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. R U Paying Attention?


    April 17, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  2. Kaseam Ali, Philly, PA

    WOW. Talk about crossing over on the other side. Barack breaks barriers, and proves he can UNITE.

    Obama 08.

    April 17, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  3. Jason

    Although this is a Republican attached to the Nixon name, it is for being the opposite of Nixon – "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."

    Ruckelshaus seems like a strong, principled person that did the right thing in the face of the most powerful opposition. Sounds like Obama is someone that he could envision doing the same thing as president, and in doing so moving the country forward in a new direction.

    April 17, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  4. Mikey

    No matter how much the paid Obama posters try to spin this, bottom line is: Hillary Clinton destroyed Obama in the debate last night. And ABC is the only network to ask the tough questions to both candidates. Thank you Charles and George. Great Job!
    Of course this post will not make it past the Obama-CNN moderators – but the most important thing is they know how the American voters feel. If Obama wins the nomination – Clinton supporters WILL NOT vote for Obama. You can count on that. Keep on sending out those attack posts – it will push that 26% up to 30%.
    Post this CNN.

    April 17, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  5. MD in OK

    This is what Hillary can't do, unite across party lines. Her evil tactics to do everything within her power to win in the primary is pathetic. If this is what she considers the way politics is played, then her performance in the white House will be detrimental to our country.

    April 17, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  6. Esther from Cuyahoga Falls Ohio

    See even these people have the good sense to welcome change. we need to get on and fix our country and Hillary will only give us some more of the same as Bush did in the 7 plus years. Bill and George are the same man only in different bodies. drug addicts never look into the source of the divisions in the self. they look out side for the problems we are a sick nation. healing us needs to take place now

    April 17, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  7. Kaseam Ali, Philly, PA

    Welcome Obamacans.

    April 17, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  8. tell the truth

    People are crazy with statements like the Rep want Obama not Clintion she can win. Is she winning now? Answer No. Stop the BS faces the facts. She is losing. If she can not beat Obama then how can she beat McCain? Apply the same answer to Obama. Talk with facts

    April 17, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  9. Bacusla

    Yes We Can!

    Obama '08

    April 17, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  10. MC , Tampa

    I wish people would stop saying if my candidate does not get the nomination I will vote for McCain.

    Wake up you idiots and stop acting like children. McCain means 4 or 8 more years of what we have.

    If my demoncratic candidate does not get the nomination, I will still vote for the democratic nominee., I make not like her but she is still better than more of the same.... Its our future!

    April 17, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  11. Now for Obama

    We Obama supporters should take a vow of silence and just let Hillary supporters let out their frustrations and bitterness as they watch Obama get closer and closer to the White House!

    No matter how anyone tries to spin it: STICK A FORK IN HILLARY!

    April 17, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  12. Victim

    How come ABC were not prepared to ask any question of interest to PAs. They were only intent on bringing Obama down. They had a good try but failed woefully.

    If they thought they were doing Clinton a favour, they missed the point because they ended up opening more arsenic on her side. PA, please let us move on we ve so much more things to bring us together than to divide us.

    This is our chance to prove that point in America and no ABC diddler shall deter us!

    April 17, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  13. Marcel

    Only goes to show you that God dosen't like ugly and thats what ABC did last night. I tought I was watching FOX NEWS. Obama did quite well last night he showed he could handle the attack. Too bad for PA. wish they would have gotten a real debate last night. Not a FOX NEWS/ABC hit job on Obama.

    April 17, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  14. Jan

    Is everyone out there stupid?

    The republicans really want Obama to be the nominee because

    they know without a doubt McCain will beat him in the election

    April 17, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  15. Catrina, Bay Area, CA.

    Wow... Republicans and Dems coming together?

    OBAMA '08

    April 17, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  16. we wanh hillary, not mccain...screw him.

    How can Ruckelshaus support Obama? He is betraying his country. Shame on you, Ruckelshaus.

    Hillari and Nader 2008

    April 17, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  17. ***AMERICAN***

    Why so much hate and name calling?

    Isn't the end goal what is best for the country?

    A divided party will not stand in November but crumble under it's own weight.

    People stop the insanity.

    Stand as one or fall as many.

    The choice is up to you.

    Make it count!

    Please post, we need this to end.

    April 17, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  18. April in Texas

    Woot WTG!!! Seems Hillary's negatives are a positive for the Obama campaign.. WE welcome you Mr. Superdelegate....

    Obama 08

    April 17, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  19. Mike

    I wonder why the Republicans are starting to endorse Obama... after last night... I would not be suprised to see a flood of them come across...

    Both of the Democratic Candidates are done!!!

    Obama fell flat on his face last night and it was awful to watch... I think the Democratic Party is in real trouble especially with both candidates locking themselves in on Iraq and taxes...

    I can not even put into words what Obama was thinking about with his tax plan, capital gains, etc... His example with a secretary and her boss??? I guess he forgot that the money used had been earned and taxed all ready... it then gets taxed again at the 15%...

    It seems now that the GOP has been handed the election or at least their platform for the general!!!

    April 17, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  20. Sue

    And Hillary's castle comes tumbling down.....

    April 17, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  21. carlo

    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.

    Hey Ben:

    I was just about to note this, but you beat me to it. You know, for some of you HIllary supporters, silence, both for her and you, really is golden.

    April 17, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  22. Lisa

    This is off topic but I ask you...Where the heck is Hillary's China made flag pin?? If she wants to stand up there and act like one of the boys she should be expected to wear her dang pin too. Or is it because shes a WOMAN that she don't have to wear or be asked about a stupid lapel pin. Maybe she has on her American Flag panties.

    April 17, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  23. we wanh hillary, not mccain...screw him.

    we're sick and tired of all the delegates and super-delegates voting for OBAMA. We're sick and tired of it. You people need to vote for hillary now... or else.

    Hillary and Nader for America.

    April 17, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  24. Jim B

    Yesterday's "debate" was a disgrace way to treat president Obama.

    Thanks for the endorsement.

    April 17, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  25. Susan MO

    Ruckelshaus..........you are on the losing team.

    Obama insulted the people of Pennsylvania.......and who wants a president who slams the American people?

    Then, to top it off, he 'made light of it'......basically laughing in their faces.

    At the debate, he skipped around on answering questions.

    HILLARY 08!

    HILLARY 08!!

    HILLARY 08!!!

    April 17, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
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