April 17th, 2008
04:40 PM ET
10 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. Elizabeth


    You can vote for Barack Obama and end this now. We must have a honest person that people trust and that is not Hilliary.

    You don't owe the Clinton's anything and they don't own you.

    Another Republican for Barack Obama and proud of it. I will be making another donation.


    April 17, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  2. Eric - Chicago

    Fred: "LOL, Watergate….just like Obama…all crooks!!

    I can still see Richard Nixon saying " I am not a crook"!!! LMAO"

    Did you even read the article????
    "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."

    This is a man of honor and principle, not some crook.

    April 17, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  3. JP Montana

    Line up a few more Republican, Obama. They looove you! You think the question were tough last night, Obama man. Just wait. It isn't over yet in this primary. Neither is it the end of what will come out concerning you and all your little friends. Spend your money supporters. Love it and so does the Republicans.

    Gees Obama is a crying little baby and such a wimp! Oh, but that the MO...play the Race card...poor me.

    Who is the better man?

    Hillary of course!

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

    Hillary supporters:

    Unless you want to spend another 8 years being angry and bitter about who is in the White House, you might want to lower the hate rhetoric and get on the O train. The Clintons had their shot, move over or get on board. Just stop fighting, it's really unbecoming and will make you and your lives uglier.

    April 17, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  5. Frank (Cleveland)

    A Message for all the Hillary supporters who continually make the statement "If its not Hillar, Im Voting for McCain" you understand the differences between Obama and Clinton on the issues are VERY VERY Small.

    However, if you prefer to vote for McCain, thats your choice. Its also a statement that your Happy to be a Republican. Just understand that as you watch the Bush Administration on the News each night ...remember to say it to yourself ... "I'm a republican"

    Say it enough times, it won't sting so much come November

    April 17, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  6. John

    Oh, if ABC would have discussed Hillary’s lies and ethical issues from those Watergate days. Now that is a REAL ISSUE.

    Same with the Peter Paul vs Clinton case where Hillary tried to hide illegal contributions. Case is expected to begin on April 25. NOW that is a REAL ISSUE.

    April 17, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  7. Haneefah

    This is great. This shows that Senator Obama can bring the parties together, Repubs, Independs, Dems. We are all one in the real world and people just need to see that! Hillary Clinton is still distroying the Democratic Party with her backstabing and negative talk. She is making people really dislike her and not want her in the oval office, because, she is divisive and she is showing that "IF SHE CAN'T WIN THEN OBAMA WON'T WIN" if she has anything to do with it. That's why she said that McCain will make a better President than Senator Obama. No one is talking about that. Also she always says how she and McCain are GOOD FRIENDS! I stopped my family (7 children and 93 close friends) begging them not to vote for her. If she turns her back on her own Party what will she do for us?


    Stone Mountain, GA

    April 17, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  8. logic

    Thanks Kim
    I liked the logic of this post:

    The two individuals that were pardoned did their time and they did not make statements after 9/11 that they should have done more harm.

    There is a difference. Ayers never did any time and he made these statements after 9/11. He and his wife hosted a fund raiser for Obama.

    Why didn't MSM ask Obama about Ayers until ABC had the guts to do it? Now Obama supporters, in typical fashion want to try and flip it as a Clinton Issue.

    Hillary is not accountable for the pardons of ANY past presidents.

    Bill Clinton Pardoned them he was the President not Hillary Clinton. You can't have it both ways either she was an intricate part of the Administration or she was not. If she is going to take the bad, then she needs to get credit for the good also.

    Which is it Obamabots and CNN? Which direction do you wanna go in, a pardon is not a friendship, when is Ayers going to do his time?

    April 17, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  9. Rigged Debate?

    George Stephanapolous worked in the Bill Clinton Administration and I heard that he was promised a position in Hillary's Administration too, if she were to win. Considering his pathetic performance in last night's debate, I tend to believe that this is true. Conflict of interest? Absolutely. You can complain to ABC News at: http://abcnews.go.com/Site/page?id=3052660

    April 17, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  10. cheeky of PA

    We heard you the first time, charlene ... you're voting for McCain. Who cares!

    April 17, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  11. TN_Dave

    Wow, Obama transends! This is good news.

