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. Ross in MD

    Welcome Obamacans!

    April 17, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  2. Matthew

    Ruckelshaus is a director for the Pharmacia Corporation. You Obama people need to do better research. Just another endorser for Obama to keep pharmaceutical prices high. I'm a democrat, but I don't think either of our nominees can be listened to on issues like NAFTA, Universal Health Care, or Foreign Policy. They lie about some, and are too inexperienced in others.

    All the Obama '08 supporters, and Clinton '08 supporters should realize we let sex and race get in our way of finding a substantial candidate. I was for Hillary. Now I'm tired.

    April 17, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  3. Hillary is a Joke

    HAHAHHAHAHA you Hillary supporters think Obama is an Easy target, Hillary has a track record twice as bad.
    Its been shown she cant even take care of her own marriage, her own state that she is a senator for.
    Her husband, although a man I respect, was IMPEACHED!! have you all forgotten that???
    Shes a liar and a terrible on at that.

    She had an early lead cause everyone say Clinton and thought of BILL, the only reason she has lasted so long is because of the last name, If she kept her maiden name, Obama would be the nominee by now and this whole thing would be done with.
    Now she is just wasting our time.

    OBAMA '08

    April 17, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  4. linda

    I dont think Rev.Wright is on the right track when he spouts off stuff such as D-n the USA and I think that whole church is filled with anti-American hooplah.Or should I say anti-white.I've not been to his church but I can say that I dont think that God would appreciate what is being preached on his behalf.I believe that Mr.Obama is filled with exactly the same morals as Rev.Wright.I just hope Mr.Wright keeps going on with his so called preaching because it gives us an insight to what Obama is really about.My vote goes ..... Hillary, A true American.

    April 17, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  5. GO ABC

    Thank you ABC for doing what MSNBC and CNN won't do: ask the tough questions fairly of both candidates.

    Frame the debate as part of the constitution, and not as a popularity contest.

    For holding BOTH equally accountable.

    Bye Bye CNN.... Hello ABC

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

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

    CNN can never post this.
    Because CNN is a biased network

    April 17, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  7. The Truth

    Any of you Obama supporters read the mailers that were sent to PA homes? Obama is not negative???? This man is a smooth talker and a con man. he says something and does something else. he cannot be trusted. i have never seen so many negatives in one mailer.
    No holds barred. Obama whines about being attacked and then gets insecure because he can never win in any debate. debates actually display his lack of knowledge and total ignorance.
    therefore Obama realizes he cannot win on his skills, goes back and sends out negative attack mailers against clinton.
    thats who he is and the earlier people realize this, the better we will be.
    this is about all of us. we want someone who knows what they are doing. America cannot do another experiment and cannot trust someone like him to run the country. hope this reaches at least a few and makes sense to you.
    Change the direction in PA. Ensure that Obama does not even get 30% of the votes

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

    You are an honest man. God bless you.

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

    Well, HrC did endorse Obama last night, so why not?

    And to John, who so eloquently claims that "Any red-blooded American who would back Obama, is no American at all!", listen up: probably not everybody likes your version of what it means to be a "red-blooded American."

    April 17, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  10. Ron L

    This is refreshing..now I give the Clinton campaign 48 hours to find them a Republican endorsing Hillary.

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

    For someone so against "old style" politics, he sure has a lot of "old style" politicians in his corner.

    April 17, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  12. John c WA

    OK. Am I the only one who thinks it is sexist that only men have to where flag lapel pins? Hillary does't wear one on her pants suit.

    April 17, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  13. SMART1

    Oh !!!!!!! You mean no one knows that George Stephanopoulis is friends with Shawn Hannity of FOX news who hates Obama. Sean Hannity hounded him into asking those questions especially the one about Ayers. Shawn has been trying to get that story in the main stream media for months now. George is also friends with the Clintons because he was the news anchor on Whithouse hill when Bill Clinton was in the whitehouse so the "debate" (for lack of a better word) was a "tabloid interrogation" that was set up by Shawn Hannity who is a Republican and is a extreme leftist. Shame on George!!!!!!!!!! He wasted Americans time to do a favor for his buddy and I hope he regrets it because everytime I see him on TV I will turn him off.

    Oh and as far as Obama not doing wel, I am sure he was in shock over being asked questions that had nothing to do with how he is going to get us out of this mess. It threw him of of his game which I would have been to if I thought I was going to da debate that ended up being a personal attack. It would have been fair if they asked Hillary how she could connect with the people of America when she and her husband make 20 million dollars a year and Obama made 4 million.

