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Flake cuts ad for Biden: 'Character' matters

Former GOP Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFormer GOP lawmaker: Republican Party 'engulfed in lies and fear' Grassley to vote against Tanden nomination Klain on Manchin's objection to Neera Tanden: He 'doesn't answer to us at the White House' MORE (Ariz.) has filmed an ad for former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenThe West needs a more collaborative approach to Taiwan Abbott's medical advisers were not all consulted before he lifted Texas mask mandate House approves George Floyd Justice in Policing Act MORE, using the spot to urge Republicans to put "country over party" and support the Democratic presidential nominee.

“I’ve been a conservative Republican my entire life,” Flake says at the start of the ad released Wednesday, noting the first time he cast a presidential ballot was for Ronald Reagan in 1984. “I’ve never before voted for a Democrat for president.” 

“But this year, principle and conscience require me to do just that,” the former elected official continues. “I’m voting for Joe Biden.”

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Flake, who served in the Senate from 2013 until his retirement in 2019, encouraged voters to ask themselves, "Who will best restore decency and civility to the White House? Who can I be proud to tell my children and grandchildren I voted for?" As Flake speaks, images of his family appear onscreen.

“My fellow Republicans, it's not easy going against the head of our party. Believe me, I know,” Flake said. “But I also know that character, moral leadership, integrity are values that we cannot put aside when we cast our vote for president. If we hold onto these values, our country will be better for it and so will our party.”

“And please, don’t let anyone tell you that by casting your vote for Joe Biden you’re somehow not being conservative,” he added. “This year, the most conservative thing you can do is to put the country over party. That’s what I’m doing. I hope you’ll join me.” 

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The ad comes after Flake formally endorsed Biden last month, criticizing President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse passes voting rights and elections reform bill DEA places agent seen outside Capitol during riot on leave Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee MORE’s behavior by saying that "governing by tweet is not conservative, it’s not even governing.” 

“Some of my conservative friends will say, ‘Yes, we don’t like his behavior but he governs as a conservative,’ ” Flake said at the time. “Here, today, I will say to my fellow conservatives … indifference to the truth or to the careful stewardship of the institutions of American liberty is not conservative."

“Given what we have experienced over the past four years, it’s not enough just to register our disapproval of the president, we need to elect someone else in his place,” Flake added. 

Flake’s endorsement came along with support from several other former Republican lawmakers, including former Sens. John Warner (R-Va.) and Gordon Humphrey (R-N.H.), who is now an independent, and former Rep. Charlie DentCharles (Charlie) Wieder Dent22 retired GOP members of Congress call for Trump's impeachment Seven Senate races to watch in 2022 The magnificent moderation of Susan Collins MORE (R-Pa.).

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Earlier this month, Cindy McCain, wife of the late GOP Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainWe need an independent 1/6 commission that the whole country can have confidence in GOP targets Manchin, Sinema, Kelly on Becerra The Memo: Is Trump mounting a comeback — or finally fading? MORE (Ariz.), was also featured in a Biden campaign ad, saying that Biden would be “a president who will honor our fallen heroes.”

In the 60-second video, McCain described Biden’s friendship with her late husband in the Senate, where they served together for years, saying it was “a friendship that you don’t see too often.”

“They’d fight like hell on the floor, and then they’d go eat lunch together,” McCain said as photos flashed of Biden and her late husband. “They always put their friendship and their country first.”