November 5th, 2008
05:58 AM ET
11 years ago

U.S. Troops react to election news

Troops stationed abroad watch as election results came in.

Troops stationed abroad watch as election results came in.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - Thousands of miles removed from their hometown polling stations, American soldiers in Iraq watched a historic U.S. presidential election unfold Tuesday evening.

Tuning in at a forward operating base in southern Baghdad, soldiers watched on big screen televisions as Democrat Barack Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States and the first African-American to hold the nation's highest office.

"Amazing", said U.S. Army Sgt. Melissa Quereau. "I'm shaking I'm so excited. History right there. History being made right now."

Strict military rules that keep partisan debates private could not hide many soldiers' intense interest in Tuesday's election.

Watch: U.S. troops following election

"It is a critical election", U.S. Marine Corps spokesman Cameron Renner said in Baghdad. "The changing parties can dramatically affect the events that happen to us out here in this combat zone".

Obama, who was opposed to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, has called for a withdrawal of all combat soldiers from Iraq within 16 months.

"Iraq is not the central front in the war on terrorism, and it never has been," he wrote in a New York Times op-ed piece in July.

During his victory speech at Chicago's Grant Park, Obama acknowledged tough foreign policy issues he now inherits.

"Even as we stand here tonight", he said, "we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us."

But back home, Iraq was not America's biggest concern. Sixty-two percent of voters polled Tuesday said the economy was their top election issue, according to early national exit polling.

It was far ahead of the Iraq war, which only 10 percent of polled voters named their top issue.

A majority of those voters voted for Sen. Barack Obama in all but two states, according to early exit polling results.

Meanwhile, in a Shiite neighborhood in southeast Baghdad, seven people were killed and 20 others wounded when a bomb hidden underneath a vegetable cart exploded in a bus station, an official with the Iraqi Interior Ministry told CNN.

The seven were among 19 people killed in violence across Iraq Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Iraqi government spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, said he welcomed an Obama presidency.

"The Iraqi government has a true desire to work and cooperate with the elected president in order to achieve the joint interest of the two countries, preserve the security and stability of Iraq, insure Iraq's full sovereignty and protect the interests of its people," he said.

- CNN's Phil Black and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report


Filed under: Race to '08
soundoff (118 Responses)
  1. andy

    all of you are ridiculous. barack obama is going to drive this country into the ground.

    open your eyes.

    November 5, 2008 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  2. darren

    I'm waiting for someone here to write something like: What if we're not ready to pull out next jan? What if we should be there till feb. or march? What if we leave too early and the extremists take over again real quick? Then, don't you think all we did over there would've been in vane? It's naive to think that we can just set an arbritary date for the troops to be home. I have a pastor friend in iraq that thanks God every night that U.S. troops are there to guard his church. He told me 13 months ago that the enemy is waiting for us to leave so that they can "come out of the shadows again." "it is imperative that you stay here" he said. I'm not a huge McCain fan, but i beleive someone that's over there before I beleive what the media floods our minds with.

    November 5, 2008 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  3. Linda

    J Wilkenson...the new world order you speak of has been the goal of both Bush Presidencies, and has already been but into place. John MCain is a member of the insiders of this sinister group. It is called PNAC. Look it up. I did. It is enlightening , and quite frightening. I for one will not accept the New World Order"f PNAC. That is why I voted for President Obama.

    November 5, 2008 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  4. TheIdealLives

    J Wilkinson - What does THAT tell you about McCaine now that he is the loser?!?!

    November 5, 2008 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  5. Open Your Eyes

    Did any of you notice the 4th paragraph from the bottom? THAT'S what our soldiers are there to fight. My brother is in the Army and deployed only a few months ago to Iraq, and I pray to God that he comes home safely, but I am proud of him and his decision to defend us and Iraqi innocents.

    Agreed, the war in Iraq was poorly managed. Regardless, it needs to be seen through to completion, and even if he had decided to continue, Barack Obama doesn't have the experience a Commander in Chief needs to inherit a war. This decision proves just that. What do you think will happen when it sinks in that the US isn't there to babysit the Iraqi military anymore? How much more violence will erupt? How long before it reaches our shores again? We started this war, and like it or not, it's our duty to finish it.

