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. Doug Graves

    "Because people need to know if their Preident's a crook." – R.M. Nixon

    April 17, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  2. fred

    LMAO That is who Obama reminds me of Nixon!!!!

    I am not a crook, liar, I didn't know my preacher said those things, I don't take lobbist money...NIXON...reborn!!

    April 17, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. Rhonda


    Capital gains is a tax you pay on interest and such..So yes the money you invest as already been taxed but not the capital GAINS–the interest............Understand???

    April 17, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. MMASH in NC

    Thank You! We all know that no Republican or Independent will vote for a petty, spiteful person like Clinton. And neither will most Democrats – Check the latest polls. So how does that make her more electable?

    Obama 08 – YES WE CAN

    April 17, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |

    All the good people behind Obama, Thank You Ruckelshaus; You are great American!

    OBAMA 08

    April 17, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  6. rhonimus

    This is great news! It shows that this candidate (Barack Obama) can work across party lines.

    Obama 08 and 12!

    April 17, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  7. James

    Obama: So what? Enough of endorsements & big speeches! Meet is PA & fight to the end! And yes, pls. close the deal! Even for 1 big blue swing Democratic state pls!

    April 17, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  8. hibbiejibbie

    Yes another one!!!

    April 17, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  9. DS

    Oh boy, those HillBill supporters are worse than the republicans. If she doesn't make it, i will vote Mc cain.... what a bunch of bull. People who are arguing that way would vote for Mc Can't anyway. Same thing with Obama was brought down yesterday. He stood by his way not to run a dirty campaign. We will leave that to HillBill and cohorts.
    Btw, nice job George, this was the final in your coffin as an unbiased journalist. You really belong into the hall of shame.

    April 17, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  10. tjoey

    You know what after watching ABC dispicable cut down of Barrack Obama last night I think the American Public and World Public understand America's rotten hypocrisy of racism!!!. I think they need to be boycotted by all minorities. White American has wronged all minorities not just blacks and it is a continuation of that policy by ABCs Media. I thought FOX network was bad but ABC is the worst network. Stephanopolus,Hannity & Combs, ABC,Fox: THE MOST RACIST COMMENTARY EVER – ABC IS THE ALL TIME WINNER AFTER LAST NIGHT. It's good to see that not all Whites see eye to eye. Hilary is a big fake artist and LIES all the time. Maybe she and McCain deserve one another. Maybe it might be a good thing for Barrack to loose. McCain and Hilary can get married !!!

    April 17, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  11. Henry Farrell

    Let's get one thing straight: if someone refuses to wear an American flag pin, then they absolutely, unequivocally hate this country and want to see the terrorists win. In fact, anyone who refuses that strongly to wear an American flag pin, actually is a terrorist.

    April 17, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  12. Pete

    Chalk me up as another conservative for Obama. He's the first politician I've ever seen practice what he preaches. Hillary will do or say anything – even directly conflicting things – to steal this election. McCain is just as liberal as the democrats, and more warmongerish.

    btw, there are more conservatives that will vote for Obama than lunatic "dumbocrats" that will switch parties and vote for McCain if their Queen doesn't get her righful nomination.

    April 17, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  13. nate

    Obama cant beat McCain? Next you'll be telling me my NY Giants could never beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl...

    April 17, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  14. Dori in AZ

    Ruckelshaus survived the Nixon years and remains respected and well-liked. He stood up to Nixon when Nixon was caught in his crookedness. I imagine he'd stand up to Bill and Hillary in theirs!

    Thank you, Sir, for adding your powerful voice on behalf of the best candidate we have had in decades!

    Si se puede! Obama 2008!

    April 17, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  15. O-08

    GO OBAMA!! This is just the begining, more republican and independent will come soon!

    April 17, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  16. 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 want or do you know what you want? You only hurt yourself. Remember Obama don't need us we need him. McCain definitely don't care what you want.

    April 17, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  17. Itiolair Gates

    It's great when those connected to Republican administrations endorse Obama; it strengthens his argument that he appeals to a wider range of people than Hillary (or McCain, sorry, Lieberman doesn't count). I wonder if he'll have to explain his endorsement to George and the rest of the media?

