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. Matt

    This is terrible journalism. Sensationist headlines like this are really not needed at essential times such as these.

    April 17, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  2. Bosnian Sniper


    April 17, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  3. DJ

    And the Obama train will keep rolling all the way to the white house in November

    Obama 2008

    April 17, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  4. Grif

    I am not a Crook! And I don't tell Lie's.... Obama, where is you're Shame..... It will all come out now, now you have told how you made 4 Million on the Sale of you're Book... What Book??? Everybody will be reading it now...

    April 17, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  5. Bosnian Sniper

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

    I guess my blood must be another color then.

    April 17, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  6. melikeyhill

    obama is like neo from the matrix,- he is the one!!! why would hillary during last nights debate commit the united states will go to war for israel if its ever attacked? dont we have a constituition that only allows us to go to war when we are attacked? is israel a part of the united states now? she is dangerous, naive and more reckless than bush, she should never be allowed near the white house and the button.

    April 17, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  7. Independent

    Even old line Republicans don`t trust McCain and these modern "spend like there`s no tomorrow" Republicans

    April 17, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  8. Willie

    Stud April 17th, 2008 2:09 pm ET
    The trains leaving and Hillary supporters are being left behind!

    Yeah, keep saying that we are left behind. If Obama is the nominee, we will be left behind in the general election too. Need Votes? Well you sure are not getting ours. LOL

    April 17, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  9. Alice

    BarbCanadam paul and the others who say he is backing Obama because Obama will lose to McCain...

    Have you not heard of Operation Chaos?? It is a well established FACT that the right wing wants to run against Hillary, not Obama, because they will OBLITERATE her with all the baggage from the Clinton years (Obama does not bring up that stuff because he is trying to run a different kind of campaign; that hardly means it isn't there, just waiting for the Republicans to pounce). That's why Republicans are crossing over as "spoilers" in the Dem primary to vote for Hillary. This is not a theory, or a secret.

    April 17, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  10. Carol

    I really think that Hillary is Bi-Polar and should be on meds.

    April 17, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  11. Channell

    Does Hillary wear flag pin?

    April 17, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  12. Melissa

    Count on Obama being asked in the next ABC debate: "So Obama, CNN reports that you were, in fact, responsible for Watergate. Can you unequivocally denounce and reject your connection to William Ruckelshaus?"

    April 17, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  13. Alex in San Antonio

    Seems like Hillary supporters have something in common with small town folks with a disintegrating economy.....bitterness.

    April 17, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  14. Rob

    Aware – clearly you dont read the news. McCain himself said hes rooting for Hillary. You dont think the Republicans have been waiting for this moment? They knew hillary had aspirations for the white house in the 90's, they would love nothing more to tear her apart. I mean she will cry again to soften the blow.

    However, Republicans dont care about tears.

    April 17, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  15. I Will Never Vote For OBAMA

    Loved ABC.

    Finally a news channel who WAS NOT AFRAID to ask media darling Obama "The Almighty" hard questions.

    Obama was exposed as hypocritical, unskilled when unscripted and this race needs to go on. Thanks to Clinton (and I do not even like the woman) she has been able to hang on and prolong this race to expose Obama as the inexperienced rhetoric spewing amateur he truly is and those in the democratic party should be thankful that these ugly truths are being exposed NOW and not in the general election.

    April 17, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  16. David, Silver Spring, MD

    Meanwhile, the ghost of another Watergate figure, H. R. Haldeman, announced his support for Hillary Clinton, citing her "willingness to do what it takes to get the job done."

    April 17, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  17. gary


    April 17, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  18. Kevin

    Obama has definitely attracted this Republican from Oklahoma.

    April 17, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  19. Photon Torpedo Dallas, TX

    Thank you Wiliam Ruckelshaus. Wow a Republican with a conscience and it seems he doesn't have a question about the good Senators patriotism. Well done sir.

    Yes We Can & Yes We Should
    Obama 08'

    April 17, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  20. Bob, Florida-RFO

    Good, building a winning coalition is important for success.

    Chuck Hagel ... are you listening?

    Go Barack '08/12

    April 17, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  21. HEIDI

    Hillary....just say ouch. We know that hurt. Do what we did in grade school when we lost a fight....yell "I give up" "i give up"

    April 17, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  22. Michael


    Did you read the article? This guy was not a crook. He was fired by Nixon because Nixon wanted him get rid of a independent counsel that was investigating Watergate. He was one of the good guys. Oh, I forgot you don't really care about the actual issues you and your fellow Clinton supporters just like to attack attack attack. Just like your hero Billary. By the way, its not working.

    April 17, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  23. John, Indianapolis, IN

    Thanks, Mr. R. because of you, I am proud of being a Hoosier again!

    April 17, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  24. Ingrid

    this guy stood up to Nixon and the Watergate mess. Ruckelshaus is a hero.

    April 17, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  25. Chris-Atlanta,GA

    I love how all you Hillary supporters will vote for McCain in November if your "girl" does not win the nomination. All it does is set the Repulicans up for a sweep in November and McCain can continue the war and appoint Supreme Court Judges to overturn Roe v. Wade.


    MCCAIN/HILLARY 08!!! (The Dream ticket of the Old & Bitter)

    April 17, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19