April 17th, 2008
04:40 PM ET
6 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. Kevin Leo (Jonesboro, GA)

    Before you start criticizing the man, read his background to know who he is. He was FIRED because he STOOD UP to Nixon!!! This is the type of reputable person with strong character that you want in your corner.

    April 17, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  2. K

    Hill basically called herself a liar last night, but oh yeah she apologized for it.

    It's true that Obama may not change Washington, but he is our best choice for President!

    YES WE CAN!!!!!!!

    OBAMA 08

    April 17, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  3. Daryl (WHITE) Chicago, IL (land of obama)

    Republicans, Independents, first time voters, democrats.......everyone is voting for Barack.
    I thought that Bill "BJ" Clinton said that if Hillary didn't win both Ohio and Texas she would have no chance in winning the nomination. Oh that's right that came out of a Clinton mouth...what am I thinking!

    Texas-
    Obama-99 delegates
    Clinton- 96 delegates

    Spin those numbers!

    April 17, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  4. Saxifrage

    I'm pretty sure the head of the EPA isn't a Secretary but a Director.

    April 17, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  5. LifeLongDemocrat

    Another crook rears his ugly head: Ruckelshaus, Rezko, Ayers....MMMMmmmmmmm, very interesting!

    April 17, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  6. Paul

    I am pretty sure that they did not include in this article that Obama does in fact take money from special interests. Probably that explains a republican endorsing the weakest link

    Read this article and find out the truth about Obama:

    "Obama's claim of independence questioned"
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/election2008/2008-04-15-obamainside_N.htm

    Hillary- President of the United States of America
    Vote Democrat-Vote for Clinton!!!

    April 17, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  7. we wanh hillary, not mccain...screw him.

    Stop Dividing the country now. Vote Hillary if you have respect.

    Hillary and Nader

    April 17, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  8. Jim

    Ruckleshaus is a stand up guy and fairly moderate, as I recall. Probably no evil plot....

    More importantly, it adds some outside validation to HRC's admission that Obama is electable in November.

    April 17, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  9. charlene

    I rather vote Mccain then wake up in hell.. with Obama holding the folk.

    Hilary 08

    April 17, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  10. WHAT IS IT...

    QUOTE FROM 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"

    YES CHARLENE, GO EXPLAIN THIS TO THE SPOUSE AND CHILDREN OF THOSE WHO DIES IN IRAK....AND TO THOSE WHO WILL DIE WHEN MCCAIN WILL KEEP ON SENDIND TROUPS THERE !
    THE MOMENT U CAST A VOTE FOR MCCAIN, YOU LL BE AN ACOMPLICE TO G.W. BUSH.
    AND AN ACCOMPLICE TO THE DEATH OD THOUSANDS.

    DEAL WITH THAT ON YOUR CONSCIENCE....

    April 17, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  11. Alex H

    Hillary supporters – You guys are hilarious. You attack Obama for not being a uniter when he defends himself against attacks, then when he gets a VERY WELL RESPECTED Republican endorsement you cry out "LOOK! THEY WANT HIM TO WIN!" Ruckelshaus transcends Obama's vision of change in politics, the only difference is he's on the other side of the aisle and has been doing it for years. He doesn't get pushed around by the government, he takes a stand! Stop whining! You want to know who wants Hillary to win? Rush Limbaugh and Karl Rove. Think I'm joking? Listen to them! Go on, you've got your endorsements, now go vote for her.

    April 17, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  12. we wanh hillary, not mccain...screw him.

    I have a right to defend myself, so in reply to "Mama4Obama", I'd like to say, "Screw off. " If you dont vote for Hillary now, then YOU are negative..

    April 17, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  13. TEXAN

    Texas With Obama!

    April 17, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  14. LifeLongDemocrat

    carlo: this Hillary supporter will remain silent especially if Obama is the nominee. Don't expect to hear a word from me in NOvemver...I might be tempted to say, Hello, President McCain, though!

    April 17, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  15. Eddie W.

    Last debate I am hoping...can`t get any worse..I don`t watch ABC any way and people said that BET is bad...both networks need to be canned.

    April 17, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  16. we wanh hillary, not mccain...screw him.

    If Hillary doesnt win, maybe she can be Vice Pres. Just as long as she gets in, by any means necessary.

    The Hillary and Nader agenda for America;s future.

    April 17, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  17. Remocrat

    This is good news Obama will surely win the Democratic primary. Are you happy now.

    April 17, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  18. PDT

    Wonderful news. Senator Obama, hold your head up; you are a wonderful leader, and a soon to be a great President. This is all in God's plan!

    Obama 2008!!!

    April 17, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  19. we wanh hillary, not mccain...screw him.

    The polls say Hillary suppoters arent educated, but that is not the case. I am very intelligent and know what I want. Even if its "unelectable" or whatever. You can't tell me how to vote. It's my prerogative. Do you understand?

    Hillary and Nader.

    April 17, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  20. we wanh hillary, not mccain...screw him.

    Ruckelshaus is such a jerk. He leaves us at the worst possible time. Just like a man.

    Hillary and Nader

    April 17, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  21. kamenwati

    The people posting here who think McCain can beat Obama in the general election are republican miscreants, members of that 28% of idiots who still support GWB. You are responsible for turning america into a thrid world country–no jobs, worthless currency, despotic leadership. Keep "clinging" to your failed conservatism. The rest of us will vote for a real winner in the fall who will retore the nation's honor and prosperity. We're voting for Obama for real change

    April 17, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  22. sholbo

    Yes we can! Yes we can!! Yes we can !!! Welcome on board sir.

    April 17, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  23. Chris from San Antonio

    re: Barb Canada April 17th, 2008 2:09 pm ET

    I realize Hillary supporters are out of touch, but apparently you haven't been paying attention to the past month of "operation chaos."

    April 17, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  24. CHERYL FOR HILLARY

    JAKE,CA

    SHAME, SHAME, SHAME ON YOU.

    ME MEET IN PA

    HILLARY WE LOVES YOU

    HILLARY 08

    April 17, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  25. Otis

    The only reason Mccain would beat Obama in the general is because of the Hillary suppoters threatining to cross party lines. Wow isn't that typical Hillary. You don't get your way and you pout and cry and do negative things, that affect this country negatively. The fact is that HRC and Obama's policies aren't that different. So if your a Clinton supporter that is going to cross lines, then your a hypocrite. Like I said, there are virtually no differences between their policies. Get real people.

    April 17, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
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