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. Rhonda

    This is FANTASTIC!! He won't let them keep him down!!

    OBAMA 08

    April 17, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. Andrew

    Yes we can....God is good, and worthy to be praised
    Senator Obama we are all praying for you and know you will make all of us and America proud when you become President of this great country....forget about the naysayers and the kitchen sink and the dirty politics that has absolutely nothing to do with managing this country's economy and infrastructure...remember "we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us"

    April 17, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  3. lynette

    Excellent!!! Obama08 YES WE CAN!

    April 17, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  4. Bratt

    Three more days and the BIGEST LIAR IN AMERICAN POLITICS – HRC will be history!!!!!
    Go Barack, Go!!! We love you, boy!!!

    April 17, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  5. Bitter Granny

    Hey, that is great. Maybe with all these old used-up politicans backing him, he won't fall so hard. After, we sure would not want his ego to be smashed, broken or sprained.

    He was so UNPRESIDENTIAL during last night's debate. He almost answered a question.

    April 17, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  6. Vero

    Yeah the only reason Republicans are endorsing BO is because he'll be easier to beat in the general election, FOOLS!

    April 17, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  7. Adam

    Wow...that's almost as fatal as the Bush endorsement.

    April 17, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  8. Mike in Columbus

    Can all these HRC supporters who keep saying they will vote for McCain... blah blah blah..., please get over yourselves.

    Just go do it. Vote for McCain and more dead American soldiers and more wasted billions. Sell out on our children's future out of spite, you pompous bunch of hypocrits!

    Who do you think you are scaring?... For every moronic (mind you not all of them are, just the most of the ones posting in these forums) HRC supporter that switches to McCain, 2 more open-minded and intellegent republican and independent voters switch to Obama.

    So just go do it, and spare us your inflated view of your own self worth.

    April 17, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  9. Gabriela


    April 17, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. Obama supporter always

    Actually, the Republicans were urging voters in Texas to vote for Hillary because they know she is a joke and will get walked-on by McCain. Anyone who makes up stories due to "lack of sleep" needs to go rest in a nursing home. Does she think she'll get a vacation in the White House???

    Obama 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 17, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  11. Wallace

    That's so cool. He can unite the old, young, rich, poor, democratic, republican, black/white, hispanc/asian, and so on. Hillary doesn't have nothing on this unless McCain endorses her but he couldn't do because he's running against her.

    April 17, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  12. John

    The whole debate last night was set up to trap Obama, but he handled himself very well.
    Keep the endorsements coming....................................................................

    April 17, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  13. Hillarysupportershaven'taclue

    Ruckelshaus doesn't want McCain as the countries next President neither does he want Hillary. He knows Obama will unit the parties that is why he is supporting him. This man has been in the White house with a lot of shady Presidents I think he see's that Barack is a man of substance. Of course he's not perfect but he has Americas best interest at heart. Hillary only wants to make more money. The Republicans want Hillary to win because she helped them get rid of the only candidate they couldn't beat then they will slaughter her in November. They have a plan, I heard this from a reliable resource.
    My candidate+ your candidate =Democratic Party we have the same goal and that is to take back the Whitehouse.

    Barack the Whitehouse!!!!!!!!!!

    April 17, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  14. Jen

    I see the angry people are out in full force! The name calling is so atrocious. BTW, the debate was not biased. For once, Obama was asked serious questions. And, as for polling, it changes every minute. If Obama wins, I will vote for him, but he sure is not my first choice. He claims to not partake in negative campaigning, but he is fine with his campaign doing it. You gotta love it.

    Go Hillary!

    April 17, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  15. Val, Atlanta, Ga

    First of all I could care less about a Flag Pin I did not see anyone with one on last night the debate was very bias. Sen. Clinton is so hell bent on telling people they can not get rid of there family memebers they why didn't they ask her why didn't she get rid of Mark Penn do he have some secrets on her, he's not a family memeber. Why didn't they ask her about NAFTA I was very dissappointed in the interview ABC should not host another one EVER.

