Dick Cheney has endorsed Rand Paul's opponent in the fight to replace retiring Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), implying that Ron Paul's son is not a "real conservative."
"I'm a lifelong conservative, and I can tell the real thing when I see it," Cheney said in a statement throwing his weight behind Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson. "I have looked at the records of both candidates in the race, and it is clear to me that Trey Grayson is right on the issues that matter -- both on fiscal responsibility and on national security."
The meat of Cheney's statement focused exclusively on national security. The former vice president implicitly accused Paul, who opposes the Patriot Act and supports U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, of treating defense as a "political game."
"The challenges posed by radical Islam and Al Qaeda are real and will be an on-going threat to our domestic security for years to come. We need Senators who truly understand this and who will work to strengthen our commitment to a strong national defense and to whom this is not just a political game," Cheney said. "Trey Grayson knows we must stay on offense in the fight against terrorism by keeping the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay open and trying terrorist suspects using military tribunals, supporting the troop surges in Iraq and Afghanistan, and maintaining the Patriot Act so we can effectively monitor the activities of terrorists abroad."
Cheney's intervention may not make much of a difference. Paul appears to be dominating Grayson in the polls with less than two months before the primary election.
If Paul wins, Cheney will be 0 for 2 on endorsements. The former vice president backed Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's challenge to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, but Perry beat Hutchison by 21 points earlier in the March GOP primary.