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Republicans and Conservatives Endorsing Barack in 2008

By John Martin - Posted on 16 October 2008

Here's a recap of some of the biggest Republicans, Republicans-turned-independents, and conservatives who supported Barack for President in 2008.


Elected Officials:

Jim Leach, Former Congressman from Iowa

"For me, the national interest comes before party concerns, particularly internationally. We do need a new direction in American policy, and Obama has a sense of that."

Lincoln Chafee, Former United States Senator from Rhode Island

"As I look at the candidates in order who to vote for, certainly my kind of conservatism was reflected with Senator Obama, and those points are that we're fiscally conservative, we care about revenues matching expenditures, we also care about the environment, I think it's a traditional conservative value to care about clean air and clean water."

William Weld, Former Governor of Massachusetts

"It's not often you get a guy with his combination of qualities, chief among which I would say is the deep sense of calm he displays, and I think that's a product of his equally deep intelligence."

Arne Carlson, Former Governor of Minnesota

"I think we have in Barack Obama the clear possibility of a truly great president. I would contend that it's the most important election of my lifetime."

Wayne Gilchrest, Congressman from Maryland

"We can't use four more years of the same kind of policy that's somewhat haphazard, which leads to recklessness."

Charles Mathias, Former United States Senator and Congressman from Maryland

"My decision is based on the long-range needs of our country and which of these two candidates I feel is better suited to recharge America's economic health, restore its prestige abroad and inspire anew all people who cherish freedom and equality. For me, that person is Barack Obama."

Larry Pressler, Former Senator from South Dakota

"I just got the feeling that Obama will be able to handle this financial crisis better, and I like his financial team of [former Treasury Secretary Robert] Rubin and [former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul] Volcker better."

Richard Riordan, Former Mayor of Los Angeles

"I'm still a Republican, but I still will always vote for the person who I think will do the best job."

Lowell Weicker, Former Governor and Senator from Connecticut

"At issue is not the partisan politics of two parties, rather the image we have of ourselves as Americans. Senator Obama brings wisdom, kindness, and common sense to what is both his and our quest for a better America."

Claudine Schneider, Former Congressman from Rhode Island

Harris Fawell, Former Congressman from Illinois

Jim Whitaker, Fairbanks, Alaska Mayor

"If we are as a nation concerned with energy, then our consideration should be a national energy policy that is not predicated on crude oil 50 years into the future. We need to get to it, and I think Barack Obama is very clear in that regard."

William Milliken, Former Governor of Michigan

Lou Thieblemont, Mayor of Camp Hill, Pennsylvania

"I'm sick and tired of the politics of fear in this country.  He's the only one who doesn't do that."

Linwood Holton, Former Governor of Virginia

"Obama has a brain, and he isn't afraid to use it."


Columnists and Academics:

Jeffrey Hart, National Review Senior Editor

"It turns out that these political parties are not always either liberal or conservative, Democratic or Republican. The Democrat, under certain conditions, can be the conservative."

Andrew Bacevich, Professor of International Relations at Boston University

"For conservatives, Obama represents a sliver of hope. McCain represents none at all. The choice turns out to be an easy one."

David Friedman, Economist and son of Milton and Rose Friedman

"I hope Obama wins. President Bush has clearly been a disaster from the standpoint of libertarians and conservatives because he has presided over an astonishing rise in government spending."

Christopher Buckley, Son of National Review founder William F. Buckley & former NR columnist

"Obama has in him-- I think, despite his sometimes airy-fairy 'We are the people we have been waiting for' silly rehtoric-- the potential to be a good, perhaps even great leader. He is, it seems clear enough, what the historical moment seems to be calling for."

Andrew Sullivan, Columnist for the Atlantic Monthly

"Obama's legislative record, speeches, and the way he has run his campaign reveal, I think, a very even temperament, a very sound judgment, and an intelligent pragmatism. Prudence is a word that is not inappropriate to him."