    April 17, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  12. love it

    What a unifyer...

    that's my boy.

    April 17, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  13. linda

    More media misinformation about how unlikely it is that Hillary can catch up in popular vote – she is currenly only 94,000 votes behind Obama and will likely take the lead after Pennsylvania, Yes, Florida and Michigan count – popular votes were certified in those two states and the DNC cannot scrub those although they may not seat the delegates selected as a result of those votes. This still doesn't change the fact that there is a popular vote total that the media is hiding from the public.
    It amazes me how one sided in coverage CNN and several other news agencies are. Slam Clinton, poor little B Obama….How about asking Obama….how much did Rezko actually finance for you and how much was related to your being elected? Your spiritual advisor makes Bin Lauden look as though they believe the same things, and what about your friendly neighborhood terrorist, Bill Ayers? Your campaign admittedly said you were friendly and on 9-11-01 this fool said he was not sorry for the bombings he started in the US. And he is a professor.. Please, only in a campaign….I believe Obama should get out before he gives this election to McCain

    April 17, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  14. Santiago

    Its so over for Hillary, she needs to go back to NY, everyone is rally around Barack because he trying to bring a new kind of politics, its time to turn the page, its time to write a new chapter in history

    yes we can

    Obama/Richardson 08

    Obama/Gore 08

    Obama/Sebelius or Obama/ Webb

    April 17, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  15. Sensible Thinker in CA

    Hey Matthew,

    You just go on believing that Obama is just a "puppet" strung to more powerful Washington insiders.

    All I can say is, I'd rather have a "puppet" President who somehow still manages to speak frankly and HONESTLY about issues that actually matter, than a President who blatantly lies, attacks, and seeks to BLAME others when under pressure.

    Sen Obama is the refreshing, charismatic and galvanizing leader this country has seen since JKF. You ought to find a way to appreciate him and his positive laedership message - he's going to be your next President.

    April 17, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  16. Justo - Vancouver

    Now what HILLARY? Please quote me one single influential republican that has switched sides for you?

    April 17, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  17. CP -TEXAS

    Independent for Hillary, Pittsburgh –

    Doesn't read the whole article , probably got one of them there "Adjustible Rate Mortgages" and they are losing the house.

    Read the article, and know your history!

    Obama is uniting the country, if you can not see this you are blind.

    HRC is going down.

    OBAMA 08'

    April 17, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  18. Oberli Susannab

    Jan, Fred
    Do you not know who Ruckelshaus is? Man, that's bad.....
    I am Swiss, and I know it.....
    It's non of my business, but: GO OBAMA

    April 17, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |

    Who cares? BHO is going to loose, now he is reaching for Republicans???

    April 17, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  20. Ralph Nader


    April 17, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    Awesome news for Obama supporters.
    Coming on top of this endorsement.
    Carter won for Obama the biggest endorsement of all
    that of HAMAS.
    Ahmed Yousuf speaking on behalf of Hamas said
    " Obama is the Guy with the Vision "
    Vow, what an endorsement !.

    April 17, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  22. Chris, Middletown, CT

    I'm a Republican....and I have contributed to Obama..and plan to support him (never Hillary....ever)

    April 17, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  23. Paula

    I want to talk about the flag pin controversy..where is Clinton's pin????? Is this a gender issue where only the men get called out for it? The debate was biased and reminded me af a KKK lynching. My gosh ABC looked like hacks. . CNN cannot be beat for political coverage.
    Any endorsement is a good thing..except Jimmy Carter.. I wish he would have supported Hillabeans instead.

    April 17, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  24. Steve

    Hey CNN, my dog (who is a hard-core, far-right Republican) just endorsed Obama. Where's the story on the Ticker?

    Who cares that this old dinosaur from the second-worst administration in US history (the current one being in first position) endorses Barack? It's nonsense. Why is anyone listening?

    April 17, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  25. enomisa


    ABC was not biased like the cable networks who worship Obama. So they asked real tough questions of BOTH candidates.

    Hillary kicked Obama's butt last night so all the Obama supporters are trying to build him up again in any stupid way they can.

    Yes, go back to the past to make your message of the politics of tomorrow stick.

    Yep same old politics.

    The hype of hope.

    April 17, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
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