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. Len in Washington


    April 17, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  2. Ivey League


    April 17, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  3. Kira

    wow, there are those dissolussioned republicans that are not buying into Hillary crap. Thank you sir for doing the right thing!

    April 17, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  4. SayNoToHillaryBillaryCheslaryClintrous

    Way to go Mr. William D. Ruckelshaus. You must have got sick and bitter with the so called Conservative False Christians. God bless you heart you did the right thing.

    April 17, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  5. J. Marlow, PA

    . . . .There are a lot of Republicans that will back Senator Obama.
    Hillary and McCain have proven that they just don't have what it takes to
    be Commander in Chief. I am happy that Hillary finally admitted that
    Senator Obama IS electable("yes, yes, yes"}. Now let's go ahead and
    end this thing.

    Yes We Can.

    April 17, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  6. fred

    LOL, Watergate....just like Obama...all crooks!!

    I can still see Richard Nixon saying " I am not a crook"!!! LMAO

    April 17, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  7. And the walls came tumbling down

    Anybody watched that debate last night?

    How low will this thing get? I mean, really!!!

    Hillary and ABC are so ridiculous and I was just moved by Obama's strong stance on what makes America's only true hope.

    I'm no democrat, but I'm moved

    April 17, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  8. Paula in WI

    YES WE CAN !!!!!

    April 17, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  9. charlene

    The Republicans are setting Obama up for the big let down.. Obama is target, The republicans wants him because Mccain can and will beat him come Nov. Either way if Hilary is not on ticket I and many Like me will be voting for Mccain

    Hilary 08

    April 17, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  10. Sable

    Thank you for supporting Obama,,

    Yes WE Can..

    Obama '08

    April 17, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  11. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    Has this guy spent the past 30 plus years smoking crack and living in a truck?

    What about the free enterprise that has created not only American wealth but wealth around the world? What about the millions of jobs created in America–at a time when manufacturing and formerly carreer vocations–were in decline?

    This guy shoud have stayed home and nursed his Tequila–rather than trying to endorse a new error or Marxist/ socialist economics onto the American citizenry.

    What a dolt.. He was on the wrong side then..and he's still on the wrong side. Guess it must take a lot to be a CAREER loser.

    April 17, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  12. Paul

    This republican is backing Obama, cause he knows Obama will be the looser in the general election against McCain


    Btwy, if you have not realized, many republicans or independent leaning republicans votes for Obama not cause he is a uniter, but cause he is the weakest against the GOP


    April 17, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  13. Ndali


    Shame on you,Hillary Clinton!
    Shame on you!Meet me in PA on April 22 where we will have the result of your trash campaigning!

    Signed Monica Lewinsky's friend.

    April 17, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  14. Adam, Los Angeles

    fred – you idiot! Did you even read the article?! Ruckelhaus was responsible for the investigation into Watergate.

    April 17, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  15. LD

    Wha do you see Hillary and staff about this endorsement after the last night debate ?

    April 17, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  16. Mack

    Who is this guy. And isn't he republican. Is he afraid to have McCain go up against Hillary in the GE. GOP for Obama. Makes no sense.

    April 17, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  17. John Smith

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

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

    1. Hillary's supporters may be learned, but they are not educated. That is, they show gross negligence in doing research to uncover the truth.

    2. Majority of Hillary's supporters write using "uppercase" letters, suggesting that they are rude, bitter, and inconsiderate.

    3. Like their candidate, most of Obama supporters are very humble and put this nation "first". Wealth and greed are seen as secondary or remote issues.

    April 17, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  18. James (Atlanta)

    Obama is the only candidate who appeals to Republicans and Independents, as well as Democrats!

    Yes We Can!

    Obama 08

    April 17, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  19. Ben

    To preempt all of the idiots who don't realize that Ruckelshaus was fired by Nixon for NOT capitulating to his demands to fire the special prosecutor into Watergate... from Wikipedia, "Nixon then ordered Deputy Attorney General Ruckelshaus to fire Cox; he also refused and resigned in protest."

    This guy bravely stood up to Nixon and lost his job.

    April 17, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  20. Apollyon

    The facts that Obama appeals to all people is being lost in this vitriol of the "attack and spin" politics. If anyone is in doubt of this, all they had to do is watch that ridiculous excuse of a debate last night. If this keeps up we'll be right back where we were in 2004 where we'll get what we deserve... another Bush in the White House.

    That was the most disgraceful piece of journalism that I have ever witnessed in my life. IF there are any other debates, I say Ken Starr ought to be one of the moderators. Seems to me that would be as fair as having Billary's buddy and ex-Senior Adviser be a moderator.

    Maybe George has a future with the National Enquirer. Everyone ought to go to the ABC News website and take a gander at what the response has been to them. I checked it out an hour after the debate and there was over 13,000 comments that blasted ABC News about the unprofessional nature of this event. It's like the New York Times stated of the front page this morning, The real loser of the debate at Constitution Hall... ABC News.

    April 17, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  21. Monte Brown

    Like John Kerry, Obama will punt the ball back to the Republicans in November. We need to go with Hillary Clinton. Of course the Republicans want Obama. He is bleeding in a shark filled ocean.

    April 17, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  22. Daniel, Loganville Ga

    Congrats to Sen. Clinton on winning the debate on ABC. I now know I do not want the same old politics.....OBAMA '08

    YES WE CAN!!

    April 17, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  23. Glory 2 God

    That is the change obama is talking about

    April 17, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  24. read it again

    Oh, fred.

    April 17, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  25. Pure Amazement

    This is amazing. Who said he was unelectable? Wait.... I think that was just another one of Hillary's misspoken comments. Reaching across party lines is a proven quality needed in the next commander in chief!!

    April 17, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
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