October 24th, 2008
06:00 PM ET
6 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. Bring America Back!

    Is it only me, or, does anyone else notice...Why do all the people SHOUT when they are making NO sound(s)? Could it be that WHAT THEY SAY MAKES NO SENSE OR THAT THEY ARE NOT USED TO BEING LISTENED TOO!!!???

    October 24, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  2. 59 year old Republican woman from Ohio

    God bless this man and those who choose to do the right thing on Nov 4th.

    I will cast a vote for this man even though I will have to pay more taxes under his plan because he is the right choice.

    Obama/Biden

    October 24, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  3. Kal

    v.anantha writes "PEOPLE ARE SEEING ONLY THE POSITIVE SIDES OF OBAMA WHICH THE MEDIA WANTS THE VOTERS TO SEE….

    BUT AT THE SAME TIME MEDIA IS SHOWING THE NEGATIVE SIDES OF PALIN AND MCCAIN…

    IF OBAMA GETS ELECTED THERE WILL BE LOTS OF SURPRISES FOR OBAMA SUPPORTERS…

    BE PREPARED"

    Has it ever occured to you that the positives are the only thing that people will see after the 8 years of torture by the policies of McBush. Wait for the affect of the economy to hit you, you will feel even hell is a better place and the devil is actually a very good person.

    Get a life mate!!!!

    October 24, 2008 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  4. ELHA

    I REALLY LIKE OBAMA BUT THIS COUNTRY IS FOR WHITE PEOPLE THEY WILL NEVER ACCEPT A BLACK MAN IN WHIT HOUZ EVERYBODY KNOW THAT WE DO NEED OBAMA BUT AMERICA DONT WANT CHANGE ,,EVERYTHIN IS GOOD NOW AT THE END MC CAIN WILL BE THE NEXT PRESIDENT

    October 24, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  5. KEVIN

    Right... he switched parties based on the issues. Sure. Gotcha. Whatever.

    October 24, 2008 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  6. reagan

    The mans a liar. To say he had tears streaming down his face as he cast his vote for O'Bama says it all. Nothing Sarah Palin has said or done would cause any man to cry and turn against their party.

    What made me a Democrat vote for the Republican party is John McCain. The man is everything this country stands for. I was proud and honored to cast my vote for such a patriot. Also,Democratic Govenor Christine Gregoire of Washington State who has taken a 2 billion dollar surplus and turned it into a 3 billion dollar deficit. I am so mad at Washington state Democtrats that I voted Republican for every position.

    October 24, 2008 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  7. WOW - Irving, TX and Women for Obama

    Congrats to you sir, this is really a mile stone for you....Thanks for changing....

    I will be voting early on tomorrow....

    October 24, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  8. Luke

    Good man. I'm glad he actually thought about the choice rather than simply go with the party.

    October 24, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  9. Ursula

    GOBAMA!!!!!!!!!! I'm waiting for election day to vote, but I'm voting for Obama. My mom didn't raise me to be stupid.

    October 24, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  10. Patricia New Mexico

    The whole world loves Barack Obama. If Barack wins we will renew our respect in the world.

    October 24, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  11. Bigbubba

    Dammm. A lifelong Republican with a consience. I really did not know such things still existed. It is sort of like finding a triceratop standing in your driveway.

    October 24, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  12. mitzi

    Nobama is not going to prevail. Tell me just one good, sound, solid reason he is better. Oh, and let's not forget that Biden will be right there with him. You know the one who said, while Hilary was running against him, that Obama was not ready. Or better yet, Biden , the one who said he would run with McCain last year. EXPLAIN THIS TO ME SOMEBODY. Look it up, Where is your brain?

    October 24, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  13. bill for barack

    I wish I could have paid for his gas.

    October 24, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  14. Bigbubba

    I will admit that I have already voted. And that I voted for Obama. When I went down to the post office to mail the ballot I took my neighbor and his wife's ballots. They are adamant McCain supporters. How they voted was important. But how they voted was their choice. I am 62 in December and have arthritic knees and back. But I am doing better than my neighbors. So, I mailed their ballots.

    While I know some people will think it is stupid of me to go ahead and mail those ballots, it is both the duty and the privilage of every American to vote. Not mailing those ballots might have made political sense. However it would have sullied everything I believe this election is about to do anything other than what I did.

    VOTE. Vote for whichever candidate you feel is correct for this country, but please get out and vote.

    October 24, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  15. Lisa

    Why is this news? He should have requested an absentee ballot and saved his gas.

    Also, I am not republican...I am not a democrat...I am an AMERICAN, and I will cast my vote on Monday for McCain/Palin to preserve the country I love.

    October 24, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  16. Jeff

    This fellow is what it is all about.

    We can be better than we have been.

    Barack is just the guy at the front of the crowd, folks. It's the crowd that makes the difference.

    October 24, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  17. capitalist

    as an american, i don't care what canadians think...so canadians, worry about your own country, why do you post here?

    October 24, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  18. jack

    Mccain may have been tested over and over, but from the responses we've seen during the campaign, it's clear that he didn't learn anything..........just like he did in the navy.

    "Judge a person by the content of their character.........."

    October 24, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  19. Fairfax Voter

    Gotta tell you, this election cycle has been a damp one for me too. I don't ever remember crying with joy during a campaign before.

    I'm a middle-aged white southern woman, and I was joshing and joking with the election officials here in northern Virginia when I went in to vote a week ago. Then they left me with the voting machine and I reached out to touch the screen, and darned if I didn't start crying and couldn't stop. Four election officials looking at me with one thought: "None of us brought any Kleenex."

    Barack Obama offers the temperament, the brains, the toughness, the steadiness, and the emotional and political intelligence to lead us through one of the tough times in our history. I would vote for him if he was black, white, or green. But the fact that our nation would elect, or consider electing, a black man as president is a big thing for all of us. And that is why I was crying tears of joy.

    October 24, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  20. Steve

    Give me a break! Where were all these tear jerking stories when Kerry was running? Oh right, Kerry is white.

    October 24, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  21. JT Dale

    People like him are the people who always end up the best of people. Not only did he realize what the Republican party has done for the past eight years. He is also voting on the person for the job because he knows Obama will do the best job in the White House. Obama will clean up after Bush 43 like Clinton did after Bush 4.

    October 24, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  22. Brian

    Negative things by Palin? You mean... the truth?

    unbelievable how the media has framed this election in an entirely false light

    well, what goes around comes around.... it always does

    October 24, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  23. JT Dale

    People like him are the people who always end up the best of people. Not only did he realize what the Republican party has done for the past eight years. He is also voting on the person for the job because he knows Obama will do the best job in the White House. Obama will clean up after Bush 43 like Clinton did after Bush 41.

    October 24, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  24. barry

    Guys settle down with the nasty talk...."it ain't over till the fat lady sings" and November 5th rolls around...so just be quiet and GO AND VOTE.

    October 24, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  25. Jim Colorado

    Makes you proud to be part of America.

    October 24, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
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