Wick Alison, Former publisher of the National Review

"I made the maximum donation to John McCain during the primaries, when there was still hope he might come to his senses. But I now see that Obama is almost the ideal candidate for this moment in American history."

Michael Smerconish, Columnist for the Philadelphia Enquirer

" Obama presidency holds the greatest chance for unifying us here at home and restoring our prestige around the globe."

CC Goldwater, Granddaughter of Barry Goldwater

"Nothing about the Republican tickets offers the hope America needs to regain its standing in the world, that's why we're going to support Barack Obama."

Government Officials:

Colin Powell, Secretary of State under Bush 43

"...he has met the standard of being a sucessful president, being an exceptional president. I think he is a transformational figure. He is a new generation coming into the world-- onto the world state, onto the American stage, and for that reason I'll be voting for Senator Barack Obama."

Ken Duberstein, White House Chief of Staff under Reagan

"Well let's put it this way-- I think Colin Powell's decision is in fact the good housekeeping seal of approval on Barack Obama."

Douglas Kmiec, Head of the Office of Legal Counsel under Reagan & Bush 41

"I was first attracted to government by Ronald Reagan, who lives in our national memory as a great leader and an inspiring communicator. Senator Obama has these gifts as well, but of course, more rhetorical flourish without substance would be worth little. Is there more to Senator Obama? I believe there is."

Charles Fried, Solicitor General of the United States under Reagan

"I admire Senator McCain and was glad to help in his campaign, and to be listed as doing so; but when I concluded that I must vote for Obama for the reason states in my letter, I felt it wrong to appear to be recommending to others a vote that I was not prepared to cast myself."

Jackson M. Andrews, Former Counsel to the U.S. Senate, & 1986 Republican Senatorial Nominee for Kentucky

"Barack Obama is a thoughtful visionary leader who as President will end the decline of American law, liberty, and fiscal responsibility that are the hallmarks of the extremist policies of the current Administration, now adopted by John McCain."

Susan Eisenhower, Granddaughter of President Eisenhower & President of the Eisenhower Group

"Given Obama's support among young people, I believe that he will be most invested in defending the interests of these rising generations and, therefore, the long-term interests of this nation as a whole."

Francis Fukuyama, Advisor to President Reagan

"...Obama probably has the greatest promise of delivering a different kind of politics."

Rita Hauser, Former White House intelligence advisor under George W. Bush

"McCain will continue the wrong-headed foreign policy decisions of Bush, while Obama will take us in a new direction."

Larry Hunter, Former President Reagan Policy Advisor

"I suspect Obama is more free-market friendly than he lets on. He taught at the University of Chicago, a hotbed of right-of-center thought. His economic advisers, notably Austan Goolsbee, recognize that ordinary citizens stand to gain more from open markets than from government meddling."

Scott McClellan, Former Press Secretary to President George W. Bush

"From the beginning I have said I am going to support the candidate that has the best chance for changing the way Washington works and getting things done and I will be voting for Barack Obama and clapping."

Bill Ruckelshaus, Served in the Nixon and Reagan administrations

"I'm not against McCain, I'm for Obama."

Ken Adelman, Served in the Ford administration

"The most important decision John McCain made in his long campaign was deciding on a running mate. That decision showed appalling lack of judgment... that selection contradicted McCain's main two, and best two, themes for his campaign-- Country First, and experience counts. Neither can he credibly claim, post-Palin pick."

Lilibet Hagel, Wife of Republican Senator Chuck Hagel

"This election is not about fighting phantom issues churned out by a top-notch slander machine. Most important, it is not about distracting the public-- you and me-- with whatever slurs someone thinks will stick."

Bruce Rabb, Served in the Nixon administration

George C. Lodge, Assistant Secretary of Labor under President Eisenhower

William B. Ewald, Jr., Special Assistant under President Eisenhower

Robert R. Bowie, Assistant Secretary for Policy Planning, Department of state 1953-1957

Jarold Kieffer, Assistant Secretary, Health, Education & Welfare, 1959-61

Roswell B. Perkins, Assistant Secretary, Health, Education & Welfare, 1954-56

Timothy Ashby, Served in the Reagan and Bush 41 administrations

"America needs a courageous and innovative president rather than one such as John McCain who would only perpetuate the failed Bush policies. On Nov. 4, this Reagan Republican is voting for Barack Obama."