    The Clintons made 5 times more than he did last year

    Bruce Springsteen and Ruckelshaus Rock on Obama!!!!

    Pleeeeease post this it is good stuff !!!!!!!!

    April 17, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  14. melikeyhill

    obama had plenty of opportuinities to attack hillary on bosnia e.t.c but like a wise president, HA he restrained himself, that is the kind of good judgement we need from the next president, good judgement and common sense!

    April 17, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  15. Damian

    Three things....
    1. In the past many Clinton supporters (fewer Obama supporters) were willing to vote for McCain if Clinton didn't win. They were not looking at the facts, they were not looking at the issues...they have their resons for supporting Hillary and we can leave it at that.

    2. Now, after all the negativity and divisivness being spread by the Clinton campain, more and more Obama supporters that would have gladly voted for Clinton would she have won the primaries are deciding that they would no way vote for her. They would prefer to not vote at all, or some even to vote for McCain who seems a lot more scrupulous that Clinton.

    3. So many Clinton supporters look at endorsements like these and say that the repiblicans want Obama to win, because he would be easier to beat. The republicans (ask Rush) want this to continue as long as possible and want Hillary to win. She is running on expereince as he strongpoint, and can't hold a candle to McCain. So that arguement makes no sense. As I said before, the Obama supporters are the one who a paying attention to the facts and not to the lies ( or even the lies about the lies that Bill Clinton tried to spin)

    April 17, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  16. Dave, PA

    Another meaningless endorsement. Imagine, however, the reversal of the comments above if he had endorsed Clinton. I wonder if CNN would have even posted the story.

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

    I'm not sure if having Nixon's people backing Barack is really a good idea. Don't get me wrong, it's great he gets their endorsement and all but I wonder if this could hurt him in the long run, which I hope it doesn't.

    Obama 2008

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

    Last night's "debate" was nothing but a joke for the first 45 minutes. With all the important issues, we got questions about flag label pins! Please, I don't drape myself in the flag; am I not patriotic? Those first gotcha questions were a disgrace to journalism and ABC should apologize. And, gee, do you think George Stephanopolis might still have ties to the Clintons? To think I debated between voting for Hillary or Obama. I'm in PA and I'm for Obama, and I'm voting.

    April 17, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  19. Pro Obama, not Anti-Clinton

    I think it's silly for people to say if their candidate doesn't win, then they'll vote for McCain. How much sense does that make? Hillary and Barack are alike policy wise in many ways, but you'd rather pick someone who wants to continue the horrible ways this country has been run for the past 8 years. I love Obama and I think he'd be a great president. But if he doesn't get the nom, don't look for a McCain sign on my lawn. Use your brain people and stop acting like an elementary school student !! Good luck to either Hillary or Barack, though Barack is my candidate!!!

    April 17, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  20. Tim

    Great endorsement!!! Two men that don't play pointics as usual. Go Obama!!! This will be over in June and then Senator Clinton will endorse senator Obama.

    April 17, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  21. Soba, Clifton, NJ

    Charlene, April 17th, 2008 2:27 pm ET

    Good Riddance, because I dont think Hillary will win the nomination. If for whatever reason Obama is not the nominee, I WILL vote for Hillary. By the way, I am strong Obama supporter.


    April 17, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  22. Anthony-Minneapolis,MN

    Hey all you Clinton Supporters, When Obama is the nominee in November not if, go and vote for McSame. Those of us independents and Obama Democrats don't want, don't need you. This is a movement that has been started with his campaign and positive "YES WE CAN" change things individuals is what we want and need. We are sick of you saying you hate Obama, he isn't president material, he is snake oil salesman, etc etc. Fine,! Then go vote for McCain, we DO NOT, I REPEAT DO NOT WANT OR NEED YOU. Wallow in your own stupidity and ignorance and cling to a political past best forgotton and long gone.

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

    Of course he endorses Obama because Hillary was on the democratic committee to impeach Nixon long ago.

    April 17, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |

    If you have an open mind then you need to click on the link below.....


    April 17, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  25. Jack in ND

    The Hillary supporters on this forum are the best thing to happen to Barack Obama since James Carville.

    Keep it up , people. It's really helping!

    April 17, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
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