing friendship and support."

Also helping to draw Rice is the promise of attending football's championship contest. The former secretary of State, an avowed football fan is a mainstay at Stanford Cardinal games — where she now teaches — and said her dream job is commissioner of the NFL.

Rice will help Lugar build on his already commanding money advantage, attending a fundraiser to benefit the incumbent senator. But Lugar is still looking at a tough primary, with Murdock making hay over a series of centrist votes by the senator — and the fact that Lugar has not maintained a home in Indiana for more than 30 years.

But a Public Opinion Strategies poll released last week by the Indiana Values super-PAC — an outside group helping Lugar's campaign — showed the senator held a general election advantage over Murdock among Indiana voters. According to the poll, Lugar would lead presumptive Democratic candidate Rep. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyGOP sees fresh opening with Dems’ single payer embrace Trump steps up courtship of Dems Trump having dinner with Schumer, Pelosi on Wednesday MORE by a 58 percent to 32 percent margin, while a Murdock-Donnelly matchup would split voters at 42 percent each.