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. AZM

    Nice job Bill.... Hat's off to you...
    Operation Chaos is in full swing... We have got to get Obama the nomination... cause he will get destoyed in the General.

    Smooth... very smooth!

    April 17, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  2. Michelle, Indiana

    At least one Hoosier politician (it says his homestate) is getting it right publicly!! I'm voting for Obama and trying to sway everyone I know. I've even talked my uncle into voting Democrat in the Primary so we can defeat Hillary!!!

    April 17, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  3. Ohio Voter

    Fred, your comment doesn't make any sense. Maybe you should reread this aricle and try again.

    April 17, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  4. Baby Girl

    Somebody tell me if the fat lady is singing or starting to sing.

    April 17, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  5. Independent for Hillary, Pittsburgh

    Ha Ha Ha

    Another great endorsement for Obama. A crazy republican that participated in watergate thinks Obama will be great. This is almost as good as the Kerry endorsement ... kiss of death !!!

    hILLARY-McCAIN '08

    April 17, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  6. scbrown




    April 17, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  7. mariam gul

    oooooobaaaaaaaaammmmma will win 08

    April 17, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  8. James, PA

    Hmmm...what is he up to now? Obama be careful.

    April 17, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  9. william

    Elite Obama should return the 200.00 dollars that this Ayers guy donated to his campaign and he should reject and denounce him for living in his community and breathing the same air as all the rest of us. That should satisfy the Clintons.

    However, the poor Clintons should return the 800,000.00 dollars the Columbians gave to Clinton to help promote the free trade agreement. Then they should tell the truth as to why they backed NAFTA and China PTR.....

    That would be fair.....Right?

    April 17, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  10. MCM

    "fred" made a statement so uniformed and historically wrong I can't resist responding. As the story on the Ruckelshaus endorsement points out, his connection to Watergate is that he joined his boss, AG Elliott Richardson in refusing to go along with President Nixon's attempt to subvert the Constitution. President Nixon was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Watergate cover-up. He resigned because it was clear he was on the way to being impeached. Mr. Ruckelshaus showed remarkable integrity and courage when many others showed neither.

    April 17, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  11. Mike

    Hey Fred, did you read the article? The point is that Ruckleshaus was "not a crook" because he fought against the attempt to cover up Watergate. Before "liberal" became a dirty word, there were many thoughtful and liberal Republicans and Obama is very good at appealing to them.

    April 17, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  12. Ilona Proud Canadian

    Way to go Sen. Obama!!!!!!!!

    Hillary tries her best to trash you, and what happens?

    What is that saying? Oh yes I remember!

    "The Cream Rises To The Top"!

    YES HE CAN!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 17, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  13. Eunice, Maryland

    Is this a retaliation to the Republican party?

    Another looser endorsing a looser.

    Hillary '08

    April 17, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  14. casual observer

    Looks like some of the good old boys club are showing their colours, if they can get Obama on the Dem ticket, MR. McCain will have no problem beating him, but if Hillary gets the Dem nomination ticket, Mr Mcain could not beat her, so with CNN and a few of the other networks being members of the good old boys club, Mr McCain will be the next president for sure!

    April 17, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  15. A.M. Saqib

    Truth shall set you free... how true. Now is the time that democrats supporting 'Hillary Clinton' must realize that their vote for 'Hillary' is perhaps a waste of time. Sooner they back 'Obama' the better it is for all democrats.

    Go 'Obama' go!

    A.M. Saqib
    Houston, Texas

    April 17, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  16. Lee WV

    Can anyone remember the last person to come out and support Hillary?Maybe the piad actors on the TV adds?

    April 17, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  17. Frank, Missouri

    Excellent News! We only can make progress when we work together !

    April 17, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  18. Jake, California

    Hillary supporters SHOUT and write in CAPS!
    This is not the way to win a debate or argument!

    April 17, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  19. Juan

    "Obama is a uniter"

    then why can't he unite the democratic party??

    April 17, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  20. Keyon

    Welcome! To Obama 08'

    April 17, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  21. Jimmy from PA

    I received my income tax refund this morning, and I'm sending it to Barack Obama's campaign. I doing this becasue I know when Obama becomes our next president, the return on that investment will be much higher than that of Hillary or McCain.

    April 17, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  22. Frank, Missouri

    Can you imagine something like that happening for Hillary Clinton ?

    April 17, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  23. Tim T.

    Looks like another Rovian type trick. Beware.

    April 17, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  24. virginia nielsen

    Good thought Senator!! You are going to help to put the right man on the right job. Congratulations to Senator Obama ,"THE UNITER" !!!
    OBAMA 2008-2012 !!!

    April 17, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  25. dave desmond

    I can only wonder how Hillary will handle the rude shock of defeat by an unknown, 'supposedly' inexperienced dude named BARAK OBAMA.
    This guy came out of nowhere.
    Unfortunately, politics is a game of numbers, Hillary should keep running. I know that reality will set in for her pretty soon, which is, she's not going to be the nominee. Period.

    April 17, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
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