The most active Republican on Obama’s behalf was Susan Eisenhower who spent a considerable amount of time campaigning for the then Illinois Senator. She endorsed Obama on February 1st, 2008, and left the Republican Party when she addressed the Democratic National Convention in August of that year.
She is Ike’s granddaughter and recruited her father (the late President’s only son), her brother David and her sister-in-law, Julie Nixon Eisenhower. She was against the war on terror, the Patriot Act and the Iraq surge. She claimed Obama would reduce the deficit, and Eisenhower told the Democratic Convention:
In my grandparents’ time, the thrust of the Republican Party was rooted in: a respect for the constitution; the defense of civil liberties; a commitment to fiscal responsibility . . . the advancement of civil rights.
Sen. Chafee and Rep. Leach said Obama was “the presidential candidate who represents the traditional conservatism that has been forgotten.” The statement was especially ironic because Chafee and Leach were never conservatives. Practically all of the Republicans who backed Obama claimed he wasn’t partisan and would bring the nation together. The “Republicans for Obama” website spoke of governing in “a post partisan manner.”
That never happened. For example, not one Republican in the House or Senate voted for the President’s health care bill. All GOP reform proposals on every issue were rejected, and Obama has been one of our most partisan presidents. He entered the White House with an enormous reservoir of political and public support and his honeymoon was greater than any incoming president in the past three decades.
Obama had better numbers, and they were usually by double digits, than Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan or either George Bush on every item traditionally measured in transition polls. The Republicans who supported him in 2008 spoke of his ability to bridge differences and bring people together. They said he would rally Americans to a common cause.
To date, the only groups Obama has united are the Republican Party and his political opponents. The message of the 2008 Obama Republicans has long been forgotten. Listed below are some of the prominent Republicans who endorsed the 2008 Obama campaign.
Former Governors Arne Carlson (MN), Linwood Holton (VA), William Milliken (MI) and William Weld (MA).
Former Senators Larry Pressler (SD), David Durenberger (MN), Lincoln Chafee (RI), Charles Mathias (MD) and Lowell Weicker (CT).
Former Congressmen Mickey Edwards (OK), Jim Leach (IA), Wayne Gilcrest (MD), Claudine Schneider (RI), Harris Fawell (IL) and Bob Ellsworth (KS).
Other national Republicans who endorsed the Obama/Biden ticket:
- Ken Adelman, former Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.
- Bruce Bartlett, author, Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America
- Christopher Buckley, son of William F. Buckley, Jr.
- William Donaldson, former Chairman, Securities & Exchange Commission under George W. Bush (2003–05).
- Ken Duberstein, former Reagan chief of staff.
- Julie Nixon Eisenhower, daughter of former President Nixon, granddaughter-in law of Dwight Eisenhower.
- Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of Dwight Eisenhower (she also left the Republican Party).
- Lilibet Hagel, wife of Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE).
- Rita E. Hauser, Former White House intelligence advisor for George W. Bush, backed Kerry in 2004.
- Scott McClellan, White House Press Secretary under George W. Bush from 2003-2006.
- Scott McConnell, editor of Pat Buchanan’s American Conservative magazine. He also endorsed Kerry in 2004.
- Paul O’Neill, Secretary of the Treasury from 2001-02 under George W. Bush.
- Colin Powell, former Secretary of State.
- Libby Pataki, former First Lady of New York from 1995-2007.
- Bill Ruckelshaus, former EPA Administrator
- Andrew Sullivan, author of The Conservative Soul, who also endorsed Kerry in 2004.