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. Dinesh

    After hearing Hillary Clinton sound like John McCain, republicans must be confused about who is the Republican they should be supporting, and now don't like any of their choices and choose Obama.

    April 17, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  2. kenny cole

    Another one for the day common PHILLY let close the deal on the 22nd OBAMA for real CLINTON for nothing.......................

    April 17, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  3. Mike in PA

    All you people with bruised egos who say you will vote for McCain if Hillary doesn't get the nomination, stop for a second and listen to what you are saying. You really want Bush politics in the white house again? Obama and Clinton share many of the same views, Obama just is doing it better. Get behind the democratic candidate that wins.

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

    I think it's great that another republican is crossing over to Democrats.
    I also switched. I can't see McCain uniting this country.
    Hats off to Obama last night for not attacking Hillary the way she attacked him. Abc should be ashamed for asking such stupid questions instead of concentrating on economy and war.
    I think people are getting so tired of news media running all the negative press.
    Obama is the only person that will change the politics in Washington.
    GO OBAMA!!!!!!!

    April 17, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  5. Go For What You Know

    Please vote on the positions and history of the political candidates!
    You can not believe it will be a good presidency if you vote for someone that makes you fell good with their rhetoric instead of with their proven record of getting things done.
    They have to be able to show they will be productive and helpful to their constituents.
    Do not let a lifetime of achievements and commitment to the democratic principles that has characterized Hillary be wasted upon someone that has mocked her from the beginning – HE TOOK MONEY FROM LOBBYISTS IN THE FIRST PLACE TO BE A SENATOR ONLY TO ATTACK THEM NOW??? His attack on "elitist" Washington is the ultimate hypocritical act!!!
    If you need any more reason to vote for the candidate that represents the important issues instead of the one that makes you feel good, look at 2000, 2004, and what that "charismastic" candidate has done to our nation.

    April 17, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  6. Praetorian, NY

    Keep Going Hillary!

    Keep doing what you're doing. Soon the whole world will be against you and you can fade into oblivion.

    April 17, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  7. Oleg, CA

    1. By now all decent people should also see the nightmare of Iraq war (or at least $$$10B/month, if nothing else). And the only candidate opposed the war from the beginning – when it could hurt politically – is – Obama.

    2. We had nightmare of a son of a president, now anybody wants a wife of a president? Back to royal families?

    Obama 2008

    April 17, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  8. enomisa

    Hillary the true leader finds her voice.

    She shone last night. What grace and poise and intelligence.

    She was brilliant.

    Just one problem...
    Just when I was starting to buy into the audacity of hype….I mean hope… don't parse my words.

    I am a uniter, I am…. You just don't understand me.

    I am a Christian, I am… I just practice a doctrine of Hate.

    I don't align myself with bad people…. no I don't… I don't really know them, I didn't have fundraisers at their homes… they didn't buy me a house.

    If you are not with me then you are all liars, liars pants on fire.

    Oh My…. Bye Bye 'bama

    April 17, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  9. Jane

    Everyone is rallying behind Obama!! The Winning Team!

    Yes We Can!

    Obama '08

    April 17, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. Andrew

    From the Washington Post

    You heard it here first. Council member and newly elected superdelegate Harry Thomas Jr., initially a supporter of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, is announcing in minutes that he will cast his vote at the Democratic National Convention in Denver for Sen. Barack Obama.

    Thomas received more than 100 phone calls and e-mails from constituents who feared that he would use his power as a superdelegate to vote for Clinton despite the city's overwhelming support of Obama in the Potomac Primary.

    "After meeting with the candidates and listening to my constituents, I have to honor the 83 percent who support Barack Obama," he said in an interview, referring to the results of the Democratic primary.

    April 17, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  11. Jimmy

    Obama is a better republican than a democrat anyway. The republicans have been helping him because they don't want to face Hillary in November. I'd bet that he want win Indiana in November if he beats Hillary in NOVEMBER. I believe that the "white" half of Obama appeals to caucasians and his black half appeals to african americans and other minority groups. Using language from the bible, I would that he were black or white, but since he is somewhere in between, we will all suffer.

    Hillary is a liar and decietful power hungry female

    McCain... When Nancy reagan endorsed him, she is one of a very few people in America who can truthfully refer to him as "Youngster"!

    Nobama 08
    No HillBilly 08
    No McBush 08


    April 17, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  12. mb

    I tell you. Obama can drag them out of the woodwork. Obama the great silver tongued liar. Spin artist primo. Get a lock and put it on his lips. He cannot tell the truth in church. Go Hillary. Defeat these unbalanced creatures.

    April 17, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  13. Head Shaker fro PA

    "If Obama wins then I'm voting for McCain!"

    Frankly I am getting tired of hearing this line. I support Obama, but if Clinton wins the nomination, I will still support her, because there are major fundamental differences between what Democrats and Republicans want. You have to stand up for what you believe, no matter who the representative is. 90% of what Clinton and Obama want to do is exactly the same. If you are so easily swayed from voting from one party to another, then you probably were not that commited to begin with. Voting in spite solves no of our problems.

    April 17, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  14. MD

    I am sure Hillary will find something nasty and negative to say about this endorsement. There again, is Hillary capable of anything else?

    April 17, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  15. AO

    If people would just read but I guess thats too much to ask given the poor state of our education system from K-12. This guy wasn't for NIxon. In fact, we defied Nixon which eventually lead to his resignation. READ PEOPLE!!!! READ!!!!

    April 17, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  16. Soba, Clifton, NJ

    Clinton's SD lead has been erased from over 100 to just 23. YES WE CAN!!!

    BO-08, 12

    April 17, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  17. Mc Bush-Hillary/08

    No big news cause there are plenty of them"Obama Republican" out there.
    By the way,ABC has just been moved down to Fox-like line up news channel. Congratulation to them.

    April 17, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  18. Van

    My compliments to Mr. Ruckelshaus. He sees the same Nixon type behvior in Hillary Clinton and wants nothing to do with it. It takes guts to come out and endorse an opposing party candidate, but it also takes honor. And as he has shown, he has a lot of it.

    April 17, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |

    the real change we can believe in

    April 17, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  20. olga gardiner

    People wake up.....this is why Obama does not like debate. He prefers to give speeches because he does not have toanwer any questions. He was very shaky last night, and unsure, he was hesitating a lot. Imagine when the Republicans will go after him in the general election. He is dead meat. Please people wake up......it is nice to have hope but you have to have substance. He does not have any substance at all. He is talking about change......what change.......Kerry, Kennedy, Richardson ......those farts wants high position that is all. Please wake up people.
    Hillary is far from being perfect (who is) but she is ready......ready.

    April 17, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  21. AO

    I meant "he defied Nixon"

    April 17, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  22. Mike in Columbus


    No... but you apparently are.

    April 17, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  23. J.S.

    Don't know that I would want his endorsement...

    April 17, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  24. Chris -Hemet, Ca.

    I think Clinton just went from "ready to lie on day one" to "ready to lose on day one."

    April 17, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  25. s

    Obama handled himself gracefully last night, Clinton showed herself to be bitter about being in second place. She takes personal jabs at Obama every chance she gets, because she feels this is the only thing she can do to win. I think one of the most ironic things about Sen.Clinton is she said if she were Obama should would not have stayed at the church were Wright was the Pastor, my question is where does she go to church? Also, who is her Pastor? This is why she can't get the conservative votes, and he can we know he attends church. The only thing the Clintons worship is power!

    April 17, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
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