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. v.ananthan

    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...

    October 24, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  2. fya

    I can't vote in the United States as I am a Canadian. But when I read this story tears were coming out of my eyes too and every time I think of the moment when Barack Obama wins on Nov 4 I am prepared to cry and I am not a crying person by any measure.

    October 24, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  3. informed voter

    Such a touching story. Apart from the fact that Obama is perfect for the job, the fact that he is african american I think is fantastic for this country. It is proof that we as a nation are moving in the right direction where color of the skin is not a deal breaker or a deal maker. I hope my kids can grow up in a color blind society. Just the thought of what a fantastic moment in history it will be if he wins brings tears to my eyes.

    October 24, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  4. Kevin Wilder

    Forget the black and white rhetoric. Obama is simply the best choice for President, period.

    October 24, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  5. alpha_nu_916

    lifelong republicans crossing lines to vote for a politician embracing hope and change . . . beautiful.

    maybe the RNC will realize in 2010 that american are sick of being afraid and offer canidates that don't rely on hate rhetoric and scare tactics.

    October 24, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  6. Republican in NV

    Thank you CNN for an inspirational story. I am a Republican myself who is going to vote for Barack Obama and I'm proud of it. Do I feel like I'm turning my back on the party that I have supported in the last 2 elections? Absolutely not. This is something bigger than being a Republican or a Democrat. This is about being American voting for the best candidate who can and will stand up and fight for the American people.

    October 24, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  7. dave harlow

    All i can see here is take the country back, a new beginning, the messiah,
    What is Obama's plan he has said nothing but has said it very well.

    I think we are in big trouble for the next four years. Big trouble.

    This began 12 years ago with the Dem and their plan for equal housing for all, We all are now paying for this and forgot the cause.

    Good luck to you all for the next 4

    October 24, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  8. ATLStompin!

    Jimmy,

    Why are you hating? Savor the moment.

    Obama/Biden '08-12

    God Bless America! May peace be with you.

    October 24, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  9. jvh

    no one is listening to you jimmy...you can stop yelling.

    October 24, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  10. taylor

    mr wheeler you are to be commended for your decision,very inspiring. i anticipate a lot more republicans jumping ship. london on.

    October 24, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  11. TheSideLiner

    Sheer determination, I hope the 600 miles this gentleman drove to cast this precious vote in not in vain,the republicans are known election thieves, we must remained virgilant, and report to the proper authorities any suspicious activities by these thugs......Their operatives are out there people, beware.

    October 24, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  12. Griff

    Nobody invest in a Socialist...You are goimg to lose Billions is Obama is Elected ... You know nothing about what Socialism can Cause

    Are so ignorant... After Obama..... USA is Useless... Another USSR..

    October 24, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  13. Kevin

    Dear Obama Campaign,

    PLEASE MAKE THIS MAN INTO A COMMERCIAL OR TALKING POINT ! HE IS FAR MORE INSPIRATIONAL THAN 'Joe the Tax Dodger' and shows what Ohio is REALLY about.

    Kevin in Stow, Ohio

    October 24, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  14. Z

    He voted for 'black' today. Get ready for McCain in the White House.....

    October 24, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  15. joy

    Hi Aaron (also my grandsons name ) great story,very inspiring,we have also cast are vote for Senator Obama.
    LIZZIE, you must go to fox news for your kind of blogs.

    October 24, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    The party's are guilty of public entrapment.

    Party's in the house of Congress are like parents in separation, do you really expect them to manage to even agree on something like apportionment due to possiblities of advanced jerrymandering or when arranging the furniture so they do not do formally divide the house with new construction or even agree on the placement of a picture.

    Put a Congressional copy of the Constitution right behind the Podium Desk of the speaker of the House.

    October 24, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  17. Maggie from Virginia

    I also voted for Barack Obama today.

    October 24, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  18. conny

    This is what real is all about. just plain and simple very moving.

    October 24, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  19. FORMER REPUBLICAN

    ME TOO, I AM VOTING OBAMA !!!

    I DON'T KNOW WHO OR WHAT THE

    BUSH REPUBLICANS ARE, BUT

    THEY HAVE ALL BUT DESTROYED US.

    October 24, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  20. voter

    lizzie

    there is nothing inspriational about the McCain campaign. Go to you tube and see the comments from McCain supporters. it is vile and full of hatred just like the McCain campaign.

    October 24, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  21. Birgit in Florida

    What a great story. I am a white woman so very proud to cast my vote for Obama, for it's true, it is the content of a character not the color of the skin that counts, I do not see color but I see a great man with love for us all, I pray he makes it. GO Barack GO Biden, You can do it.

    October 24, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  22. Wayne from Fullerton, CA

    Way to go Aaron!
    Tears almost came to my eyes hearing about someone like you. And just like you stated:
    "Not because the color of your skin, but because of your character."

    October 24, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  23. Inyiri Nnanna

    Obviously, not a new "America" but same agelong USA, that has been dealt with, by the ALMIGHTY's grand design with the prevailing "economictsunami" that is shaking every american of various ideological divide, into embracing – equality.

    Otherwise, in a normal election circle, the result thus far would be different !

    Go Barack/Biden "08

    October 24, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  24. Tim

    Go McCain! We don't need another politian taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from groups like Fannie Mac.

    October 24, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  25. No Country For Old Men

    This is what one of McCain and Palin voter will say on November 5, 2008?

    I was depressed last night, so I called a Suicide Hot Line.
    Got a freaking’ call center in Pakistan.
    I told them I was suicidal. They got all excited
    and asked if I could drive a truck. I give up!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Obama & Biden '08

    October 24, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
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