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. where are my posts?

    For me, it will ONLY be Hillary.

    She can support Obama- she is a free woman.

    I will never support Obama.

    April 17, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  2. Paul

    It takes integrity to recognize integrity.
    Thank you, Mr. Ruckelshaus.

    April 17, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  3. Herman LA, CA

    Welcome aboard the change Mr. Ruckelshaus...

    Obama 08!!!

    April 17, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  4. Allison Marie

    Wow, the Republicans don't want to run against Clinton, this is not looking good the the Democrates! McCain here we come!

    Uncounted in Florida

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

    Obama picks up another Republican supporter, can you say Lieberman. His supporters are people who are against the principles that the Democratic party has always stood for, doesn't that tell you something. Maybe if he doesn't win the nomination he will run as an independent, like Lieberman, and go all the way over to the dark side, instead of just giving them lip service.He is the first Democrat to come out against universal health care. What really bothers me is that Obama, the millionaire, only says during his speeches that he will inspire you, you will have to be the ones to pull yourselves up by your own boot straps.Even though you go to inferior schools, don't get the health care you need, and live in slum lord apartments, WITH LOW PAYING JOBS OR NO JOBS AT ALL., he says, – yes you can. What an elitist,snob. Vote Hillary if you want a DEMOCRAT in the whitehouse.

    April 17, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  6. Geez....

    No attack or spin about it...a candidate with a circle of friends like Rezko, Wright, Ayers and Auschi, darn right I want full disclosure. What is so negative about that? Allowing Obama to play the victim is not getting to the facts. Just give me the facts before I go running off to send this guy any of my paycheck. Explaining this away as silly season just does not answer my questions. He appears to be just as controversial as any other candidate.

    April 17, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  7. Andy- Fresno,Ca

    Go Hillary!!!

    I don't want to vote for McCain but I will before I vote for Oboma.

    April 17, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. Ardnuas

    GREAT.... we want more Obamacans to join us!!!!
    Obama/Edwards08 Si Se Puede

    April 17, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  9. Joseph, NY, NY

    Do you fools honestly believe he will vote for him in the general election.

    April 17, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  10. Edith

    No Hillary has not received a republicn endorsement, other than McCain, but she really has not received many endorsements lattyl. Obama has recieve over 30 delgate and 3 suoer delegate endorsements since this bitter stuff began.

    Thanks Hillary and posse!

    April 17, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  11. FN

    Deabate last nigh, hillary say sorry about Bosnia, the way her body langua is not sincere, look very joke, she thing American not enough intelligen?. Once thing to hillary " GO HOME "
    I sic about you. LIE

    April 17, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  12. D.Kimbro OHIO

    It is nice too see so many conservatives who are willing to try and build a coalition. Let's take our country back. p.s. Don't Tell them we are trying to take it back from them...

    April 17, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  13. Tanya K



    IN THE GE IF HE IS THE NOMINEE! ! ! ! ! ! !

    April 17, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  14. California Voter

    Looks like the Republicans want to run against Obama.

    April 17, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  15. Janie, Raleigh, N.C.

    My Congressman just sent an email that he is endorsing Obama. I told him to never expect another dime from me or my family. Obama is truly changing the Democratic party. It will be full of yelling, screaming, rude lemmings. For every one he is bringing in, some of us are leaving. Independent is the new way to go!

    April 17, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  16. DW

    Go Obama Go!!!!!

    Saw a photo w/ Hillary and McCain standing side-by-side. Maybe Hillary can run for McCain's VP???????? Two peas in a pod!!!!

    Well Hillary The Liar Liar Liar and master manipulator, pack it in. It's over.

    April 17, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  17. John

    Have you Obama supporters even listened to who is friends are? He runs around whith the idiot "Reverend" Wright, the American bomber Ayers, and Mr. Larry Sinclair. Do you people even care about America?

    April 17, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  18. Independent

    If Obama is the nominee I will vote democratice. If it is Clinton I will vote republican. This is a great endorsement.
    Obama '08

    April 17, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  19. Utah Teacher

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

    After reading 95% of the notes (blogs) on CNN, here are some conclusions:

    1. Obama's supporters may be learned, but they are not educated. The magic kool-aid brain freeze has turned them all to obamabots

    2. The majority of Obama's supporters write using misspelled words, cliches, and venomous language toward Obama's fellow democrat, Hillary.

    3. Like their candidate, most of Clinton's supporters are very humble and put this nation "first." Bitterness, religion, and guns are seen as secondary or remote issues.

    April 17, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  20. John Kay

    If Obama loses the general election to McCain, Hillary will lose even more when matched-up with McCain in the same election.

    Quote of the day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 17, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  21. Herb (Landenberg, PA)

    Drip, drip, drip...the wonderful sound of Superdelegates deciding to support Barack Obama, thus leaving Hillary Clinton to her own lies, bitterness and subterfuge.

    Barack Obama for 2008!!

    April 17, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  22. Jim

    "Do not let a lifetime of achievements and commitment to the democratic principles that has characterized Hillary be wasted"


    April 17, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  23. DrRay from Ohio

    It is obvious anyone who loves our nation truly–not just playing politics–will go for a unifier like Obama. Republicans, Independents and Democrats, welcome aboard the all-American train with Obama as the engineer. Thanks for loving this land with every fibre of your being!

    Irish for O'bama! Obama-Gore or Gore-Obama or Obama-Pelosi '08!

    April 17, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  24. Mary

    Republicans just want Obama to be the nominee, b/c Obama is easy to be beat down in general election.

    April 17, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  25. AnnaMarie

    I want a UNITER... Not another fighter...

    fighting is old..

    YES WE CAN... is real change..

    Vote Barack and I'm an independent..

    April 17, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
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