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. Christiane, Germany

    He drove 600 Miles! He make People proud. Too bad, i can not vote

    October 24, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  2. James from Canada

    This is gonna be a Landslide!!

    October 24, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  3. Bobbie in Maryland

    God Bless You, Sir!!

    October 24, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  4. C-H-A-N-G-E

    Please use spell check...it's free. It's bad enough you want people to vote for a person that is dishonorable. Who can not keep his word and will do anything and say anything to win. Even to pick a running mate just because she is a woman. That is not the person I want running my country.

    I am proud to say I will be voting for the first time in 48 years and I know I will cry that day too. It is time for C-H-A-N-G-E!!!

    October 24, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  5. proud voter

    you know what really bothers me? white people who complain that they are called racists for not voting for a black man and then they turn right around and say to black people, "You're only voting for obama cuz he's black." hello pot? it's me kettle.

    October 24, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  6. Independent white female patriotic voter

    Sir, this s the best comment I have heard about Palin's negativity. It brings me great pleasure to know that people are reacting as I am to the negativity and elitist behavior, the disgusting way she has been speaking about Senator Obama has turned me away from even watching her speeches. Thank yu for your vote sir, we are grateful!
    You won't regret it!

    October 24, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    way to go

    October 24, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  8. Steven

    I'm voting for Obama this weekend! Woohoo! Finally this election will be over....Just 10 more days to go!

    Get out there and Vote.

    October 24, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  9. Wendel

    I voted for Obama/Biden yesterday in Davenport, FL. What a great feeling. I cannot wait for November 4, 2008.

    October 24, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  10. Kate

    Obama is the man. There is no controversy. There is no comparison. He is young, smart, intelligent, brilliant, tolerant, energetic and he knows all. He has an intellient wife who speaks smartly. Obama is GOD ordained president and he will get there.

    October 24, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  11. Independentandlovingit

    I voted Early to. Everyone..Vote..Vote..Vote, it's not over until Nov 5th...

    October 24, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  12. Bill

    See, now this is an awesome story...what a proud day. And how nice for some of our Republican friends to join the discussion...you can tell by their comments what kind of character they have. Makes our victory that much sweeter, doesn't it!

    October 24, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  13. Jean 2

    The mental beating admitted by McCain/Palin not only led me to donate to Obama 4 times but also campaign for him in my circles.


    October 24, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  14. George the writer

    One of many I suspect. Good on him!

    October 24, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  15. robert






    October 24, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  16. steve1320


    October 24, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  17. Chandu

    It has become clear that the republican party has been reduced to the party of low-education rednecks. Look at the number of moderate republicans who are supporting Obama. No wonder McCain is trying his stupid "socialist", "joe the plumber", etc. rhetoric. Who but stupid people are falling for that? The GOP claims to be the "small government" party and look what they've done to the deficit since Reagan. The budget was balanced when democrats were in charge under Clinton. The GOP is a fraud!

    October 24, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  18. Marie Canada

    One fact is for certain and that is John McCain is very unstable and exhibits signs of confusion on a daily basis. I wouldn't trust him to baby sit my dog let alone face a crisis as the commander and chief.

    A McCain presidency will be more wars and a deeper depression as he has already demonstrated an uncanny knack of making a fool of himself. His pick of Palin shows he maintains his lack of judgement just as he did by supporting Bush 90% of the time.

    October 24, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |

    can someone please tell jimmy to go away. Military experience means nothing when you have jeopardized your own integrity by switching from every major position you have kept to align yourself with the same republican scare tactics in order to milk votes from peoples fears. John McCain was once a proud man who had his own ideas and spoke his mind, only to use the same tactics that belittled his earlier campaigns. This military member is voting for Obama based upon his character and his ability to inspire hope in so many people. I hope he does meet with foreign enemies through diplomacy, for maybe a few words and an act of diplomacy may spare a fellow Airmen or Soldiers life.

    October 24, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  20. I am For OBAMA/BIDEN

    Makes me ProudERto be an American. GOD BLESS

    October 24, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  21. Ex McCain backer

    UU October 24th, 2008 7:22 pm ET

    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.

    UU – You are exactly correct. Even our current President has served one term as Governor and two terms as President and I still wouldn't call him experienced! I will choose a person with good judgement, a sound mind and willing to listen to others before making a decision. I'm 73, White American that also served in our military, and I too was proud to cast my ballot for Obama/Biden earlier this week!

    October 24, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  22. Diane

    My elderly parents voted for George Bush in 2004 and so did my husband and I. We are white, regular church-attending people. We are all voting for Barack Obama this time (some of us have already voted). I think there are many more of us closet Republicans who are voting for Obama. The Republican party really let us down this time with picking John McCain as their presidential candidate. And then he picked Sarah Palin! But, I won't even go there on that issue.

    October 24, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  23. Wendy

    One Country unitied!!!!!!!!
    God Bless the USA

    October 24, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  24. FL Democrat supporting Obama

    Way to go! Just another testament of how inspirational "That One" is. I too was offended by the lies and other misleading propoganda from the republican campaign. for this guy to drive 600 miles, means that he was really pissed beyond reproach! 🙂 Talk about hell or high water. The Obama campaign stayed on the higher ground as best they could and they fought back with the facts. And the fact is, these last 8yrs have been really screwed up. We went from a point in time where everybody had or could have to this time where either you have or you dont have enough. And the 95% of us that don't have enough are voting for Obama!

    Obama/Biden 2008/2012

    October 24, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  25. nadeem

    No wonder –
    McCain – 8 houses
    Palin – $150,000 in clothes
    McCain – 9 cars
    Pailn 30,000 – personal makup artist
    McCain – personal jet
    Palin – personal plane

    And they run around PA claiming to represent the ordinary Joe

    October 24, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
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