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. Sal in Phoenix

    Senator Obama seems to have the ability to attract criminals.

    April 17, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  2. Romulus, Michigan

    If you call having three to one fair. She can win all the debates but she will not win the nomination. The people can recognize a gang attack.

    April 17, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  3. Mary

    It is really interesting how afraid the GOP is of Hillary Clinton. The Republicans know that Hillary will beat McCain. Wake up Obama!! The Republicans are playing with you, using you. I wouldn't get too cocky about what looks like a republican endorsement coming from William Ruckelshaus. Remember: The reality is that you are less likely to beat McCain, therefore you are ripe for the "wolves in sheep's clothing".

    April 17, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  4. Common Sense

    All aboard the Obama train!

    You Hillary and McCain supporters better hurry up and get on!

    Don't worry. Obama will forgive and forget your evil ways.


    April 17, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  5. Peter

    Independent for Hillary from Pittsburgh,

    You and Dan Onorato, Luke Raventhal may the reason why Pittsburgh is going down the drain economically and can't attract hightech industries to Alleghany county. Know the facts first and then speak...I am sorry I forgot you support Hillary.

    April 17, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  6. You Go Boy

    One step closer, keep them coming. Whenever some one makes a negative remark about OBOMA for some reason he gets endoresements. So I say keep making the negative remarks so that OBOMA can be the next PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATE. NO ONE WOULD HAVE EVER THOUGHT HE WOULD MAKE IT THIS FAR, BUT GOD KNEW WHAT HE WAS GOING TO GO THROUGH AND HE IS GUIDING HIM. NO ONE CAN OUT DO THE WORK OF THE LORD SO KEEP THOSE NEGATIVE REMARKS COMING

    April 17, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  7. deborah


    did you somehow miss the fact that Sen Clinton was asked to explain her Bosnia gaffe? It is about time Sen Obama was asked to answer a few questions. All in all this "typical white woman" was totally dissatisfied with his answers. He never answered a single question directly, just turned accusations on Sen Clinton rather than answering the moderators questions. He is disrespectful of Sen Clinton, and seems to find her candidacy comical (as if a woman could actually presume to be president). While Sen Clinton attacks Sen Obama's own words and actions, Sen Obama attacks Sen Clinton personally by implying that she is an idiot. In addition, he doesn't want my vote in Florida to count since it wasn't for him. If this is his "new kind of politics" I object and will object with my vote in November if he is the nominee.

    April 17, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  8. JR New York City, NY

    Hillary is running on her Husband former President's etiquette. WOW I do not mind that Hillary is still in the race, I do mind to see all her IGNORANTS supporters still want to vote for her just because she is a woman, and even bother to threat the Democratic Party by saying if: She's not in the race, I'll vote for McCain.
    Well anyone who wanted to vote McCain, Good Luck to you. Let me remind you that America is your country and what goes wrong in America will evantually affects everybody. So Vote your conscience and be happy after that. That dishonest liar called Hillary will not do anything for America but to sink it some more like Dick Channey and Bush have been doing. If that's what you all those Ignorant people wanted for America, that's a true tesmony of your Patriotism.
    Hillary and her Husband need to go finish the Columbian Deal and have a more fat bank account at the expenses of those of you Idiots.

    April 17, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  9. first things first

    Lets get republicans to ensure an Obama win in the democratic nomination.

    Then lets show him the door come Nov.

    The republicans know their man McCain is a moderate and weak among the conservatives. They want him to go up against the weaker democrat- the one that will be easier to beat.

    McCain will wilt under Hillarys brilliant command of all things political.

    Obama will match McCain stutter for stutter, forgotten word for forgotten words... I mean words DO matter- hand me that 3 year old just words speech again. Maybe I can get some more milage from it.

    April 17, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  10. Raoul

    If republicans wanted Obama to win, ABC and FOX NOISE wont lay a finger on him, but would be more than happy to hammer Hillary down all the way!

    April 17, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  11. JoJo

    Uh Juan, Hillary is the one who is dividing the party. She's known as one of the most divisive figures in America for a reason. And for those who are so delusional that they think Obama is losing I think you better check again...the overall delegate and popular vote count says otherwise.