    November 5, 2008 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  6. mm

    Mike Dunford,"Obama does not and will not ever understand that some things are worth fighting for."

    What are you fighting for?????

    November 5, 2008 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  7. Obama saves the world

    TO J.Wilkinson, you are truly lost, so you are saying Obama is not a true american, I hope not. McCain was born in Panama, and you repubs were questioning Obamas citinzenship, while he is from Hawaii, and by the way I'm an American just like you, i just happen to be living abroad. So get with the program and stop hating, there are no true and false americans just people like you.

    November 5, 2008 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  8. USMC Sgt Baghdad

    A beatiful day for American
    Thank you Americans, I can't wait to come home and spend time with my family.

    November 5, 2008 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  9. Hope

    Congratulations U.S.A. We lost our election here in Canada, but Obama has won– for the entire world. I can once again say that I am proud, privileged, to be your neighbour. For the first time since the death of a friend at Virginia Tech, I feel in my heart that she, too, would be proud of her adopted country and that she may now rest in peace. God bless America!

    November 5, 2008 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  10. jeff

    obama won

    November 5, 2008 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  11. Hopeful for Tomorrow

    @Mike Dunford - You do realize that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, correct? Because it didn't. And we shouldn't be there further preventing that country from stabilizing a shakey foundation of government. And post a link to this poll, please. I have a feeling I know where you pulled those results from.

    November 5, 2008 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  12. Jan in NC

    God bless our dedicated troops! I'm praying for President-elect Obama as he helps restore our world-wide favor...perhaps this will make our troops lives better! God's Speed

    November 5, 2008 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  13. Sara

    Mike there is something YOU don't understand about Iraq. It is a war that cannot be won. That is what the Bush administration didn't understand. You can't win a war by force anymore. You have to use your head. When you see that things aren't working and haven't worked, you need to rethink things. Bush and McCain weren't willing to do that. They were for having more troops killed. What do you think would be the end result of staying in Iraq? The Iraqi people don't want us there and we shouldn't be there. The people who allegedly were in charge of 9/11 were Saudis and they died. Lets stop being stupid and move on together. Mike I know its hard, but I extend my hand to you and say lets work together. Change has come and I, for one, am so glad its here.

    November 5, 2008 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  14. very worried

    i think this country is in trouble... we will be taxed more and the spending will be really out of hand now. he has never been sent to fight in a war how can he judge what needs to be done .. we should fight them on there own land and not on ours if the war is not finshied over there it will be brought to this country. let them finsih what they have started. THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO ARE FIGHTING FOR OUR FREEDOM ARE SPECIAL PEOPLE. ITS TAKES GREAT MEN AND WOMEN TO DO WHAT THEY DO AND I HOPE THEY KEEP UP THE FIGHT FOR OUR FREEDOM. MR OBAMA WILL BRING U HOME BEFORE IT IS DONE AND U WILL BE DOING HERE ON OUR OWN LAND AND THAT IS NOT GOOD. I DO HOPE THAT MR OBAMA CAN KEEP SOME OF HIS STATMENTS RIGHT AND DO THE RIGHT THING FOR THE COUNTRY AND NOT FOR HIMSELF AND HIS FREINDS . I HOPE HE KEEPS HIS MUSLEM SIDE OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE AND HIS PREACHER FRIEND THAT HATES THE WHILE PEOPLE. I DONT HATE ANYONE BUT I KNOW HE HAS FRIENDS U DONT WANT TO HAVE ANY INFLUENCE OVER HIM. I JUST PRAY THAT THIS COUNTRY CAN WITH STAND WHAT HE WILL PUT US THROUGH THE NEXT 4 YRS. KEEP THE FAITH AND PRAY HE TURNS OUT TO BE A GOOD PRESIDENT.

    November 5, 2008 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  15. Chris

    Great day for america! I am so happy!

    November 5, 2008 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  16. mitch

    our troops showed overwhelming support for president obama. they donated 6:1 for barack. mike dunford. you are one of those few americans that still wish to keep our country divided. shame on you. if you dont like it here, leave.

    November 5, 2008 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  17. Amy Noir

    Love won over Hate
    Peace over War
    Unity over Division.
    Obama over McCain

    November 5, 2008 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  18. Abdul Razzack Moidu

    Now we realized the great Americans are really civilized and Democratic by placing a Black American in the Couuntry's highest Office. There is no comparison of such an event in the current history.

