April 17th, 2008
04:40 PM ET
14 years ago

Watergate-era Republican backs Obama

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/17/art.ruckelshaus.jpg caption="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. Dood

    Obama has a ZERO chance at beating McCain.

    He's already behind and the Repubs haven't even started in on him yet.

    Obama isn't changing anything and neither will McCain. Those of us that live in reality know this.

    April 17, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  2. Jane

    ABC tried to do a hit job on Barack last night. The fact that he refused to stoop to pandering and cheapshots, and kept his cool shows he is a great leader. Is America ready for it or not?

    April 17, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  3. rese


    April 17, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  4. Debra Hasan

    Go Obama.

    April 17, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  5. Glenn, Cary, NC

    Tell me again what bridges Obama has built? Just exactly what unifying has he brought about? The number of Democrates that Obama repels is much greater than the number of Republicans that he attracts. This whole "Obama the bridge-builder" notion is a fantasy cooked up and marketed by Axelrod – who is himself one of the biggest big-time special interest consultants in the business of hyping products and protecting huge corporations. It's a great story, and a great big fraud. When Obama loses between 40 and 45 states in November, then you can say he's a uniter – he will have united Republicans, Independents and Democrats who love America in opposition to his fluff and flim-flam.

    April 17, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  6. Shelley in NC

    OK MORONS (mostly Hillary supporters):

    LOOSER=less tight

    LOSER=not a winner

    You don't check spelling just like you don't check facts!!!

    OBAMA '08!!!

    April 17, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  7. FactCheck

    Seems I was wrong about all of the conservative Christians and Evangelicals who blindly followed Dubya in 2004... Clinton supporters have set a new low for sheer and utter ignorance.

    April 17, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  8. Behr

    I don't understand democrats thinking about voting for McCain if their candidate doesn't get the nomination. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. Think Judges, Roe vs. Wade, Iraq, the economy-McCain is not Republican lite-he's a down and dirty full blown conservative.

    April 17, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |

    Each clean "CUT" endorsement certainly cannot hurt....

    Air out the D-I-R-T-Y laundry now......

    April 17, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  10. Val, Atlanta, Ga

    I think all of you Bitter Clinton supporters should go to church and take her with you little do you know that the place for healing, LOL

    April 17, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  11. Utah Teacher

    Don't worry. I know how to spell DIFFERENCE.
    I was quoting a previous blog...

    April 17, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  12. ken

    People dont' be so so ignornat, i don't care who the Democratic candidate turns out to be, if you are stupid enough to vote for another Republican for 4 years, everyone one of you deserve exactly what you get and its only going to get worse. Wake up and smell the coffee, if either Obama and Clinton supporters vote Republican if there candidate doesn't make it is utterly stupid..Yes stupid

    April 17, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  13. David, Silver Spring, MD

    To "Go For What You Know," let me just say that Abraham Lincoln did pretty well with his rhetoric. His campaign speeches sometimes lasted three hours.

    I don't believe Hillary has shown a lifetime commitment to the democratic principles. She was a corporate lawyer for WalMart, for eight years listening to the board disparage unions. And yet she did not speak up. She did not quit her job.

    As for Bush, it wasn't his "charisma" that got him elected, it was the Rovian dirty tricks and "gotcha" games. The same kind of games Hillary is trying to play against Barack. If we don't stop it now, it'll never end and each election will become more and more trivial.

    April 17, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  14. Apollyon

    It kills me that these foolish Billary supporters try to advance the claim that the Reichpublicans want Obama over Billary. Where do they get this? Or is it just an embedded trait of Billary AND her supporters that the truth isn't all that necessary? I have never heard a Reichpublican pundit claim that. The complete opposite is the truth. Every one of them that has commented on this subject has stated, "There is no democrat that can energize and bring out the evangelicals and conservatives than Hillary Clinton." And on top of that, since McBush became their nominee, it's common knowledge that he'll get nearly all of the , "on the fence" Independents against Billary.

    April 17, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  15. Lynn D

    Why would a Republican endorse Senator Obama? I guess they now feel that Senator Obama would be easier to beat in November. Senator Obama has just gotten a hold of a lot of negative baggage and no one has gone through it yet.

    April 17, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  16. Ro

    the so called 'debate' was a total let down. Only about 30 of the 120 minutes were spent talking about real issues.......the rest was a total waste of time......why doesn't Obama wear a flag pin??? That's somehow important??? Do YOU wear a flag pin???? I don't! Does that mean I"m un-American? That I don't believe in the flag???

    Wake up people! This is a contest for our next President. It's not a popularity contest. Next thing you know, they'll be complaining because Obama didn't have on a red tie last night! Wow! He must not be patriotic!

    Obama is the only choice in 08

    April 17, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  17. Mike

    Goes to show you that O or Mc is ok, either way. This country is definitely united against Hillary. We simply cannot afford another clintoon in the WH. O is a socialist, Mc is a moderate liberal and clintoon is just pure evil. Unite Dems, Reps, and Ind's. . . .

    April 17, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  18. Mark F

    Ah, great headline. Love how you managed to work a scandal into the endorsement. Kudos to the low-life creep who wrote this headline.

    Next time Hillary gets an endorsement, I think the headline should read: "So and So Endorses Candidate Linked to Clinton Impeachment, Sex Scandal"

    Because I think that would be pretty great too.

    April 17, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
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