April 17th, 2008
04:40 PM ET
7 years ago

Watergate-era Republican backs Obama

Wiliam Ruckelshaus endorsed Obama Thursday.
Wiliam Ruckelshaus endorsed Obama Thursday.

(CNN) - From the politics/strange bedfellows file: Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama has won an endorsement from Republican and former Nixon Watergate figure William D. Ruckelshaus.

Ruckelshaus was serving as deputy attorney general in 1973 when he made history as part of the infamous Saturday Night Massacre. He and his boss, Attorney General Elliot Richardson, were fired after they refused Nixon’s order to dismiss the independent counsel investigating the Watergate break-ins.

The former Nixon FBI director and secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency hopes to help Obama defeat Democratic rival Sen. Hillary Clinton in the May 6 primary in Ruckelshaus’ homestate of Indiana. The state has been a longtime Republican stronghold in presidential politics.

“Senator Obama’s ability to attract not only Democrats, but also Republicans and Independents, makes him uniquely qualified to build the broad coalitions needed to address our nation’s challenges,” said Ruckelshaus in a statement.

Obama leads Clinton in Indiana 40 percent to 35 percent, with a 25 percent of respondents saying they’re unsure who they’ll vote for, according to a Los Angeles Times poll conducted April 10-14. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The Obama campaign said it was embracing the endorsement because of Ruckelshaus’ "understanding of the importance of transparency,” which he gained during the tumultuous years of the Nixon administration, said Obama spokesman Kevin Griffis. Ruckelshaus remains a known and respected name in Indiana, which may draw independent voters to Obama, Griffis said.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (468 Responses)
  1. Marc, Tacoma Wash

    Oh my god, how can this not be good news and a blow to the Hillary camp. Cheryl for Hillary where are you? You have been so negative against Obama, but people are seeing the truth about Hillary. She has lied about NAFTA, lied about her feelings with the Colombia free-trade deal, even though she spent some of the 800,000 dollars that they gave Bill. There involvement with China, and just released, documents showing Hillary writing to Canada about NAFTA and letting them know that it is just talk during this campaign. Wake up PA, don't let this crook win and be closer to helping you loose your job. Remember, she is a big supporter for H1B visas.

    April 17, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  2. lezah2

    I understand that Republicans have been saying publicly for the last week that they are now really looking forward to having Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee. Before they were secretive about it. Now they can't contain their joy. They believe as do most voters that Senator Obama will be the Democratic nominee. I can't believe we're going to have four more years of Bush policies (more exactly, lack thereof). :(

    April 17, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  3. Ann Wright

    Don't worry, despite the objectives of Hillary Clinton comments, she can't win so she is trying her best to bring you down. Be careful with that LIAR!
    But don’t forget she is your friend, so she says. I admire the way you handled her during the Debate. You are well spoken and educated, and some people can't stand the direction in which you are headed. You deserve to be President. You have been through a lot.

    I know this campaign has taken a lot of strength, being tested, questioning your political knowledge. It's going to be all right. Stand up and keep your cool.

    You are my sunshine, and a lot of other people. I will be at the poll bright and early to vote for you, and don't let no one break your spirit. Bless you, President Obama!

    April 17, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  4. bernj

    ABC news = Fox News = tabloid journalism. What a shame.

    April 17, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  5. gary

    SUSAN GROW UP. YOU JEALOUS PUP. WHAT COMES AROUND GOES AROUND. WAIT UNTILL O.B. GETS KNOCKED OFF HIS HORSE. YOU ALL WILL BE WHINNING THAN. THE BEST ONE WILL WIN ,AND IT SURE THE HELL ISNT O.B.

    April 17, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  6. WIll

    I disagree, The GOP would rather run against HIll. That's what you see on Fox, it's all about Hill. But their are 336 super delegates and 566 state delegates left. Hill will need to win 60% and Obama 44% to lock the nomination before the convention. By advertising that Nixon era GOP'er are for Obama, is meet to dissuade Obama supporter. The second reason the GOP'ers want Hill to keep it up, is because it shortens the time frame for when McCane will have to really start running for pres.

    April 17, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  7. richard

    people who are more interested in rezko, wright, ferraro, penn, norman hsu etc and not the running candidates are very foolish. lets stick to the issues. even republicans are sick and tired of the old politics thats why they are going for ... YES WE CAN.

    April 17, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  8. Sherylanne

    The Republicans know that McCain vs Obama; that they will have a definite win so let's boost up Obama to make sure he's the opposition. Smart plan... and it's working!!!

    I am a Democrat who will switch party lines if Obama is the nominated candidate.

    April 17, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  9. Kari

    “Senator Obama’s ability to attract not only Democrats, but also Republicans and Independents, makes him uniquely qualified to build the broad coalitions needed to address our nation’s challenges,” said Ruckelshaus in a statement. -

    Very true statement! I am a Republican and I support Obama. He is the only candidate I have donated money to as well.