Richard S. Seline, Finance Director, Republican Party of Texas

"Why do I support Obama as a Republican?  His vision and focus is what I want for my child and my country."

David Caprara, Faith-Based Initiatives Director, Federal Volunteer Service Agency under Bush 43

"As president, Barack Obama would take the faith-based initiative started by President Bush to a new level in global affairs."

John Perry Barlow, Former Dick Cheney Campaign Manager





Fried is there now.  Thanks!

Add Goldwater's granddaughter  CC Goldwater

 does she count?


Hello, Switchers.

You might like this Republican Switchers site, which has been designed to be a handy, one-page, at-a-glance site that one can easily send to conservative and undecided voters -- grandparents, relatives, colleagues, friends, etc. -- especially in toss-up states.  

The address is

A shorter address (for posting on Twitter, etc.) is

The current post is based in part on your wonderful compilation, John. (A friend and I followed your directions to another poster, above, to "disseminate as widely as possible."  Thank you so much.  We'll be watching for updates and adding them. We also linked to your site and included it in a custom search engine.)

I actually started the site for Kerry, in 2004:

And with the help of a very good friend, we rehabbed it a bit this week for the current election.

To other readers, please help spread the
word. Send to folks in your address book (especially in toss-up states), post on Twitter and on blogs, and share on discussion lists and forums.

Thanks again, John and company!

P.S.  Also check out the Kids for Obama blog:

Former GOP senator, vet backs Obama

Former Sen. Larry Pressler (R-S.D.), who was the first Vietnam veteran to serve in the United States Senate, is the latest Republican to back Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign, Politico learned Sunday.

NASCAR legend Junior Johnson supports Obama for President.

I've been told that in some parts of the country this is a bigger endorsement than any General or politician ever could make.....

I was just going to post this.  This is HUGE in NC, the man is a NASCAR legend.  I could barely believe my ears when I heard it.  Part of his announcement:


My family and I have given this election a lot of thought. Our country is in a rough spot, and we're going to need some serious change. There's only one candidate ready to deliver it -- and that's Barack Obama. Every day I talk to someone else who's never voted for a Democrat, but now they're voting for Barack Obama. They realize that Barack understands what we're going through here in North Carolina. And they're ready for change.

So I've made up my mind, and I'm ready to get involved. I know that I could never have won a race without my pit crew, and I know Barack can't win this one without us.

Wow! A Nascar driver? I know Nascar is like football to some people.

Yeah, WHOA lol. I really like how he explained to. "Yeah wife and I talked and the big 2 reasons are Robert and 2 children" That resonates with my thoughts as well.

My son is only 16 months, but my stepson is 8 and as they grow I want them to be in a more stable country and more united. 

Add former Republican Senator from Maryland Charles McC. Mathias, Jr.


How can you say Hitchens is not conservitive:

 I for one was shocked to find out Hitchens backed Obama

I'm not sure I understand how that first piece shows that Hitchens is a conservative, although it was pretty interesting.

You're not the first who wants him on the list.  I don't have that much fight in me.  If 1 or 2 others think he should be there, I'll probably just cave.

Excellent list; I want to send it to all my Republican & Conservative friends.  It would be even more useful in a printer-friendly format with links to the reports of the complete endorsements.
A minor correction, but Charles C. "Mac" Mathias is a former Congressman/ Representative and SENATOR from Maryland.

Conservative papers endorsing Obama should be added to the list.

A good example is the Chicago Tribune ... "This endorsement makes some history for the Chicago Tribune. This is the first time the newspaper has endorsed the Democratic Party's nominee for president.",0,1371034.story?page=1

And they continue to roll in.

