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. enomisa

    No no no...
    Hillary supporters please do not vote for McCain.

    Request an absentee ballot and write Hillary In. The vote will then count.

    April 17, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  2. Allen, Lubbock, TX

    charlene by all means vote for McCain. and keep your mouth shut for four years as he continuesthe very policies that you are against! Hillary is done, if she is more important to you than the party, then you are not really invested in the party or its interest anyway. i am an Obama supporter that will be supporting either one of them. that is what a true democrat does.

    That is why we lose elections..if we don't get our candidate we pout and don't vote while republicans TOW THE LINE!

    April 17, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. Rosemary Storaka

    What other relationships do you need people to understand from whom Obama gets the air beneath his wings? Howard Dean is out of touch with his statement a few minutes ago that McCain can't win. If Obama is the nominee the list of those refusing to support him will definetly give McCain the percent needed to win. There would be no choice with that matchup.

    GO PENNSYLVANIA! End Obama now! The youth vote dies fast in a national election and women will NOT support Obama.

    Hillary is the ONLY real answer!

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

    I don't want a good guy like Obama to win because America doesn't deserve a decent President. We want Hilary and her big fat LIES and 100 million dollar ELITES wages. Her move for Nafta was great it made a lot of people fully unemployed. Bill i can see why you hooked up with Lewinsky. Dude you are the best. Why are you with Hilary???? She won't make man. YOU ARE LOOKING AT PRESIDENT MCCAIN. It's nice to have another 4 – 8 years of the new Bush Administration. President McCain you are welcomed. I hope the stock market doesn't crash and i hope the dollar doesn't go below 10cents making us a 3rd world country. I hope that we continue with Free trade to the Asians and other countrys. I hope that the Chinese and Japanese buy us out. All i am waiting for is the Japanese signs to go up all over the place. We have sold America out fully. We don't own America no more. Foreign investors bought us out. So keep doing the Free trade guys. Sell the USA fully out to the Asians and other countrys. There is nothing like true Patriotism from a Military Leader!!!

    April 17, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. Val, Atlanta, Ga

    Adam Los Angeles, LOL now you see what kind of people that are voting for Hillary, maybe he did not UNDERSTAND the article.

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


    April 17, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  7. M.S. Indiana

    Welcome Sir William D. Ruckelshaus., did you bring any friends ?

    go Obama

    April 17, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  8. Kazeleov

    Hi webmaster!

    April 17, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  9. Who are we the USA

    WOW!....Americans are speaking; I'm ashamed at ABC for that debate last night.....40min attacking and bringing up NON-issues.....A flagpin? Rev. Wright? Bitter comments? and more and the only attack on Hillary was the Bosnia story.....You have got to be kidding me....that was not a debate and the moderators clearly showed partiality.....Would someone explain to me how if we finally have someone that can UNITE us from all walks of life why wont we embrace it. We cry everyday about change and change stares us right in our faces, but we're so racially, conservtively, economically BITTER holding on to our PAST, we rather divide than unite.....Mccain is a another bush term and hillary wants us to go backward to the 90s....What about the future?.....for once we have a chance to live up to our name THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!......the more you attack Obama the more people flock to him.....ever wonder why? everyone can't be stupid.....When the enemy comes in like a flood, than the Lord will lift up a standard!................

    April 17, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. Jean

    Great!! GO OBAMA!!!!!!!!

    April 17, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  11. Dr Charles

    This is an endorsement from PATRIOTs who stood up to Nixon. They join Springsteen.
    Of course if you are republican partisan you would want Hillary to be the nominee. She will not get more than 30% of Independent vote. Fox news tries to push Hillary's case.

    April 17, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  12. Never posted

    Come on CNN...
    It's not that hard...

    POST my comments.

    I am not hateful, name-calling or vulgar...
    I just believe Hillary shone at the first fair debate that focused on issues rather than personality.

    April 17, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. alice2

    This must be a good thing. Ruckelshaus no doubt has influence in Indiana and Barack has the ability to reach out to Republicans, unlike Hillary, who is the OLD way of politics of tear down & destroy your own party for your own personal gain for power. We are moving on with Barack & Change We Can Believe In.

    April 17, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  14. ihatewhitey@obama.net

    Why wouldn't a crook endorse a fraud??

    April 17, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  15. TSD from Houston, TX

    If Obama is so unelectable, why is it that the Republicans are attacking him so much? McCain and HRC are going after Obama with a venegance. Republicans have even admitted that Obama is the one most likely to be able to beat them in the general election.

    April 17, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  16. tjoey


    April 17, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. John

    There is no problem with anybody endorsing Obama.The misconstrued idea of Obama winning because of these endorsements is false and far fetched.Obama is damaged goods.Hillary is in an upward motion and will defeat Obama.

    April 17, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  18. BTHogan


    Ruckelshaus stood up to Nixon and lost his job because of it.

    CNN's headline isn't as clear as it could be.

    April 17, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  19. Marcy Spencer

    Still seething over the stupidity of the "lapel flag" issue during ABC's vapid excuse of a "debate" last night, I log on to CNN and lo and behold, an uplifting bit of news: William Ruckelshaus comes out for Sen. Obama and makes my day! It is uplifting to witness an man like Ruckelshaus, someone who embodies quality character, judge a candidate "worthy" on the quality of that candidate's character. For those who are still fixated on a stupid pin, take a look at most photos of George Bush. A pin is just a pin. Anybody can wear one and those, like Sen. Obama whose character is reflected from within rather than from his lapel, are those we should follow.

    April 17, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  20. Tim


    I'm sorry to say this, but I read your multiple posts every day and you must be a moron. You are probably the type of person who is interested in whether or not Obama wears a flag on his label. Try to step outside yourself for a moment.

    Do you have blinders on as to who Hillary really is? Do your research and come back with an objective decision instead of being a cheerleader just because she is a woman. If you do your research and come back for a vote for Hillary, then good for you.

    April 17, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  21. Rosemary Storaka

    With respect to your concept called__polling–At this moment up to 10,000 women per state have already vowed never to support Obama for anything, yet along President. My guess could now be placed at 100,000 votes and there has yet to be any real movement to solicit anything. It's just happening through Obama's own arrogance. Women represent the largest voting block in the country and no poll can as yet reflect just how many of us there who, contrary to Howard Dean, will not change our minds in November. We are an intelligent lot that believe in more than party unity.

    April 17, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  22. Joe

    You all need to start considering the possibility that your candidate of choice may not win the nomination. This bitter superfluous rivalry is only hurting our future. It's disgusting. Wake up.

    April 17, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  23. John

    For the enlitenment of the Hillary crowd.
    1) A.G. Ruckelshaus REFUSED to bow to the Nixon pressure to sack the watergate investigator.
    2) He was fired from his job for being straightforward and Honest just like Obama.
    3) This Republican with integrity and Honesty is supporting Obama.

    Itegrity and Honesty are not Clinton traits they continually trade in dodgey deals and what seem on the surface money laundring so much so it has even alerted the Federal Election Commission.

    Obam 08

    April 17, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  24. I get it

    I understand the importance of transparency.

    I see right through your lies and hype, Obama.

    April 17, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  25. Jason -CA

    Simply put:

    "Don't bite off your nose to spite your face".

    I am a Obama supporter but if my choice doesn't get the nomination I'll be voting for Hillary.

    If you're a Dem and your candidate doesn't win don't vote for the "enemy". Makes me wonder if you were a Democrat to begin with....

    April 17, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
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