    April 17, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  10. Sharon

    Republicans are only voting for obama Because they know they can't beat him in the General. LOL

    Strategy for a sure win for the Republicans

    Obama is worthless and should never be President

    April 17, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  11. ***AMERICAN***

    Here is an honest politician. He was almost fired for standing up for what he believed was right. Great role model for all politicians.

    April 17, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  12. j williamson

    He's just mad because Hillary refused to join "Democrats for Nixon" in 1972. Instead, our Hillary worked for Sen George McGovern (now beloved elder statesman of the Democratic party).

    April 17, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  13. MillionMan, Washington, DC

    All these Clinton supporters who claim they would vote for McCain if she does not win the nomination kill me. You would betray democratic party ideals due to a dislike of a self-made person like Obama!!?? No. You're just all racists! Admit it...you'll feel better.

    April 17, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  14. Florida For OBAMA

    yes
    we
    can!

    April 17, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  15. CommonPeopleWorth109MillionDollars

    to hillary supporters who question why obama can draw republicans into his winning bid: SHE HERSELF endorsed mccain over obama. why would i vote for someone who thinks that if SHE HERSELF isn't the nominee, then mccain should have it?

    April 17, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  16. juang

    For all you counterfeits saying you will vote McCain if Hillary doesn't win, you are FAKE!

    You are not even voting for Hillary. You are deliberately blogging away at that old song because you want to intimidate Obama voters to jump ship.

    You are planning all along to vote for McCain but want to act like Hillary is the only candidate that can win when you don't even plan on voting for her.

    The reason you want Hillary to win is because McCan CAN beat her but he CAN'T beat Obama.

    Stop the games because we are not moved, persuaded or convinced.

    It's down to desparation time now and Hillbilly and mayor McCheese are scrambling to find more mud to sling.

    Hillary probably would line up with him. What in the world would that be called?

    Grandpa and the Liar, with the sequel, the Liar goes to Jail.

    OBAMA ALL THE WAY!!!

    April 17, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  17. EBC

    Climb ABOARD the "O" Train cause it's heading to the White House!!

    Otherwise the rest of you can ride in the Kaboooooosssss in the BACK.

    April 17, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  18. Kathy, Texas

    You'd have to be a simple-minded oaf to think that they are "backing" him because they think he'd be the best for the job. They are backing him because they KNOW that they would and will be able to walk all over the egotistical stuffed shirt named Obama.

    NObama '08

    April 17, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  19. Chut Pata

    Too bad Ruckelshaus was fired for showing integrity in Watergate scandal. Otherwise he would have definitely gone for the Whitewatergate scandal and then the Zippergate scandals and we would not have seen Billary in the race.

    Persons with integrity, be they Dems or Republicans, are welcome in Team Obama.

    April 17, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  20. Tim

    It amazes me how no matter who it is that endorses Obama CN makes a big deal out of it .Yet the masonist union in Pennsylvannia 45,000 strong endorsed Clinton and there wasn't a darn thing mentioned about it .Very typical how this election coverage has been the past year .And of course this comment won't get posted !!!

    April 17, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  21. Raphael

    Birds of a feather stick together.

    NObama and Nixon.

    Hillary '08, if not, McCain '08.

    I'm part of the Democratic base that will vote for a Republican for the first time in my life if left with a choice of NObama or McCain.

    hhmmmm, maybe Nader – at least he has a track record.

    April 17, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  22. jaci in oregon

    “Senator Obama’s ability to attract not only Democrats, but also Republicans and Independents, makes him uniquely qualified to build the broad coalitions needed to address our nation’s challenges,”

    he is sooo right about this, and the most important thing is that in november we do not get stuck with a president mccain. all you people who voted for bush, once or twice, i sure hope you learned your lesson and vote democrat no matter what your party affiliation.

    mccain=US attacks by iran; further money problems for you and me; more money squandered on the failed occupation of iraq; more of his fellow politicians being physically attacked and more women being called the c*word...

    April 17, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  23. Pure Amazement

    Noah,
    Correction... Report did not say they were friends but since Hillary supporters always want to twist the facts, I guess I can understand why you got confused.

    Cheryl for Hillary,
    What a negative tone you are taking?

    April 17, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  24. clfelton

    I rather vote Mccain then wake up in hell.. with Obama holding the folk.

    Hilary 08

    April 17, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  25. JCPeres

    If Obama can get the Police Unions and the Republican death penalty lobby to agree to video tapping confessions as a win-win, he can work other miracles.

    I feel that a few rotten apples are trying to spoil it for good Democrats and Republicans that actually want to get things done and that are willing to compromise in order to do it.

    You can't always get what you want but everyone can take incremental steps towards improvement. It is better than doing nothing at all which is what we have now.

    April 17, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
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