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. Caligirl

    Excellent!!!!

    October 24, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  2. energy

    I would have respected that voter, if he has any real reaon of voting for Obama istead of his race. Just like one Colin Powell who plunged American into Iraq. The biggest cowards of our generation are: 1) Colin Powell; and (2) Al Gore.

    Singed by Africans Against Barack Obama. Bush is good to Africa and we cannot trust Obama!

    October 24, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  3. Scott in CA

    It's men like Mr. Wheeler who make America great. Well done, Mr. Wheeler. Well done indeed.

    October 24, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  4. joyce

    i am 65,white female who voted early for obama with great pride. IT IS THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE TO VOTE.i felt so good
    god bless obamas granny and god bless ever one

    October 24, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  5. Oregon calling

    This brought tears to my eyes as well and it gives me hope that American can / is going in the correct direction.

    Obama / Biden 08

    October 24, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  6. railaobama

    This is so moving , may God bless Ameriaca. Choose and vote wisely,Vote for a candidate who can take America do a better direction,a true leader who can instillhope in to the hearts of hopeless, who can remind you that even when you are down or when things are tough, you can still arise and make it.i am in grade three,i can not vote but i have asked my parents to vote for Obama.I was very poor in mathematics and physics,but Barack Obama encouraged meby his slogan ` YES I CAN `.HE GAVE ME HOPE TO STUDY SO HARD AND MY GRADES HAVE IMPROVES SO MUCH.I LOVE OBAMA BECAUSE OF HOPE HE GIVES TO PEOPLE.EVEN IF HE DOES NOT MAKE IT,MANY AMERICANS LIKE ME WILL LIVEBY HIS HOPE MESSAGE.THANK YOU BARACK.

    VOTE OBAMA /BIDEN

    October 24, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  7. AFB

    I hope Obama invites him to his victory party!

    This story brought a tear to my eye, and made my day. Thank you.

    October 24, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  8. ADRIAN P

    I too voted for BO. Ithink this will send the message to the world that "RACISM IS DYING". America has always represented the hope of the world.

    October 24, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  9. Susan

    Welcome! We're the fun, intelligent, inclusive party!

    October 24, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  10. Candid

    I am Asian and my whole family is voting for Obama too!
    I believe our country will be proud of Obama.

    October 24, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  11. MIKE COLORADO

    it is done

    October 24, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  12. john

    obama has shown wisdom along the way.
    he continues to inspire me in what ever i do.
    he continues to be humble under pressure by the mccain/palin arsenal.he is truely a leader we need now.
    when i read this man's story, tears comes out of my eyes.
    it is very touching just as the words of obama.
    i had ghost pimples as i read this article.
    Obama/Biden'08

    October 24, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  13. BJ

    I feel so proud to be an American for the first time in a very, very long time. I have hope for the first time in eight years, after being ignored and even mocked by the GOP.

    It's time to reclaim our country!
    YES WE CAN!

    October 24, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  14. arthur

    this is the time and moment for change and loving every bit of it.

    October 24, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  15. John the DJ

    I didn't have to drive 600 miles, but I voted for Barack too!

    October 24, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  16. Chris Anderson

    The man is right.

    To dress up and vote for the candidate of one's choice is the most satisfying thing that we do in the free world.

    There is no good choice or bad choice, just the people's choice.

    October 24, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  17. Tsaibu

    I am moved by this story. I have become an addict to my laptop always logging on to cnn/politics. I think Barrack Obama has inspired so many people including non-americans. Recently i was in New york and i bought the Obama stickers and badges almost everyone in my office wanted one.

    From Kano, Nigeria.

    October 24, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  18. Alfredo Colon

    i‘am sure there are many more beautiful stories like this one out there..I was also inspired by Obama.....Mr. Wheeler you will make Dr.King very happy....It‘s sad that Martin Luther King is not with us,,but you know he is around us in spirit...

    October 24, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  19. MLH

    These are the kind of stories that tell you something momentous is happening in this country.

    Voted Obama '08

    October 24, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  20. Yolanda Munoz

    Thanks for the great story! I'm a latina woman, I've always been proud of this country, even more so now, seeing a person of great character, inner strength, intelligence, and to top it off, a person of color getting this far, and possibly being our next President! I'm praying for Obama's victory! Thank you Mr. Wheeler!!!!

    October 24, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  21. Perla

    I voted early, too, and met a 40-something man who told me he was voting for the first time in his life - and for Obama. (He was white, btw.)

    October 24, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  22. CNN

    Out came my comment – I wonder what you guys are going to do after this election is over and Obama gets in and he starts taking from your pockets to give to – oh let's see now – me, ha ha ha

    October 24, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  23. ANA G. LOS ANGELES. CA

    LOL why is this on political ticker?

    October 24, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  24. ENE M DIAZ

    FRANKLIN RAINES AND OBAMA,CONECTIONS,ATTEMPTING TO SHOW THAT THE LAST TWO YEAR CONGRESS AND SENATE ARE NOT INVOLVED IN THE PRESENT CRISIS,WAVING THE FLAG OF USA ENEMIES. AND ATTEMPTING TO SHOW OTHERS CAUSES. THE ECONOMIC FACTOR, CORRUPTION, FRAUD,BRIBERY,CONSPIRACY CONNECTIONS,TO DESTROY MC CAIN HERO, MORAL REPUTATION AND LEADERSHIP / RUDI GUALIANI POINTED OUT THAT OBAMA IS VERY WEAK AND SOFT WITH IMMIGRANTS CRIMINALS, DRUGS DEALERS, CARTEL, GANGS INSIDE USA. RUDY IS WARNING ABOUT OBAMA, PLANS TO THROW OPEN THE GATES OF ALL THE NATION PRISONS WHERE ARE BLACKS LOCKED UP.. DO NOT CARE WHO THEY HURT IF HE IS ELECTED ,,,,,PRESIDENT

    October 24, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  25. Gene

    Its a beautiful thing to see that people care so much about an election, that they would be willing to drive 600 miles just to cast a vote. That is truly inspiring, and I thank you sir.

    On the lighter side of the news... Joe the Plumber says he's open for running for Congress? If the repubs seriously back this guy.. it shows that republicans truly are retarded... or as whats her face.. Bay?.. is that her name?.. says... Only the intellectual Republicans are backing Obama, but intellectuals do not make up the republican base... and she's the one who always stands up for the Republican ticket!

    What would be even funnier is if Joe decided to move to AZ and ran against McCain. Would McCain try to swiftboat poor innocent Joe the Plumber? Ah.. if only there was a way for that situation to come to fruition. :)

    October 24, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
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