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.
"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:
"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."
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.
I'm delighted to support @marcorubio because he is best choice to keep our country safe. Will you join me and help Marco win Arkansas?
— Gov. Asa Hutchinson (@AsaHutchinson) February 22, 2016
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