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. South African for OBAMA

    Congrats to President Elect Barack Obama

    Nelson Mandela sends his regards

    November 5, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  2. carolyn wilson

    I'm so happy maybe this world will come together as one.I believe as long as Obama keep Bill Clinton by his side ,we as the people can't go wrong.

    November 5, 2008 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  3. tina

    EXACTLY! Like I said wait till the war is at their front doors.

    November 5, 2008 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  4. Isaac

    remember everyone, there is work to be done and it'll take all of us

    November 5, 2008 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  5. marc Altman

    why are we not concerned with his trillion dollar expansion of the government spending.....
    folks, in business you cannot just keep spending money when you don't have it.

    November 5, 2008 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  6. wallace from ohio

    that big check from the rich folks better be in todays mail or i'll be really mad.

    November 5, 2008 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  7. Derek

    I am glad Obama won. Now we can work towards rebuilding this country. This country ours America is falling apart and we need to do our own nation building to repair and rebuild her, and not just other countries ie Iraq, Afganistan. We need to work to make America great again. By so doing we can and will help the worlds as well

    November 5, 2008 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  8. Jamie

    If you're waiting for your checks to start perhaps Alaska would be a good place for you.
    Congratulation to BOTH President-elect Obama and VP-elect Biden.
    Change will not happen overnight but already the sun is breaking through the clouds....America is back!

    Pls. post CNN.

    November 5, 2008 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  9. wallace from ohio

    I am about to cry like cnn's Roland Martin if I dont get that check from THE GOVERNMENT TODAY.

    November 5, 2008 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  10. Sensible Cape Coral FL

    I believe that every war is an expression of failure – none more so than this one. The sooner it is over the better for all of us.

    November 5, 2008 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  11. nobama

    A sad day for our troops as the overwhelming majority were supporting John McCain. This will undoubtedly bring down morale. So now we'll see how fast Obama gets the troops home. Hopefully, he'll do what's right (what McCain would do) and make sure the Iraqis are secure first.

    November 5, 2008 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  12. Larry

    Congratulations to the Obama Campaign on an excellent race.
    Bring the troops home but do it honorably and in a timely fashion.
    Taxing the rich, and the large corporations is good campaign retoric but remember corporations do not pay taxes, they expense them to the products they manufacture, so any new taxes against corporate profits will be paid by us in higher prices for everything we by from the taxed corporation,,,tax payers will end up getting the shaft again...
    I hope Obama and the new congress realizes this and will quit bashing.

    November 5, 2008 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  13. WA

    Although NC says 50/50 but Obama edged out by 12,000 votes. To me, HE WON NC.

    November 5, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  14. nobama

    Notice the article quotes the ever unreliable New York Times. Good grief CNN, stop with the deceptive media reports.

    November 5, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  15. lamarre notargiacomo

    Well said Mike Dunford! It is a fantasy to think that we can have peace without a strong military that is willing to fight to protect it's citizens against terroist regimes around the world that despise America, God and capitalism. Americans wanted "change" and "change" is what we will get! Now we will no longer be allowed to pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. We will pledging a flag of Obama's making. Didn't he say that he is a "citizen of the world?" Now we are all citizens of the world. If the ones who have given their lives to protect our country and our flag were given top priority in voting, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in! Remember that Obama has refused to pledge allegiance to our flag. Our children are the biggest losers of all! God help us!

    November 5, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  16. KJL

    Thank you to our troups!

    November 5, 2008 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  17. Mike the programmer

    We can now end this false war that is draining the life out of our soldiers and economy. We can stop spending almost a billion dollars a day to police the middle east while they charge us unbelievable prices for oil. We can close the abomination of a prison camp(Gitmo) in Cuba and begin to restore international respect for America.

    The party of fiscal responsibility (Democrats) won the election and we can stop adding to an economy killing national debt. Real Americans won out over those who play fast and loose with the law.

    America Wins! America Wins!

    November 5, 2008 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  18. New Yorker

    Welcome un- United States of Obama to your new and evergrowing Socialist/Marxist government.

    November 5, 2008 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  19. USAF

    Can someone please tell me what is there to WIN in the Iraq War??

    The only one who wins in this is Iraq....

    November 5, 2008 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  20. Repubs live on FEAR

    Just another example of Republicans' doom & gloom attitude that if anyone but them controls the White House, not only will you and your family die, but the nation itself will become unraveled and anarchy will take over and life as we know it will cease to exist. Give me a break! Your party just took a beating – Americans are tired of it!

    November 5, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  21. Victoria

    My best friend is 18 years old, and her 19 year old boyfriend is in Iraq right now. She called me upon the news of Obama's victory, crying tears of joy. "We're leaving Iraq," she kept saying. America, bringing the troops home is more important than "victory" in Iraq, if anyone can even give a clear definition of it. Bring them home! Bring us peace! Stop the mindless murder and violence.

    November 5, 2008 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  22. Jen

    You people that are saying that you can't wait for your checks are just making my skin crawl. You are in for a rude awakening. Obama is not just going to cut you a check. He still expects you to work and contribute to society. He does not condone laziness and selfishness. He has worked hard, and he expects you to do the same.

    November 5, 2008 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  23. Carol

    Mike Dunford, you speak for yourself.

    November 5, 2008 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  24. New Yorker

    MBFLA – When the next terrorist strike happens you will know why we are in Iraq and Afghanistan and why McCain would have been the better choice, but it will be too late. Keep your head buried in the sand.

    November 5, 2008 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  25. Deirdre Vaughn

    One thing I know, God does not boast war as any answer. Our American promise of peace is the only way. I pray for those who only want to see war. Thank you President-Elect Obama. Your true Godly American people support you and we support peace.

    November 5, 2008 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
1 2 3 4 5