    April 17, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  12. Eleanor

    A Republican who endorses Obama – is a trap...because they know they can trump him with least or no efforts at all. Yes Democrats, listen to the Republicans telling you who you should nominate. and then they'll take care of his defeat like you've never seen before. Republicans don't like clinton because she's smarter and mor eknowledgeable in economics, healthcare, education – and yes – she's a woman without fear! There are many women who are watching – and resolute to make sure that before you know it, women – single, married, widows, divorced – yes we are all for Hillary. We are not going to take any more bullying by men.

    April 17, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  13. Readers

    Eunice, please read the article, i guess you and Fred are siblings...

    April 17, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  14. Robert

    "Don't Stop Believen" oh oh oh awww!! Barack Obama is giving us Americans a sense of hope in this horrible time in our American lives. I lost some homes, a job (realtor), and by the grace of God, I have my wife still. I just believe that Barack is devinely sent to give us hurting Americans a break. I am tired of the negative BS. Ever seen the movie " Waiting to Exhale"? WHEW!!!!! Its about time.

    Obama 08-Doesn't that sound great?

    April 17, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  15. tidho

    Ruckelshaus likes Obama? Stand back for the stampede of support, lol. I like Obama too, but I can't see this as relevant.

    CNN should be talking about important stuff like Hillary's resemblence to Senator Palpatine. Seriously, picture her with a hood. 😛

    April 17, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  16. John

    the Obama followers are so upset today,because their King lost the debate last night.They are calling every one names,jounalists of high credabilty are all wrong.What are the folloers going to do when the King is defeated???????????

    April 17, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  17. sg

    Interesting that when Obama met with the PM today one of his priorities was prosperity for Africa – Prosperity should start at home don't you think???

    April 17, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  18. Jaqueline


    Obama was PISSED OFF at last nights debate he lost.

    No wonder he was pissed.

    He was being asked about his lies over and over and over again.

    How did DEAN ever allow this guy with scandal after scandal all
    around him to ever run for president???

    Obama is the weakest candidate the DEMS have ever had.

    Obama can NEVER win in a general.

    April 17, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  19. Angela

    Mr. John Smith,

    You want to say that quote:

    " There is a diffrence between being "educated" vs. being "learned."

    " end quote.

    I think you are mistaken...Hillary supporters are educated but not brainwashed as some of Obama supporters.
    We have the right to have a different opinion...it's a free country, no?

    April 17, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  20. rezagui1@hotmail.com

    This is getting boring. It is clear that most of this country wants Obama (and has for quite some time) and that is not going to change. Let's move on to the GE, where McCain will get the political beating he deserves, so we can have the president that we deserve.

    April 17, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  21. Felly

    Obama is the real deal. Hillary needs to drop out now!

    April 17, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  22. Sue

    I also will vote for McCain if Obama is the nominee. CNN has put Obama into the spot light once again!! I have learned that it is not about all the news but about what the press wants you to hear. Hillary did a great job in the debate, has very good policies. Obama has a past and it will catch up to him. He is a smooth talker and people including the "fair" press falls for it. It is all politics and who is in whos pocket. I have had it and Hillary has not had even close to the positive and fair press Obama has had over the past few months. The press should not tell us who to vote for but give stories on ALL the issues and ALL the candidates and in a fair way!!!! This is supposed to be America but I honestly feel like we have some propaganda going on here within our news stations, press etc.

    April 17, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  23. Gale

    Wow! After the debate I realized what a smart man Obama is. He is not perfect but he has integrity and is very smart. I think alot of people realized this in the past and that is why he is winning and will be the commander in chief.

    Its hard to explain. Great Leaders are not created they are born Great Leaders. Hillary will never really understand true leadership. McCain understands it but is conflicted because of the Bush Administration and his family's elite background.

    But Obama is different it started from College, as a Lawyer,Senate and next will be President. Go Obama 08 & 12& 16& 20&24......!

    April 17, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  24. please Hillary don't support Obama

    Hillary may support Obama if he gets the nomination...

    But she can't force her supporters to back him or vote for him.

    I will write Hillary Clinton's name in. So will others. I hope she knows us well enough to realize that.

    Bless her heart for trying to unite what Obama has trashed.

    April 17, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  25. Val, Atlanta, Ga

    MCM, fred misspoke LOL you see what kind of people supports her. Need I say more.

    April 17, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
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