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. JT

    The Hillary voters who vow to vote for McCain when she finally loses the nomination will have only themselves to blame when – surprise – Pres. McCain is the polar opposite of them on every issue of substance –the war, health care, the ecomomy. A year from now no one will remember Wright, or Bosnian snipers, but if McC wins, plenty of Americans will be "bitter." Why do the Republicans usually win? Because they are smart enough to vote for their candidate, even if he is not with them on every point, or even if they don't like him personally. You watch – Limpaugh and all the conservatives who say they don't like McCain will vote for him, and love him, when the chips are down in November, laughing all the way to the White House on the backs of disillusioned Hillary supporters. It is like voting for Nader. Stupid and self destructive. Wake up.

    April 17, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  2. Real people for real man.

    I am not surprise at the end of this primaries Hillary will address Obama with hight respect and A humble man for the president.

    She has thrown everything as you all know at him ,but he has always get away with them. The fact that he still respect Hillary eventhough Hillary would have destroyed him if the pain was on her shoes.

    You don't know how bless Americans are to have Obama has their future president. He is very respectful, honest that he is not perfect, eventhough his supporters will like him to be hard on Hillary, but he see the other side of her.

    None of us know that they still contect each other and they are on senate together.

    Yes many people want Hillary to claim her husband credits ,but she shouldn't be responsible for Bill actions. You can't have it both ways either you are for it or against it.
    She surely has more luggage that people can exploit against her, but she failed to acknowledge her wrong doing and attacked Obama.
    If Obama starts to attack Hillary as the Republican will do, Hillary will have no where to turn to.
    Lots of wrong doing on the Clintons hands, every thing good , bad and the ugly are in the Clintons arms.

    April 17, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  3. JT

    Why do my comments always get "moderated " out, when idiot serial posters like CHERYL FOR HILLARY!!!!! get through? Do I need to use all caps and lots of exclamation points? more typos? less substance? who is running this thing?

    April 17, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  4. Bosnian Sniper

    Dear "fred" (2:25 pm post):

    Since your post has generated multiple smack-downs in response, I am writing to offer you a hug. We all make mistakes. Don't worry about it.

    -Forgiving Obama supporter

    April 17, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  5. Kevin M

    Thank you! This endorsement is so representative of what I love about Obama. Obama inspires people in all party of our current political divide. Obama will be such a unifying force in America.

    Yes we Can! Obama 2008!

    April 17, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  6. paul

    I'm sorry-but Obama showed me his colors when he chose rev wright –"someone that would like to see God damm the United States"-instead of standing up for my country.

    A person like that,will never get my vote-even if i have to vote for mc caine.

    God bless this beautiful United States Of America !!!

    April 17, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  7. Jodie

    How interesting. A republican is backing a democrat's run for president. How many republicans are backing Hillary? When is this race going to end? No wonder so few people want to run for president. Each candidate has added 10 years to their life just this year. Look at Hillary. I feel sorry for her, and I think either her or Obama will make good presidents, but I feel like its time to unify the party and work together towards November. Besides, John McCain is bored. He has nothing better to do than plagarize recipes off the web.

    April 17, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  8. John

    Any red-blooded American who would back Obama, is no American at all!

    April 17, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  9. michelle



    actually i believe its a total of 5 superdelegates that obama has recieved the week!!! umhhhh so all hrc supporters and critics please tell me how she is gaining ground?! i really want to hear this

    sorry critics and hrc game is almost over all of this occured after that rigged debate last night on ABC...

    honesty and intergrity prevails!!!!!!!!!

    April 17, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  10. Venus

    Keep em coming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Go Obama! The more Hillary attack you the better you will be as president and a world leader! Thank you
    William! And – my biggest thanks goes to ABC-The Penn Debate! You did a great job putting Obama to the test! This is what we need in a true leader!
    And----- To Hillary – thank you for saying that yes, yes, and yes that Obama can win! Yes we can and we will!

    April 17, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  11. Annie O


    April 17, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  12. susan

    great news for not only Barack but all of us the American people.
    Hillary GET OUT. Your NOT honest GET OUT NOW.

