Bob Dole endorses Marco Rubio after Jeb Bush drops out

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Bob Dole Endorses Marco Rubio for President

Former Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole was sad to see his "good friend" Jeb Bush suspend his campaign for the White House over the weekend, but has already picked a new candidate to endorse.

Dole, a former senator, revealed in an interview with ABC's Jonathan Karl and Rick Klein on Monday that he's backing Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida now.

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"He worked for my '96 campaign in Dade County, Florida, and so I've had an acquaintance with him way back in '96 when he was a hard worker. As much as I love John Kasich, you know, Rubio is probably a better candidate. And he's young," Dole said in the interview. "He wants to grow the party as opposed to Cruz. I don't know what he wants to grow."

Dole has not been shy about favoritism for more establishment candidates over conservatives like Ted Cruz already when discussing the 2016 campaign. Last month, he warned that his party would see "cataclysmic" and "wholesale losses" if Cruz were to become the nominee.

FLASHBACK: Check out Dole's 1996 campaign:

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Bob Dole endorses Marco Rubio after Jeb Bush drops out
ME.Dole1.Liddy.102796.MBÂÂ(Anaheim)ÂRepublican presidential candidate Bob Dole waved with his wife Elizabeth to an enthusiastic crowd assembled in the parking lot of the Anaheim Pond Monday afternoon. Dole and Kemp were stumping for votes in the mostly conservative Orange County. (Photo by Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 30: US Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole delivers his campaign speech at the Pontchartrain Center in New Orleans 30 October. New Orleans is the second stop of Dole's last campaign trip before the US general election, 05 November. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) (Photo credit should read J. DAVID AKE/AFP/Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 1053 -- Pictured: (l-r) Senator Bob Dole during an interview with host Jay Leno on December 16, 1996 -- (Photo by: Margaret Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 16: US President Bill Clinton (L) shakes hands with Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole 16 October at the start of the presidential debate at the University of San Diego. This is the last debate before the 05 November elections. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 17: Former US President Gerald Ford (L) introduces Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole (R) at a rally after the debate in San Diego, CA, 16 October. Dole was President Ford's running mate in the 1976 presidential election. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) AFP PHOTO J. David Ake (Photo credit should read J. DAVID AKE/AFP/Getty Images)
282077 04: (NO NEWSWEEK - NO USNEWS) President Bill Clinton and Senator Bob Dole smile October 6, 1996 in Hartford, CT. During the 1996 televised Presidential Debate, incumbent President Bill Clinton and Kansas Senator Bob Dole further publicized their Democratic and Republican platforms to the American people. (Photo by Dirck Halstead/Liaison)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - SEPTEMBER 3: US Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole (L) and US Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., (R) wave to members of the American Legion at the group's annual convention in Salt Lake City, UT., 03 September. McCain introduced Dole. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) (Photo credit should read J. DAVID AKE/AFP/Getty Images)
RUSSELL, KS - JULY 20: US Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole looks over a birthday cake baked for him by the citizens of Russell, KS., during a birthday party in Russell's Lincoln Park, 22 July. Dole celebrated his 73rd birthday in his hometown. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) (Photo credit should read J. DAVID AKE/AFP/Getty Images)
RICHMOND, VA - JULY 9: Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole holds up a campaign sign from his 1976 run for the US vice presidency with former President Gerald Ford after autographing the sign before departing from the Richmond, Virginia, airport 09 July. Dole stopped in Richmond to address the Virginia State Police. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) (Photo credit should read J. DAVID AKE/AFP/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MAY 26: Republican presidential candidate US Senator Bob Dole (R) listens in the background to campaign policy advisor Dennis Shea (C) during a roundtable discussion on domestic violence, 30 May at Chicago's Antonin Dvorak School with Illinois Governor Jim Edgar (L). Senator Dole stopped in Chicago for a day of campaigning during a four day swing throuhg California, Colorado, Illinois and Ohio. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) (Photo credit should read J. DAVID AKE/AFP/Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IA - APRIL 13: Republican presidential candidate US Senator Bob Dole (R) and wife Elizabeth Dole (L) react to supporters cheers during a 'Dole for President' rally at Hy-Vee Foods corporate office in Des Moines, Iowa, 13 April. Senator Dole is wrapping up a campaign swing before returning to work in the Senate in Washington DC. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) (Photo credit should read J. DAVID AKE/AFP/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 15: Republican presidential candidate US Senator Bob Dole looks over the deli counter at the Pennsylvania Macaroni Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,15 April. Dole stopped at the store for a quick visit while campaigning through Pennsylvania before returning to Washington to resume his duties in the US Senate. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) AFP PHOT J. David Ake (Photo credit should read J. DAVID AKE/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 16: Senate Majority Leader and Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole shares a laugh with former President George Bush at Dole's office in Washington. (Photo by Harry Hamburg/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
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"I question his allegiance to the party," Dole said of Cruz, according to The New York Times, noting that Cruz has a habit of using the word conservative over "Republican" and complaining that Cruz is an "extremist."

"I don't know how he's going to deal with Congress," Dole added. "Nobody likes him."

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Dole suggested in that same interview that Donald Trump would be a better option than Cruz, noting that his past as a businessman could probably help him score the types of bipartisan deals that are sometimes necessary.

In Monday's interview, Dole warned again that he thought his preferred candidate could easily lose to Trump, saying that if Trump manages to sweep next week on the so-called "Super Tuesday" of primary contests, "Then I think you start printing the inaugural invitation."

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Dole's backing wasn't the only endorsement Rubio picked up Monday afternoon. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson tweeted his support shortly after the news of Dole's support broke.

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