Blogger Paul Ibrahim found that CNN isn’t doing its homework when it passes along touching stories of lifelong Republicans voting for Obama. On CNN’s Political Ticker blog, under the headline "Republican drives 600 miles to vote for Obama," reporter Mary Snow wrote from Columbus, Ohio with the story of one Aaron Wheeler:
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."
The photo caption inaccurately claimed "Aaron Wheeler said he's voting Democrat for the first time ever." Perhaps Snow was blinded by tears of her own, because Ibrahim located a 2007 story from the Columbus Dispatch which casts a new light on the "almost" in Wheeler’s claim to voting Democrat "in the first time almost ever."
Wheeler, who is black, converted to a Republican about 15 years ago after working on a number of Democratic campaigns in Cleveland and managing the Cleveland office for former U.S. Rep. Louis Stokes, a Democrat. He said he does not support President Bush's Iraq war strategy. If he is nominated, Wheeler said, the likely Democratic candidate, Mary Jo Kilroy, will not be able to tie him to the war or other Bush policies.
"I'm very far away from Bush," Wheeler said. "I'm a Republican because I'm conservative in my ways. ... But I also believe it's time to bring the troops home."
Ibrahim also found that Wheeler was a Republican delegate in 2004, thanks to a Los Angeles Times article. But he was one of 16 black delegates from the state of Ohio. The way Snow wrote her blog, you might have thought there were 16 black delegates at the convention from all the states. There were 167. Wheeler might demonstrate why there weren't as many in 2008.