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Cheney Likens Meg Whitman to Reagan in California Gubernatorial Endorsement

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Meg Whitman (Jim Gensheimer/Mercury News)

Former Vice President Dick Cheney endorsed California gubernatorial candidate and ex-eBay CEO Meg Whitman on Sunday, writing in an op-ed in the Orange County Register that she reminds him of another Golden State Republican hero – the late President Ronald Reagan.

"Meg's conservatism is rooted in the optimism that people can achieve great things if government doesn't stand in their way. As I have come to know her better, I have been reminded of another great leader from California. As a young congressman from Wyoming in the 1980s, I was an unabashed foot soldier in the Reagan Revolution. I saw an inspirational leader lift the nation out of the malaise left behind by Jimmy Carter's liberalism. I believe Meg Whitman can do for California what Ronald Reagan did for America," he wrote.

Cheney added that he believes Whitman can bring the state back from the brink of collapse while upholding conservative principles.

"Meg is a leader who will not shy away from confronting the public employee unions. She has put pension reform at the center of her agenda. She is a firm believer in the power of tax cuts to strengthen small businesses and create jobs. She knows that welfare must be a temporary hand-up and not a way of life. She is committed to local control of education, and she has a strong and practical approach to securing the border and addressing the problems associated with illegal immigration," Cheney wrote.

Cheney, who took the Tea Party route in endorsing Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul in Tuesday's primary, went more mainstream in supporting Whitman, who was a co-chair to Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign. Whitman is in a three-way race for the nomination against state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner and Tea Party favorite Chuck DeVore. A state assemblyman.

While Cheney noted that it was not like Reagan to speak ill of another Republican, he had no love lost for Poizner who endorsed Vice President Al Gore in the 2000 election that sent George W. Bush and Cheney to the White House and campaigned with Bush administration critic Richard Clarke when Poizner was running for the state Assembly in 2004.

He added that he thought Whitman would be the toughest candidate in the general election.

"The unions and the Democratic donors invested in Attorney General Jerry Brown's success have already started to run misleading ads attacking Meg Whitman. This is a clear admission on their part that Meg is the toughest Republican candidate for governor," he wrote.

Click here to read the Cheney endorsement in the Orange County Register.