    November 5, 2008 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  19. Kadenze

    MY COUNTRY HAD GROWN UP!!!!!!

    GOD BLESS YOU AMERICA!!!!!!!

    November 5, 2008 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  20. GARY

    OUR MILITARY GOT SCREWED ON THEIR VOTES. THAT IS VERY UNAMERICAN.

    ALL I CAN SAY IS HE DID THE TALK NOW ITS TIME TO DO THE WALK. HE HAS TO PROVE TO THE COUNTRY HE CAN BRING REAL CHANGES AND UNITE IT. SO FAR ALL HIS YOUNG NAIVE SUPPORTERS HAVE BEEN NOTHING BUT HATE. OBAMA HAS TO WORK WITH REPUBLICANS TOO. YOU ALL PUT BUSH DOWN BUT HE HAS SAVED OUR COUNTRY FROM MORE TERROIST ATTACKS SINCE 911. LIKE OBAMA SAYS . HE NEEDS ALL OUR HELP ,ONE MAN CANT DO IT BY HIMSELF. SO GIVE BUSH SOME CREDIT , BECAUSE DEMOCRACTS HELPED PUT THIS COUNTRY IN ECONOMY PROBLEMS TOO.SO IF YOU HATERS WANT TO KEEP HATING ,OBAMA'S PRESIDENTAL CAREER WILL MEAN NOTHING.YOU YOUNG FIRST TIMERS HAVE NO RESPECT AND KNOW NOTHING ABOUT OUR COUNTRY OR HOW MUCH WORK IT IS TO LEAD.MCCAIN WENT OUT LIKE THE MAN HE IS AND GAVE OBAMA HIS CONGRATULATIONS . MCCAIN AND PALIN GOT NO RESPECT FROM YOU YOUNG HATERS. IF THIS IS WHAT THE COUNTRY IS GOING TO BE NOW ONCE YOU GOT YOUR PRESIDENT ,THAN THERE WILL BE PROBLEMS AND NO UNITY.NOW ITS TIME TO COME TOGETHER ,BUT I KNOW ITS HARD FOR YOU YOUNG MORONS.

    November 5, 2008 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  21. allen

    This is indeed a sad day for all Americans. We are finally reverted back to the time before the American revolution. We have no morals, soon no military might, and now no incentive to work hard since those of us who do will just be taxed to death to give it to the lazy slovenly idiots who voted for this communist. Pay attention to see if Hussein's wealth is redistributed. It won't be.

    November 5, 2008 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  22. Ali babba

    Democrats are well known for cutting the military back. This weakens the country not strengthen it. Many jobs will be lost for the faulty thought of saving on the budget. Credit is the real problem with this country. If everyone lived WITHIN their means then everyone would be better off. Getting into debt then squelching on that debt is the reason things are bad off. Companies are laying off because they are in heavy debt, instead of producing only what is needed they overproduce and cut their own necks. As a result our jobs in the process. The president can never change or affect this. The president is an almost powerless trophy title. We have to change our own selfish desires. Live within our means, will mean never going into debt. Yes, you wont have everything everyone else has, but that doesnt mean your life is worth anything less. It just means you'll have to wait for what you want instead of getting that selfish instant gratification from credit.

    November 5, 2008 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  23. Michael

    I am sure redneck Mike Dunford is not even aware of why the troops were sent there, in the first place...

    November 5, 2008 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  24. NO MORE TAXES

    Lets hope Obama doesnt leave them hang out to dry and continues to fund our military until we get them home! Another defeat for the US military because the democrats dont have the guts or the heart to do what needs to be done.

    November 5, 2008 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  25. Robert the Man

    They will not come home, when I signed up to be a U.S. Marine, myself, and my fellow brothers signed up for what? To learn a job trade? Money for college? NO! We signed up to go into combat and kill people. That is what Marines do. That is what we always will do. Thats why the CAR is prob the most respected ribbon a Marine can wear on his or her uniform. Marines kill the enemy, thats what we signed up for, thats what we knew we signed up for. So all of you people who think we hate it over there, and blah blah blah, I LOVED IT THERE. Don't knock it till you've tried it!

    November 5, 2008 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
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