    April 17, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  18. Nate

    Hillary is who we thought she was. She's smart, motivated, eager and overall a good person. She won the debate last night. She typically wins the debates- but that's not why she's losing. She's also seems less than trust worthy, self serving and willing to sacrifice everything for herself and Bill. This is why people are not voting for her.

    People wanted a debate about the issues- Obama suggested that's why he was there. Hillary can probably articulate herself in debates and win on the issues- SHE CHOSE NOT TO- she chose instead to go negative and attack Obama. People don't want to hear that. If you're better prove it. But by attacking and going negative she weakens and divides the party. She is who we thought she is. That's why she's losing.

    April 17, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  19. Terrence W from NC

    It's funny that CLINTON supporter keep saying that Repubs are supporting Obama because they know he will get beat. Obviously they and YOU are not up to date on almos every last poll out there. Every poll puts Obama doing better than Clinton against Mccain. Why aren't you saying the same for the few repubs that are backing Clinton. Why do they do it? Besides, which candidate had a radio personality call for Repubs to back them because they are the weaker candidate in the general?

    Back up what you say with FACTS. The fact is: America is tired of the Clintons.

    OBAMA 08

    April 17, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  20. Allen, Lubbock, TX

    fred & Adam: he wasn ot a part of water gate, he refused to FIRE the independent counsel that was part of the watergate investigation and thus got fired by nixon, actually read the article before running off at the mouth!

    April 17, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  21. Jeff, Hampshire, IL

    How many of these posters actually read what they're posting about? It's laughable. So many are too quick to condemn the "other brand" without informing themselves. This is what's dividing the party! Do your research before going off half cocked about something you know nothing about. We're trying to elect the most important official in the world. Stop dividing, start uniting.

    Obama '08

    April 17, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  22. Lindy

    Hillary Clintion won the debate last night, without a doubt. Obama danced all around the questions. All I can say is whoever is voting on these polls, is either the elite crowd or they spent time in the backseat of Obama's limo. If Obama wins, it will be the first time in history, that we have a black muslim gay person in charge of this country. Who also admits to taking drugs and is lacking in morals. If we want change in the Whitehouse, we need to vote for new senators and representatives. NOW WE WILL HAVE CHANGE. These negative criminal friends that Obama has, you can bet they are friends of Sen. Kennedy, Sen. Kerry, Sen Richardson etc.. Want change don't vote them in for selling our country out. Obama wins the primary, VOTE FOR Sen. McCain. All Obama does is lie to the people and refuses to wear the flag on his lapel???????? WOW!!!!! Could this mean he does turn his back, when they salute the American Flag? CNN wants Obama to win, because even though Hillary is smarter, unfortunatly, shes a woman. White men in particular have a problem with that. Obama DID PLACE HIS HAND ON THE KORAN. I WATCHED IT LIVE ON THE U.S. SENATE STATION. GOD HELP THIS COUNTRY. WE HAVE BEEN SOLD OUT BY OUR MOST ELITE. CHANGE YOUR VOTE CHANGE THE SENATE SEATS. VOTE FOR CHANGE!!!!!

    April 17, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  23. Karen Sullivan

    Vote for McCain, you get more of the same; another Bush for another 4 years. If you want to fight the corrupt machine, vote for Obama or Hillary. Either one will produce much needed change. McCain would be an utter disaster for this country.

    April 17, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  24. Beebe

    I think it's rediculous when people who claim to be liberals say that will vote for John McCain if their Democratic candidates aren't the nominee. You people sound rediculous. You'd really vote for a man who claims to be a true patriot yet would rather leave troops in harms way than bring them home. Not to mention give them more GI money for college and healthcare and homebuying. You people sound stupid. I wish race and gender weren't all we, as Americans can think about and that we could finally come together and end the madness that was the Bush administration and look toward a future that includes the best for all of us.

    April 17, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  25. Shekky

    Hillary just needs to give up now!

    Obama 08!

    April 17, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
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