Ken Duberstein - former Reagan chief of staff

Recommend updating Ashby to say what he did for Reagan/Bush

"oversaw U.S. trade policy in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America "

I cannot wait to see people attack this endorsement. Reagan is like a republican icon and rightfully so he was well loved by EVERYONE and was a good president.

When former Reagan's staffers are endorsing Obama that says a lot. 

Recommend elaborating on Fukuyama's 

Recommend listing as philosopher,  political economist, and Reagan advisor who was critical in the formulation of the Reagan Doctrine (rolling back Soviet-backed communist governments)

  Also, I'd put Hagel at the bottom and hightlight as "Pending" in big bold letters

 Why isn't Lugar listed?



Hey Copernic--

We're just trying to keep some of the titles manageable.  I used discretion in some instances to just say that they "served under so-and-so's adminstration."

It doesn't look like Hagel will be endorsing. 

Lugar didn't actually endorse Barack-- just "endorsed" his foreign policy and said a bunch of other good stuff about him.  Lugar has officially endorsed McCain.


And more


Former administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, serving three presidents and are lifelong Republicans.

William Donaldson, Former Chairman of the Securities & Exchange Commission under George W. Bush, Former Under Secretary of State under Nixon, and Former special adviser to Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, and David Ruder, Former Chairman of the Securities & Exchange Commission under Reagan, endorsed Obama during the primaries. (not sure is that counts as an endorsement for the general election though?)


Lou Thieblemont, current Mayor Camp Hill, Pennsylvania "switched his lifelong Republican registration [in April] so he [could] vote for Democratic Sen. Barack Obama in Pennsylvania's April 22 primary"


John Hutson, Ret. Rear Admiral, former Judge Advocate General of the Navy, and lifetime Republican spoke at the DNC in Denver declaring he was switching parties and would be voting for Barack Obama in November



Great list, but what about David Brooks, who claims that "Sarah Palin is a cancer on the Republican Party....."  He spoke admiringly of Obama's deep intelligence and I think that he is in the tank for Obama.  I am not sure if he has officially endorsed Obama or not.


Hey Maggie--

I wouldn't call what he's said as an official endorsement, but I'm sure he's pulling Barack's lever.


Mickey Edwards, former congressman from Oklahoma.

Hey Larry,

Do you have a reference for that?  Edwards wouldn't surprise me, but I just haven't seen him come out officially.

I just listened to a Fresh Air interview of Mickey Edwards, former House Republican from Oklahoma, author of Reclaiming Conservatism, and Obama supporter. The recording is from November 5, and it's still available on the podcast; NPR might still have the recording available on its usual media player service.

Here's the segment. I don't know if that's an endorsement, but he did say he voted for then-Sen. Obama, and his objections to the neoconservatives are ones i share.


And there's no sense crying over every mistake
You just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake.

Spammer, didn't we have this link before as  a spammer?
 These thoughts are before presidency for the most part,,,what are they and what will they be thinkin??That is the question.

How many of them will regret in following years? I like the ones who complained about reckless deficits and debt xD

I also see some neo-con hawks supporting Obama. Neocons are mostly moderate or liberal on social issues.


<Neocons are mostly moderate or liberal on social issues>

Nothing could be further from the truth here in America, Xavi.  Are you back to America-bashing again without, as you said once, understanding our politics?? 

Danger Will Robinson! Spam above!

It's sad that we've reached a point where 'government service' is a dirty word... If we're the greatest country on earth, maybe we can have the greatest government.

Lewis Black

This is a great list. I heard one of those republicans met the President at a golf college fundraiser dinner.

David Friedman is an anarcho-capitalist (not rothbardian). I think he hated Bush and Republicans in Congress much more than he loved Obama. By the way, he is much more radical and anti-government than his dad.

I have read other libertarians and anarcho capitalists who preferred Obama over McCain because of Republican budget deficits and wars. These guys should be considered the opposite of David Frum and other neocons.

Not all anti-government people are nuts and apocalyptic militias.

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