    April 17, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  16. Mike O

    The debate was a setup. Obama was supposed to retaliate to the Clinton attacks but........Obama was wise enough to understand the intelligance of the people. Obama knew the people would see the game plan and look to see Obamas reaction. Senator Obama gave Clinton all the rope she needed and she took it. She wrapped herself in the attack mode. She aimed and fired her guns. Like all great warriors, Senator Obama saw the waste of energy, picked his target, waited for the right moment and controled the debate, made Clinton yield "yes, yes, yes" and is preparing for the final Democratic conflict.

    He has more resources because the people have given them to him, he has more support because the people give it to him and Senator Obama will win the Democratic convention and go on to win the presidency because the people of America are no longer willing to not pay attention. The people of America are awake and ready and willing to demand a government, Of the People, For The People and By the People. HHUURRRRAAYY!!!!!!!!

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

    Now this is funny!! It wouldn't surprise me if a slew of Republicans endorsed Obama-–he is the easiest to beat!

    It doesn't take a genius to figure out reason behind this endorsement!

    April 17, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  18. honkey white guy from cali

    Look at all the Hillary supporters typing in all caps! sour losers! Why is CNN not posting anything about the 5 new endorsements including the HRC supporter that switch from her to the winning team.

    Go Obama 08

    April 17, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  19. Sherman

    Well ,Charlene 1st you need to know how to spell Hillary before you can vote for her ...
    2nd if you or any other Democrat are that "petty" to vote GOP because your seriously flawed ,divisive and liar of a would be President didn't win the nomination you'll deserve just what you get in another 4 years of GOP policies that only serve the wealthest of our citizens. Grow up
    This isn't about "my choice didn't win so i'll show you" ...i'll just throw my vote to the opposition ...this about who can best bring this great country of ours together in order to address the issues that we as a nation face and if you seriuosly think that any GOP Rep. or Senator will work with President Hillary Clinton just remember that this grind lock that we see in Washington didn't start with a Clinton ,but it was perfected during the Clinton years .And yes it isn't her fault that the GOP has this disdain for her and her husband ,but that doesn't make it any less true that it exists and if she is elected will only serve to further alienate the other party that is needed in order to get anything done in Washington.

    April 17, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  20. John

    How does a Republican vote for Obama? If you truly are a republican in your views Obama is about the last person you want in office. There is nothing halfway moderate about any of his policies. Be careful with his talk.

    April 17, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  21. Andrew

    To all the nay sayers

    PHILADELPHIA, PA—Former supporters of Senator Clinton from across Pennsylvania today declared that they have switched their support to Senator Obama due to Clinton’s increasingly negative campaign tactics. Their announcements come on the heels of a debate in which Senator Clinton launched a series of misleading, personal attacks and reports that her campaign is now running a nearly 100% negative advertising effort on television.

    The newly minted Obama supporters noted that Senator Clinton’s tired, say-anything attack politics had let Pennsylvania down for decades and praised Obama for putting forth a positive vision for change and focusing on the issues that matter to them.


    April 17, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  22. PA Woman

    HAHAHAAA to all the salty republicans who lost one and to all the tart Billary supporters who wish they had one. Just as Ross Perot stated: "You're going to hear a large "SWOOSHING" sound, and it's going to be all of Americas jobs leaving the country." He was warning us of the mistake of NAFTA. Now that large "SWOOSHING" sound will be the crushing force of Super Delegates careening to ....

    OBAMA 2008/2012

    April 17, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  23. Texas4Obama

    Senator Obama WILL BE our next president of the UNITED States.

    I was happy to hear Hillary say last night that she will support him after he receives the nomination. The most important thing is that the democrats get back into the White House.

    April 17, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  24. Dina Phila., Pa

    Message to Charlene (Hilary Supporter)

    How about you learn to spell the name of the person you plan to support. Senator Hillary Clinton, N.Y. I do not support her, but I do know how to spell her name correctly. You spelled it wrong twice, kind of like she told he Bosnia lie, twice. My mistake, she told the lie 4 times to the American People. Please don't post messages if you do not know how to spell.

    "Obama 08"

    April 17, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  25. Rena

    Charlene you are the fool. Vote for McCain I hope you got your finances in place for the next 4 years. People like you are crazy; I mean think Hillary and Obama pretty much have the same views and policies. So why vote for someone who is totally opposite of what you what or do you know what you? You only hurt yourself. Remember Obama don't need us we need him.

    April 17, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
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