By Chris Wright, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- Senator Tom Coburn isn't the only Oklahoma Republican warming to our new president. Some in Tulsa who voted for John McCain now say they hope President Obama is successful. Oklahoma was the only state in the nation in which Mr. Obama didn't win a single county. But, even America's "Reddest State" is willing to give our new president a fair shot.
When the New York Times wanted to take the pulse of the so-called Red States before Obama was sworn in, the paper sent a reporter to Tulsa. He talked to cigar store owner Leonard Nelson. A Republican and veteran, Nelson says voting for McCain was a natural choice. But, two and a half months later, he admits America may have elected the right man.
"We'll see what happens. I'm behind him. As soon as I found he won, I turned the tide around a little bit," said Leonard Nelson, owner of Humidor Cigar Shop.
On Tuesday, a full-page ad appeared in the Tulsa World. It urged people to put personal politics aside and also touched on the racial significance of the inauguration. The ad was placed by the traditionally conservative First Baptist Church of Tulsa.
"The church has been guilty of ignoring racial issues in the past, and we don't want to repeat those mistakes any longer," said First Baptist Pastor Deron Spoo.
First Baptist spent its entire advertising budget on the ad. Pastor Spoo says the church usually avoids politics, but felt it had to make this statement.
"We thought it would be a great opportunity to send a very clear, very positive, and very biblical message to the Tulsa community," said First Baptist Pastor Deron Spoo.
The Tulsa community only had 37% of voters cast their ballot for Barack Obama. But, that was November 4th. On January 20th, Spoo says those numbers no longer matter.
"Regardless of where you stand politically, Barack Obama is now our president. It's our obligation to stand behind him and support him and pray for him, 100%," said First Baptist Pastor Deron Spoo.
Pastor Spoo expected a response after his congregation saw the ad. But, surprisingly, he says, that response has been overwhelmingly positive.