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. thanks

    Thank you Mr. Ruckelshaus.

    April 17, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  2. Keith in CA

    A man of integrity who stood up to one of the most corrupt presidents in U.S. history is a welcomed supporter. I wonder why he didn't endorse Senator Clinton. Oh, that's right: INTEGRITY!

    April 17, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  3. fred

    charlene, you are 100% correct!!

    Obama = NO YOU CAN'T!!!

    Where is Oprah???? Maybe she is with their minister counting all of Obamas lobby and pac money!!!

    April 17, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  4. CLEAN

    I really hope this will start to show people Obama can bring people together, no matter the political background.

    April 17, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  5. Mike

    I forgot to mention that a huge story about Rezko is going out... get ready for more problems Obama...

    Testimony linked Obama to a dinner party with some radicals that supported Sadam...

    I stand by my earlier comment they both are done!!!

    April 17, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  6. Lee From Treasure Island Florida

    Yes We Can take back the White House, take back the Country, and unite the people, and bring back the respect from the rest of the world.
    Change is happening... I can feel it.
    Pennsylvania... DONT MISS THE TRAIN

    You vote on Tues... make it happen

    April 17, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  7. HH

    Well we all saw the pile on at ABC at it sure has lived up to its name

    The All

    News Network.

    I guess old George had his arm bent. I never seen a debate more worried on nonsense then real issues.

    Rev. Wright is not paying for my gas. A flag pin is not helping with insurance. And William Ayers is not helping the economy.

    I hope ABC GOES BUST along with it 2 clown anchors.

    I least the million dollar man Charles Gibson was worried about his taxes.


    April 17, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  8. Al Ware

    Good for Sen. Obama!

    He deserves it after last nights mugging by the ABC hit squad. He was clearly disgusted w/the biased commentators and questions. it was pure nonsense, but he held his composure. Very presidential. And not to worry, the primaries don't really reflect what happens in the general election. It's not going to be as close as the media is saying between Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain. The democratic party and the movement Sen. Obama has created is going to explode at the convention and he's going to surprise everyone by winning blue and red states convincingly!

    April 17, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. Antoinette

    This is great news

    Keep on talkin Hillary, keep on talkin

    April 17, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  10. Peter From OR

    I am a red blooded, hunting, evengelical formerly from the Red heart of America (nebraska). This week I changed my registration to the democratic party and have started volunteering at the Obama campaign here in Portland. I am bitter about the last 8 years as well.

    I believe Obama offers a unifing presence in the Whitehouse.

    Do you see any cross-over like this for Hillary?

    Take it for what it is, but I am a lifelong republican truly and fully for Obama.

    April 17, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  11. FNJ in Pa

    Jump on board. Hillary is done for. Pennsylvanians cannot be fooled.

    OBAMA 08'

    April 17, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  12. Ig

    wow Fred. Did you read the article? I mean, do you know what role William D. Ruckelshaus played during the Watergate? Can't the Clinton supporters do a little research before they tear down Obama and anyone who endorses him?

    April 17, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  13. we wanh hillary, not mccain...screw him.

    If Pennsylvainia votes for Obama then screw it... we might as well drop out. Until then...

    Hillary and Nader, suckas!

    April 17, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  14. PR, Renton, WA

    PA – well written, that was my thought as well regarding the flag pin – neither one of them (McSame or Illary) wears it. is just because he is a black man he cant truly be loyal to his country.

    I'm really beginning to get fed up with this pettiness just to try to drag a good candidate down.

    April 17, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  15. Brian

    Awww CNN I know you must be disappointed about the debate last night, but really it IS news and maybe you should report on it? I know it's hard, when your boy Obama got stomped on by Hillary, but you know as a NEWS network that it's hard for you to ignore. Though by today's headlines you are trying. I guess I'll just suggest here that everyone go to a REAL news network, like MSNBC, Fox, USA Today, or the New York Times to read about the beating that Barack took last night. Funny how little we know about the guy that is coming to light now, oh well, that shouldn't be a surprise at all, should it? Most of his supporters had NEVER EVEN HEARD HIS NAME before last fall 😉

    April 17, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  16. Newman

    Six out of ten Americans don't trust Hillary Clinton! What does that tell you? Obama is the only choice for all of us. Let's get it right this time and vote for Barack Obama! Thank you for your endorsement, William!

    April 17, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  17. Retired Navy Veteran

    I think this is great will Mr. William D. Ruckelshaus campaign for Senator Obama? Will he stand with Senator Obama if the answer is yes. I think wth is great.

    April 17, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  18. Jacklyn, NC

    Isn't it great that this man can bring both parties together to make a better America for ALL PEOPLE. Welcome aboard the Obama-machine.

    OBAMA '08'

    April 17, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  19. Osborne, Canada

    Three words... "bringing people together for a better tomorrow" ohh my bad.. those are seven words, but who cares... this is proof than he is above and beyond petty party politics and even the Republicans and Independents can see it, way to GO! Obama!

    April 17, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  20. Bye Bye Hill

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

    I can still see Richard Nixon saying " I am not a crook"!!! LMAO
    . OK Fred, let's read carefully first, This Gentle was against NIxon so , like Obama, he has integrity.

    April 17, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  21. Elvee in Minnesota

    This just proves the reason why Obama is the better candidate of all three remaining. This has the real potential to be the first administration and congress that get things done.

    I cant believe that Hillary is determined to tear this man down when there is no way mathmatically that she can win. If you dont believe me check out the delegate calculator on CNN's Politics front page.

    Hillary is not likely to get any Republican endorsment, which makes me believe that under a Billary admistration nothing will ever get done.

    April 17, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  22. Dennis

    Republicans like Hillary because of her negatives and believe she will lose to McCain, no one trusts her. One republican sees the big picture of working together to achieve rather than "going toe to toe" fighting over issues.
    Obama 08

    April 17, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  23. Roger

    It's a set-up. The republicans want Obama to win.

    April 17, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  24. bernice

    How can anyone say she won the debate (questionable) it's like saying that you won a golf game when you are given a handicap (George & Buddy) ?? Fair ?? I think Obama once again took the high road. He should have just walked away and had a press conference with the Trashy Tabloids, he probably would have had better questions. What was that about no applause and the shots of Chelsea tearing up? Just poor journalism.

    April 17, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  25. Marcia Novak PA.

    Now it would be nice to see more delegates come out before the PA primary. ABC is now the laughing stock here in Jamestown,PA. Where are Hillarys and Billy bobs papers on who donated to his Library. We know they are from China , Dubai, Saudies and much more . Just like she said to Bill in 1995 Bill you dont owe those people in the south nothing . Man that should go over big . Why arent he reporter going to see that she is lying again about the cottage at the lake outside of Scranton PA. Duck Hunting bull , she said Bill took her rabbit hunting in Ak. that was the first time she hunted . She wants to take our guns from all of us . She wants a photo license of everyone who has a gun so they can come and take them . People do your homework. As far as health care goes it will never happen . You will be mandated to buy it or face stiff penaties . The people i know here in PA said they will vote for Obama . Vote the way your heart tells you .

    April 17, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
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