November 5th, 2008
05:58 AM ET
12 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. mitch

    the illegal occupation of iraq is going to be over soon. those who executed this war have much to answer for. obama will not 'surrender' in iraq. he will simply declare victory and withdrawal. iraq is not our country. give it back to the iraqi's and let them determine their own destiny. we have shown them the way. its up to them now.

    November 5, 2008 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  2. It looks up from here

    I hope that getting the troops out of Iraq can only improve the situation there. But don't loose focus of where the real war on terror has been centered: Afghanistan. There is still work to do there.
    But Iraq was never the issue. Bush's top dogs should still be held accountable to the nonsense started in Iraq.

    November 5, 2008 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  3. terry

    Now is the time for hope and change. WE, as Americans, are done with the old boy network of the government. Say BYE to the lobbyists that have been padding the congressman with perks. The American voters have shown that we can put you in office but we can take you out too. YES WE CAN.

    November 5, 2008 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  4. Drefan, EU , Slovakia

    I wouldn´t choose so much... enthusiasm so early after the elections.
    I hope Mr. Obama will bring relax and a promise of peace and safety to the world.
    But it needs some time, no miracles happenig in one night...
    And a lot of work and difficulties- It´ll be a long way and if exists something like God I hope he will be with all of us !
    Good luck Mr. president

    November 5, 2008 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  5. MCH

    Although yesterdays election was a historic moment, that refueled pride and hope for not just african-americans, but all upright americans. I couldn't help but shake my head at the ignorance and racism that exists, still here today, and that was displayed on television as reporters let the public voice there opinions. I am proud but sympathetic that President Obama was dealt this hand. He is definitly a selfless person and it is apparant by him accepting the responsibility of Commander and Cheif of the worlds most ignorant and ungrateful people. My fellow one-sided, ignorant, racist, greedy, AMERICAN's. May God bless us all!

    November 5, 2008 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  6. Jim Alberts

    I want to thank our troops and their families for the enormous sacrifice they have made, and I hope it's not in vain. Because of them and others before them. Mr. Obama can now move to the White House. I hope he does not forget that.

    November 5, 2008 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  7. RIN

    it looks like we have haters...... on obama.... get over it! Obama is our next president!

    November 5, 2008 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  8. kevin

    things are gonna begin to get better be patient....and republicans i know your upset but just have an open mind things cant get any worse then they already are

    November 5, 2008 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  9. James

    To the 62% of you who said the economy is your biggest election issue - Welcome to the U.S.S.A. - United Socialist States of America. Before long we'll all be standing in bread lines and soup lines to receive our government handouts.

    November 5, 2008 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  10. Josh

    Collectively from our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq: "Oh crap, they elected the one who doesn't have a clue what hes talking about in Iraq or Aghanistan! Way to show your support for operations here America; sure hope his 'community organizing" can help us secure the streets of Kabul."

    Don't say idiotic things like "the vote is for you" to the troops. Obama was not popular with a majority of them because they knew McCain had more experience with foreign affairs and military issues, things you need in a President in order to "end two wars."

    No Leadership, No Leadership, No Hope, NObama!

    November 5, 2008 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  11. Puddy

    Illegal wars should be ended ASAP. Some things are worth fighting for. This was not one of them. This election brings one positive. No more rogue warmongers in the highest office of the land. If my taxes go up a little I'm okay with it as long as it is not being spent to kill human beings.

    November 5, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  12. Robert Walker

    The socialists have finally imported and raised enough voters to turn the country down a path that will lead to its demise as we know it. How do you democrats think this country got to be the leader of the world? It wasn't by "spreading the wealth" . True Americans detest the thought of someone in government "giving" them something. I can't imagine how someone can take something that someone else earned by the sweat of his brow.

    The socialist, anti-military, black power and closet muslim mostly won the presidency by a combination of the black bloc vote and the votes of 18-21 year-olds. Don't you believe that you can continue to ride on the shoulders of the people who make the country work and who keep the bills paid.

    November 5, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  13. Betty


    November 5, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  14. Michelle

    Does anyone know where to find results of the absentee ballots? I'm very interested in knowing how troops overseas voted.

    November 5, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  15. Dave S.

    George W. Bush had experience as a Governor. How did those "credentials" help us?

    Isn't change what America is all about? The people decide, and that's the power of our system!

    Thank you God for a leader with vision for the people and a man who will lead us in a better direction!

    November 5, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  16. Maria T Ryan

    Congratulations President Obama.
    You have a difficult task ahead of you, please don't let us down.
    On Nov. 4, 2008 the people have spoken and they were heard. Now is your turn to deliver.
    Please bring our troops home, please bring back our American pride.
    We trust you will not forget how you got to be our 44th President of the United States.
    Once again my sincere congratulations.

    November 5, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  17. RG in Virginia

    Thank you Virginia! We have turned this state blue for the first time since 1964!

    November 5, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  18. Linda in Los Angeles

    What Obama has spoken and what he will actually be able to do are two different things. Same for all politicians. Bringing the troops home is a complicated task and will not happen in the immediate future, as destabilization is an ominous factor. Just because Obama won, does not translate as a country united: as in any and all elections, special selfish interests took part in the election and we are a country of individualists – which is why we have the problems we do today. Individualism: in it for self, looking out for #1 due to lack of godly values. That is what "running on the issues" is all about. Dividing people. Divide and conquer. The best is yet to come.

    November 5, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  19. American People


    November 5, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  20. American dream

    Change has come, change the world needed...

    November 5, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  21. Jennifer

    I am thrilled about the change in policy that this country is going to go through.... Just to hear then candidate Obama say that he would talk with those that would be our enemies. If talking saves one life on either side than talk and talk and talk. Pick up the sword when needed but only as a LAST resort.

    November 5, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  22. M.R.

    Are you kidding me? Do you really believe that Obama can pull our troops out now? There is no way. If we pull out now we have accepted defeat and our soldiers will have dies for nothing. Where is the patriotism? I am the wife of a military man and I could not be prouder of what he is doing. He is giving you liberals the right to say this crap. Do you want another 9/11? If we pull out now there will be... We are in Iraq to you ninny not Iran, you need to go back under your rock.

    November 5, 2008 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  23. Kasey

    Well, you just voted for bigger, more invasive government, more deficit, and a bigger mess for the next 4 years. He can talk all he wants but he has a history of bowing down and doing nothing. He will raise all of our taxes and we will get nothing in return except more broken promises.

    November 5, 2008 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  24. JIM...TX

    Mike Dunford...JESUS! Such a gloomy post. Bet you dug a hole in the backyard an stocked it up for the END.??...:)

    November 5, 2008 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  25. wallace from ohio

    I want my government check now.

    November 5, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
1 2 3 4 5