    April 17, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  13. philofficer

    Hmm? Have any of your Hillary supporters who say Obama can't win ever heard of this concept called polling? According to about 38 of the last 41 polls, Obama runs better against McCain. Polling is not perfect, but it sure beats spouting off in ignorance.

    Obama in '08

    We need this man.

    April 17, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  14. aware

    Of course Republicans back Obama. They know they can beat him in the general election!

    Hillary Clinton or John McCain 08 🙂

    April 17, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  15. mama4obama


    we anterior Hillary, not mccain...screw him.=go back to school. There is a reason they are abandoning ship....its because they cant stop the Obamatrain. He is the clear choice for a better future.

    April 17, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  16. JT

    Annie O - "awesome."
    marine – "????????????????"
    bacusla – "yes we can"
    these brilliant observations get through your sophisticated filter, while mine are 100% deleted? this is a joke. OK. PLEASE post my remark (the substantive one above). Thank you.

    April 17, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  17. Jodie

    I also thought the debate was biased. Where were the questions about Mark Penn and her egotistical husband. I felt like it was an all out attack on Obama. That's not right. Where were the real questions. Like, "If you will say and do anything to get elected Hillary, what won't you do in the White House?" "Why do you continue to go negative, when you know that that is not what people want to hear?" "When are you going to swallow your pride and support your fellow democrat in his race to the White House, knowing that you have no chance of winning the nomination." It's true! Do the math! She's just trying to make it so that republicans win in November.

    April 17, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  18. No McSame

    Hillary needs to go to one of her so called homes and bake some cookies. It is not her time. Hillary needs to get on the team and stop waisting our time so that Obama can began to build up his war chest to fight the real fight. She is helping McSame more and more every day that she keeps this up. Its time to STOP.

    April 17, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  19. Jan

    It seems Jack Cafferty is blocking all my blogs because he is so
    bias against Hillary.
    He wants to make sure there are not too many negatives on this site
    about his protical son.

    Republicans are supporting Obama because they want him to be the nominee as they know mCcAIN WILL BEAT HIM IN THE ELECTION.
    Who said they were stupid???Ya Dumd Like A Fox.

    April 17, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  20. Hillary-ious

    There are two statistics that should be at the top of the list of considerations for superdelegates:

    54% of voters have an unfavorable view of HRC

    58% of voters say that they do not think HRC is honest and/or trustworthy...

    In response to that last point, here is one of the quotes from Hillary last night:
    "On several occasions in the last weeks, um, I have made statements which were not in keeping with what I knew to be the case..."

    No wonder people don't trust her. Why the heck would any superdelegate think that HRC has a better shot at defeating McCain than Obama? And if those stats aren't enough, take a look at just about any poll, and Obama is polling higher against McCain than Hillary is..

    So let's review:

    54% unfavorable rating, and 58% don't trust her
    She admiited to lying to us on "several occasions"- no surprise there, except maybe that she didn't lie about her lying...
    Most polls have Obama doing better against McCain than HRC
    Obama will have more pledged delegates
    Obama will have won more states by far
    Obama will have won the popular vote

    Seems like a pretty easy decision for superdelegates to me...

    April 17, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  21. the skipper 2

    wow JUST WOW!


    I really hope obama builds that half hoops court in the white house basement and tears out that bowling ally nixon built.
    its not 1955 anymore and america knows it time to move on.

    April 17, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  22. Bowie, MD

    Matthew – That is an example of a true leader. We can't get things done if we only do for one group.

    April 17, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  23. just a thought

    trust me the REP are setting themselves up for an easy win. Go ahead and back him all you want..... the DEM will learn in November..

    April 17, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  24. gerry

    Sort of looks like proof that Obama attracks democrats, independents, republicans of either black, white, or other races and all religions.

    Obama is amazing-a true uniter.

    April 17, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  25. Linda of Atlanta

    Clinton and her cohorts from ABC were absolutely awful to Obama, but he didn't get in the gutter with them. He has shown that he has the kind of temperament we need in a President. We don't want or need Hillary because she is always itching for a fight. She has shown that she has a nasty disposition and she is totally vindictive. Please PA, send her packing with a defeat that will ring around the world. Don't let the world think that Americans will force them to try to work with a fool like Hillary Clinton.

    April 17, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
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