You know, I’ve got to give Jim DeMint some credit. The dude speaks his mind. And not in that stoned on catnip way that Vice President Joe Biden is prone to. Nope. He blurts out crisp and clear soundbites that leave no question where he stands. I mean, when he says that a healthcare reform defeat will be Obama’s Waterloo, we knew exactly what he meant.

Now, he’s letting Florida Gov. Charlie Crist know exactly what he should do — Quit.

See, Crist is trailing badly behind DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund PAC-approved candidate Marco Rubio. Here’s what Jim had to say to CNN:

Sen. Jim DeMint said Wednesday that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist should abandon his Senate bid and endorse his Republican primary rival.

DeMint was asked about chatter that Crist, trailing badly against Marco Rubio in the primary, might decide to run as an independent instead. “I hope that won’t happen,” he responded.

“That is a sour grapes approach – when you find out you can’t win, you bail out just like Arlen Specter did in his [Pennsylvania Republican] primary against Pat Toomey,” DeMint said of a possible independent bid by Crist. “I hope that doesn’t happen in Florida.”

Wait a second. I don’t see a quote that DeMint actually said that Crist should drop out and endorse Rubio. Just a statement from a CNN reporter that the S.C. senator had said that. What gives?

Did the reporter not have his recorder on? Was she not paying attention when DeMint offered Crist his “advice”? Who knows?

Now, I don’t doubt that this is what Jim said, more or less. I may be in the minority here, but I think that journalists are a pretty trustworthy lot, at least when drinks aren’t involved. But, dude, we really need a quote here.

By the way, I should have a report up later today on DeMint and the prospect of him running for president in 2012.