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. MBFLA

    Yes we can take back our country!

    October 24, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  2. John, Tampa, FL

    A lot of Republicans will be voting for Obama/Biden this year.

    October 24, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  3. Janice

    This is a proud moment for this man. I'm Happy for him. It's sure a telling thing when women of this country didn't have the guts to stick together for one of their gender.

    October 24, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  4. pawstiv1

    Good for you....this is democracy in action....I too just returned from a 2 hour round trip to vote early....I felt so empowered when I was done and am so looking forward to tearing up when I watch Barack Obama take the oath of office.

    I am astounded that in America there are so many issues with voting. At 55 years old, voting in every election I could since turning 18 (the first year 18 year olds were allowed), I have only seen these types of problems since 2000 – the first election stolen by bush/rove. We should be ashamed and determined to change this course.

    October 24, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  5. Jamil Chatila

    this what America stands for.....Obama looks out for each and every one of us, he speaks our language, and desrves the presidency, I will be voting for this great man, and i am proud to be one individual who is seeing history in the making, Vote Obama and be proud of it America.

    October 24, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  6. UU

    I hope CNN will finally post my comment
    I heard John Mccain say he has been tested. I would like to ask: IN WHAT AND AS WHAT HAS HE BEEN TESTED? Nobody has a Presidential Experience except the current or PAST President(s). You cannot have a Presidential experience as a Legislator. That office is a whole new ball game. So wake up Mccain and get real.

    Congrats to the guy that drove 600miles to vote for Obama.

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

    I live in Illinois and voted early for Barack Obama.

    October 24, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  8. Kingslough

    Oooooh...pretty moving story, your effort has uplifted american lives and their future. Go Obama!

    October 24, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  9. Aaron

    A proud day for America! God bless her!

    October 24, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  10. Christina

    Now that's Real America...
    Congratulations Aaron!

    October 24, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  11. lizzie

    give me a break. i guess there are just no inspiring mccain
    stories. you guys are so contemptible, hope you enjoy losing
    401k.

    October 24, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  12. A Woman In California For Obama

    Welcome Mr. Wheeler! Welcome.

    October 24, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  13. John S

    As a Canadian, I often wondered how a country like America could hold their people back with Racism and Bigotry. But the last few weeks I have learned one thing about our brothers and sisters to the south. That one thing is, That I was wrong. America would never let its people be known as Racist and Bigots. They are much to intelligent and tolerant to let something like that affect them. Americans always rise above the rest when it comes to doing what is right for Humanity and doing the right thing for themselves. I was worried about this race but not any longer. I kow that my neighbors to the south are like us. We do not tolerate someone trying to divide our country with talk of division and intolerance. North America is one hugh piece of land divided into two great countries where Freedom thrives for all. No matter if they are white, black, red or yellow. No matter if you are aChristian, Budhist , Muslim or Indu. We are all one when it comes to that one beautiful word. DEMOCRACY. America will come together on Nov 4 and no oen could be prouder of her than her next door neighbors. One Nation under Barrack Obama as President of the United States of America

    October 24, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  14. VOTE! OBAMA!!! VOTE! OBAMA!! VOTE!

    “not just because of his color….but in the words of Dr. King, the content of his character.”

    See America its not always about the color of a persons skin that makes them choose one party over the other.

    Obama is the best for America and the world.

    October 24, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  15. Joe the Troll

    Did anyone ask him why he didn't just request an absentee ballot?

    October 24, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  16. Georgia for Obama

    I voted Obama/Biden and Jim Martin for senate in Georgia it took me 1.5 hour to vote...........I would have waited for 6 hours just to vote for Obama/Biden and Jim Martin I advise everybody to do early vote for Obama/Biden if your really want your vote to be counted I heard in some states running out of ballots in the demoncrate area and computer glinches...

    Vote early for Obama/Biden 08

    October 24, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  17. Esther

    WOW! A moving story. I find myself wishing my dad were alive to vote November 4th. I remember his excitement when JFK won; he would feel the same this year when Senator Obama becomes President Obama.

    October 24, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  18. proud voter

    That was beautiful! I will probably shed a tear or two in that voting both also.

    October 24, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  19. Bala

    You are part of history...You make me very proud... Very Inspiring.

    October 24, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  20. Ron was a REP now a DEM

    McCain says on the trail that increase of taxes will slow economic recovery. Well John 8 years of tax breaks for the wealthy have crippled our economy and the worlds. It's going to take some serious redistribution of wealth from the taxpayers to the wealth to set it right.

    October 24, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  21. Mahe'alani, Silver Spring

    American history for 2008 is very important for all Americans who will vote for the candidate of their choice with freedom. This country has come along way from HATRED, PREJUDICE, McCARTHY, and LYNCHING. Mr. Aaron has lived to see the change in this country.

    October 24, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  22. jimmy

    TRIED TRUE, TESTED AMERCAN HERO. SQUADRON LEADER FIGHTER PILOT , WAR AND COMBAT VETERAN ,
    THET IS THRE TRUE AMERICAN SPIRIT AND AN AMERICAN L;EADER FIT TO LEAD OUR COUNTRY AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF.
    JOHN S. MCCAIN.

    October 24, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  23. Sheila

    More and more of these stories are coming forth and it is so wonderful to hear and see. First time voters, very aged voters, all ethnic backgrounds. The good times, they are a comin' back... Lovely story and congrats to that wonderful man.

    October 24, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  24. David

    As inspiring to me as Obama is to him and the rest of us willing to vote for the United States of America instead of a red state and a blue state or pro-america or real Virginia.

    Character!

    Let the tears flow America and vote for Barrack Obama!

    October 24, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  25. Sue/PA

    God Bless You Mr Wheeler. You brought tears to my eyes.

    October 24, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
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