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. JIM...TX

    lizzie...no compelling McCain stories...hum. Let me see..how about his sarcasim towards reporters who question his lack of specifics on any of his "I have a plan" BS or maybe spending $150,000 on Palins clothes..."works for me"...or "I can end the war" all followed by a hateful glare! I guess there isn't any after all!!!!

    October 24, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  2. give me a break

    just curious – why are we just now – 11 days from election day – finally hearing about a Palin plan for special needs children and their families? Does she think it will help her get elected after all the venom spewing, hate mongoring and name calling? A leopard doesn't change it's spots. Besides if they, God forbid, make it to the White House – i'd bet my life the Cindy McCain will slap her back in a corner and be the only princess in the news. Sharing the spotlight with this woman is torturing poor ole Cindy. Palin is a hate filled loon and Mccain looks like he's on meds when he has to be around her. Watch the looks on his face with the Brian Williams interview – the man looks like someone's feeding him happy pills - hmmm on second thought maybe Cindy's shoving them down him.

    October 24, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  3. Texas Trail Dog!

    He is a very stupid man. What's worse he really thinks Obama is going to help the African Americans. Oh woe of the stupidity of man.

    October 24, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  4. S. Boatman

    Another Inspiring Story From Obama Supporters . . . While Mccain Supporters Have A Story About A Girl Having A Letter Carved Into Her Face By A Black Man Which Turns Out To Be Made Up!

    October 24, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  5. BS

    Really, how heroic was it to bomb / napalm Vietnamese villagers from the safety of the sky. My dog is more heroic and indeed ethical.

    October 24, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  6. pete henendez

    I have been harsh on Mr Mccain lately.I always liked him.He was my pick in 2000,and when he lost I disapeared too.When he emerged this time I didnt know him anymore.Really off beat.He attacked dishonorably, picked dishonorably and even look dishonorable sometimes.I know it is politics,but there is always a drawn line that should not be crossed by honorable people such as decorated heroes like himself.He just lost my admiration and respect, am sorry to say.We are witnessing together the emergence of a leader that will make history for this country and its unity...God bless

    October 24, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  7. Hawaii for Obama

    I just got back from the polls, and cast my vote for Barack Obama & Joe Biden!

    There's no turning back now. Change is coming to the United States in 10 days,

    October 24, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  8. Dre


    October 24, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  9. Janice

    This is news because there are many black citizens who have lived through the "jim crow" era and the civi rights movement era; and now, they have the opportunity to vote for someone who they see actually have the intellect and character to steer our Country in the direction to make it the the most econimally sound and respected Country it once was.

    When I vote for Senator Obama and Senator Biden, I will have the thoughts of my deceased grandparents, great aunts and uncles and my godparents, as well as my deceased step-father and my living mother who has Alzheimer's. I will pull the lever for them for the team that has the intellect and character t restore and enhance our Nation.

    October 24, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  10. Rave

    Looks like you have a plan Mr. Aaron.
    You made the right choice.
    McCain's plants : Joe the Plumber and Ashley Todd turned out to be fakes. McCain is a fake

    October 24, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  11. Peachbird

    Did I read someone back there worrying about 401Ks, if Obama gets elected? Get a grip of reality. The Republicans under Geo. Bush allowed this financial crisis to develop! And trust me, Republicans under John McCain are not going to improve it. They are the ones who will make it worse. The Republicans got us into this mess with their policies... they are NOT qualified to get us OUT of their mess!

    I can hardly wait to go early vote tomorrow with my 80 year old mother! We will both vote for Barack Obama! Proudly so!

    October 24, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  12. dgracey

    I would of traveled a million miles to turn in my vote for Obama. I have never been into politics until this election. I even donated to Obama's campaign. I am so sad to see where our country is at right now, thanks to the failed policies of W. (oh by the way bush/ cheney voted for McCain today, exactly bush wants to see his failed policies continued) anyways I love this story. But like Obama said let's not get cocky, we need to make sure we get everyone around us to the voting booth. For our future and our kids future! Obama 08!!!!!

    October 24, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  13. Peachbird

    Oh, by the way.... Mom and I both look pretty white... being half so.... but we are Native American! We would both vote for Obama if he was red, black, white, or GREEN! He IS the man for the job!!!!

    October 24, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  14. Chris in Va.

    Have a blessed day Mr. Wheeler.
    YES WE CAN!!!!!! '08!!!!!!!!!

    October 24, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  15. WhatThe

    VOTE NOW EVERYONE!!!! GO,RUN..NOW!!! Remember New Hampshire!! McCain is too relaxed for one who is behind in the polls...be alert!! The GOP may have an election day voting count surprise up it's sleeve again!!! BE ALERT!

    October 24, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  16. SB in NoVA

    Great decision, sir! I will also shed tears voting for Sens. Obama and Biden. It is an emotion election this year and everyone is totally involved. Good for you for standing up for what you believe in!

    Obama/Biden 08 and Beyond!
    Turn VA Blue!!

    October 24, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  17. Bring America Back!

    You go Aaron! You have a good head on your shoulders. Vote your heart, mind & soul! WWJD? He would look at the HUMAN. Not the "judgement" of those whom "hide" behind the bible...

    October 24, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  18. Dorie Strater

    Please, for those of us who want an impartial or 'both sides' coverage of the facts, find another Political Analyst to represent the Republican Party besides Bay Buchanan. She is way over the edge.

    I have noticed that David Gerger has had influence on some of your political analysts. Those who came across as extremely biased (either side) did not present a realistic view of the political situation. Since David has maintained the 'high road' in his analysis of the debates, etc., it is apparent from their comments that other analysts are attempting to do the same. THANK YOU!

    October 24, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  19. Dorothy, TN

    You all make me cry as I read these blogs and your excitement. I am a product of the Jim Crow south and this is truly a remarkable time in our history, but above all is the content of Mr. Obama's character. That is why he is so inspiring. Yes we can! Yes we will!

    October 24, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  20. LMC in Seattle

    So if an African American votes for an African American, it is racially based, but if a white person votes for a white person, it isn't? I believe ALL people are capable of choosing a candidate for their virtues and "content of character," if they choose to. I voted for character, candor, calm under fire, and intelligence. I voted for Obama/Biden! And if it matters–I'm white.

    October 24, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  21. thomas

    This is the "real America".

    October 24, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  22. SB in NoVA

    Hey "Jimmy"

    EVERY new president will be tested ... after all who was in the oval office on Sept. 11, 2001????????

    Don't be stupid!

    Obama/Biden 08 and beyond!
    Turn VA Blue!!

    October 24, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  23. TangoDancer

    Thanks Mr. Wheeler. We need your vote here in Ohio.

    October 24, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |

    My mother, a lifelong Republican, is voting for Obama. The American people are sick and tired of soundbites and scare tactics, illusions and actors/actresses. They want the real thing, honest and good people in leadership.



    October 24, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  25. Michigan Voter

    I understand you brought Lou Dobbs back because he provides the 'Shock Jock' aspect to your news crew. Honestly, the news hour this evening with another anchor (didn't catch her name) was far superior and more in keeping with the CNN standards. You may want to rethink your early evening news hour anchor.

    October 24, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
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