October 24th, 2008
06:00 PM ET
10 years ago

On the Trail: Republican drives 600 miles to vote for Obama

Aaron Wheeler said he's voting Democrat for the first time ever.

Aaron Wheeler said he's voting Democrat for the first time ever.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (CNN) - Sometimes you stumble on stories. Thursday was one of those times.

We were outside Veterans’ Memorial in Columbus reporting on early voting. I approached a man with an “ I just voted” sticker on his lapel to ask him whether he’d encountered any lines. The “lines weren’t bad” he said, with a broad smile. Lines were the last thing on Aaron Wheeler’s mind as he explained why he drove 600 miles back to his old hometown from Virginia, where he moved this month, to vote in what he called “one of the proudest days” of his life.

“My family has been Republican for three generations,” he said, but “I knew I had to change and vote Democrat in the first time almost ever.”

Wheeler said he was one of about 16 black Republican delegates at the 2004 GOP convention, and was proud to support George W. Bush.

This time, he said, he did not attend the Republican convention –and decided he would go one step further and vote for Democrat Barack Obama.

What’s influencing his vote? The economy was one factor, he said. But said he he made his decision “when I saw Barack Obama beaten down for no reason by negative things by Palin.”

Wheeler reminisced about marching with Martin Luther King as a boy, and referred to the slain civil rights leader when he told me he voted for Barack Obama… “not just because of his color….but in the words of Dr. King, the content of his character.”

“Tears come out of my eyes as I cast my ballot,” he said. “I voted for Barack Obama today.”

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (391 Responses)
  1. TONY


    October 24, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  2. i.s

    oh my goodness...this is tooo moving...wow wow wow...i got goosebumps reading this article. Whoa..go Barack...Canada supports you!!!

    October 24, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  3. FreeNLovIt

    Why do ELEPHANTS want four more years when 8 years was mismanaged already?

    Let's stop being greedy. The elephants do not deserve 4 more years.

    October 24, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  4. Lisa

    Congratulations Sir! Your vote for Obama shows the "content of your character" as well.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 24, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  5. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    Good man – I voted for Obama too. Vote early !

    October 24, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  6. John

    More people need to vote early to avoid election day trickery by the GOP

    October 24, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  7. joe six pack

    Welcome to the future, to the new America.

    October 24, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  8. Simmy

    Tears of Joy! God bless you Sir! Obama/Biden 08 Plus!

    October 24, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  9. Trying to keep up, Is a small town in California Pro or Anti American?

    What a proud moment for this man and what a great story. Obama has inspired so many, myself included.

    Vote! Obama 08!

    October 24, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  10. Righteous Metal Broad

    aw... ♥

    In this election, I honestly think we will experience a different kind of Bradley Effect. Many Republicans say they will vote for McCain because they have to, but will secretly vote with their hearts (Obama) on election day.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 24, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  11. FreeNLovIt

    About Ridge on the ticket? It would have been a DISASTER. Ridge would have been one boring ticket. Sure, Powell would have been on board, but the EVANGELISTS would have run away from McCain.

    Of all the scenarios, Palin was the better choice. She's Obama's KRYPTON. Obama is so good that it takes a MAN and a WOMAN to bring down the guy.

    He fought THREE Clintonites. Now, he's fighting the TWO-HEADED Cyclops, headed by McCain/PalinCheney.

    Folks, Republicans have never been and never have ANY records of jumpstarting the economy back to health, so dont give this election to the ELEPHANTS.

    October 24, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  12. Vegas Barbie for Obama

    Thank you, sir, for sharing your story and thank you CNN for posting some POSTIVE press regarding this election!

    October 24, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  13. Felly

    Thank you sir for judging Barack by the content of his character and not his color. Palin is nothing but a lipstick.

    October 24, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  14. Sherry in Kentucky

    God bless you, Mr. Wheeler! We all need to vote like our lives depend on it. This one is too important.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 24, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  15. cnn publish my comments

    I am so proud of him and of the many Americans who like me will vote and will for once make a change in the US and in the whole world.

    I am also scared that
    many of our votes will not be counted (like in WV)
    the machines "will break,"
    the machines will flip our vote from Obama to Mcbush
    the GOP will stop people from voting
    the GOP and their operatives will give people wrong directions
    the mcpalinbushcheney operatives will continue to lie to voters on line
    the mcpalinbushcheney and operatives will make up some attack
    that our votes will either go to mcbush even so we vote for Obama
    that the people like Joe plumber and the woman who made up the story will make up more stories,
    that they will stop people from voting
    that will incite riots
    that they will lie and physically attack good people
    that they will scare good people
    that they will (like the lier ladies from MN, the one at the rally and the crazy congress woman if you can call her that_ bachman) continue to send letters, cds, and flyers to homes of vulnerable elders, and school, as they are doign here in MN.

    this is the lowest of the low,
    America is a great country made with great people, for great people, and we have come a long way for these tyranics to takes us down

    people wake up, even if you think that it only affects democrats _ these affect us all regarless of our race, age, sex preferences, party,

    do no follow Limbaugh, Rove, Bush, Mcpalin, and the rest of neofundamentalist right wings.............. (for htem only hate and bigotry is what feeds them.. and they get paid to do it..)

    this is our future which is literally hanging on the VOTE.................. literally

    October 24, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  16. Kate

    Woot! You go boyfriend! I can't WAIT to cast my ballot for Obama too!!!

    October 24, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  17. Kevin

    Truly inspiring. I commend you, sir.
    Thank you for choosing reason over fear.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 24, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  18. Obama is not the Messiah

    I bet the liberal left will not track this man, look up his tax returns, skewer him over his job, neighbors and try to totally discredit him. Nah that won't happen, he's not from the right party.. Such a nice story.. How convenient someone was there to record it. His vote surprised me.

    October 24, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  19. Gracie








    October 24, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  20. Verouca Salt

    Glad to see you can cast your vote not for the party, but for the person who can do the most for this country. America thanks you!

    October 24, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  21. Independent Voter

    A good man. We're proud of you!

    October 24, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  22. Bev

    I don't understand why Sarah Palin gets let off so easy. If Barack Obama had spent that kind of money on clothes, after touting a "Joe the Plumber" slogan, fighting for the "little guy", he would have been annihilated. She spent on clothes what it will take me 30 years to pay off on a mortgage!! AND, she doesn't have to pay taxes on these gifts. How unfair! Everyone is saying it is no big deal. Well, guess what, to me, a hard working tax payer, it speaks to the very greed that is allegedly behind the Wall street collapse. It demonstrates all too plainly the "elitist" attititude that has so long been a part of the "old regime" in Washington. She may not be from there, but she sure adopted the ways of her new family quite readily and without any signs of remorse or shame. Shame on her, and shame on the media for not making more of this as hard working people are being blamed for trying to achieve the American dream: a home. Not clothes, but a home.

    October 24, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  23. TrendyMac

    With More people of character like Him, Barack & Joe cannot Loose. 🙂

    October 24, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  24. quinton

    Awesome. I have the highest respect for this man no matter who he voted for. But he chose correct!

    October 24, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  25. Enough of Barbara

    Barbara, you voted.. great.. enough of you please.. time for your afternoon nap..

    October 24, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
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