September 13th, 2007
02:29 PM ET
7 years ago

Obama: Oprah interested in campaigning

Obama said Thursday Oprah may stump for him on the trail.

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said in a TV interview here Thursday that having Oprah Winfrey in South Carolina "would be a lot of fun for everyone," and added the popular television host has expressed interest in hitting the stump.

In the interview with South Carolina's ETV, Obama also called Oprah and and his wife Michelle "two powerhouse women."

Oprah is supporting Obama's presidential bid, and hosted a lavish fundraiser for the senator from Illinois at her estate in Montecito, California, last weekend.

Asked if Oprah would come stump for him in this crucial early primary state, Obama said: "I can't make promises, but I know that she has expressed an interest in South Carolina and maybe we can pull that ... Certainly it would be a lot of fun for everyone."

Obama did the interview by phone from Iowa.

Why would Oprah's presence here matter? Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton are battling to win over African-American women voters in this state, and a new poll from ETV and Winthrop University that will be released tonight shows Obama and Clinton dead even among African-American women.

"The real tipping point in the Democratic primary election may be undecided African-American female voters-there are many more African-American female undecideds than males," Winthrop University political scientist Scott Huffmon said in a news release.

– CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

soundoff (87 Responses)
  1. Chris, Cincinnati, Ohio

    Kate et all

    Why is it that when a Black person endorses Obama, “the ONLY reason they are doing so is because he (OBAMA) is Black ?" Yet you reserve that critique when other celebrities endorse other candidates of the same race. If Barbara Walters endorsed John Edwards, would she ‘ONLY be doing so because he (John Edwards) is White?’

    This insinuation is almost as asinine as the question: "Is Obama Black enough?" This question implies that a Black candidate that is intelligent and can effectively ‘articulate’ a message with a subject/verb agreement is somehow NOT “Black enough!”

    This type of nonsense is insulting not only to Black people – but the intelligence of all American people.

    An American hoping for a better America!

    September 13, 2007 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  2. Lance in Monrovia, CA

    Obama 08!!!

    He will be unstoppable, not because of any endorsement, but simply because enough people are at least taking a look at him. That's all it took for me. Once I started investigating him fully, I realized that hands down he's the best candidate for the time of crisis we're in. I'm so weary as politics as usual and Obama is just the fresh face and fresh ideas that we need to turn this country around once and for all.

    I've never been more excited about a candidate in my life. In fact I've never even bothered to be interested in one before except in a negative way.

    I feel good about America for the first time in a long time. Oprah has the respect of millions because she's earned it by being level headed, hopeful and she doesn't dumb herself down. Soon people across the nation will Obama shares these exact same traits. The man is brilliant.

    September 13, 2007 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  3. Human, Philadelphia, PA

    Apparently, some folks on this blog are absolutely incapable of seperating race from their thought process. Let's see, Oprah is only supporting Obama because he is black. Right? This stupid point outlines one of the often "hard to explain" struggles of being a minority.

    Think of two scenarios: The first involving Hillary clinton being backed by Bill, and a bunch of other well known celebrities (most of them white). To the average American, this is the status quo (i.e normal way of doing things)

    Now imagine another scenario with Obama along with Oprah. An unbiased observer would be hard pressed to find the difference between the aforementioned scenarios. Ask the average American, and they will have no problem pointing out the racial angle.

    This doesn't say much about the candidates, but actually reveals a lot about the character of people who do this. In other words, they've made something out of nothing. As an American who grew up elsewhere, I can say without a doubt... Nothings makes white people (who make this sort of comment) more uncomfortable than a constructive gathering of African Americans. I see this all the time. It is quite educational!

    September 13, 2007 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  4. JimmieFromDayton

    Barack Obama will be our next president. This country will begin take the steps necessary to resolve our legislative crisis and regain our leadership role in the world. Thank you Oprah for your support. For the ignorant people here talking all that racist trash......never mine it's useless to engage the worthless.

    Obama 08!

    September 13, 2007 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  5. Teri Apache Junction Arizona

    Thank you Oprah. I was a faithful watcher of your show and your magazine. I will not watch your show or read your books or mags. again because you are supporting Barak Obama for the Oval Office and I as an American do not want someone that was raised partly Muslim to be in the Oval Office. He should not hold any political office in the United States. Did you forget what Osama Bin Laden said? He said, It is the Muslims responsibility to kill Americans, men women and children. I have never heard Barack denounce the Muslims belief, therefore no Barack for President.

    September 13, 2007 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  6. bprossersme

    Oparah – What a truly lovely lady. Class Act for sure.

    September 13, 2007 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  7. Tim, San Diego CA

    Thanks for blurring the line between entertainment and politics, Oprah. You have just contributed to the downfall of Western Civilization.

    September 13, 2007 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  8. Taylor, Chicago, IL

    I don't think that Oprah is supporting Obama because of race, I think she's supporting him because she believes in him. I just do not think this man is ready to be president. If he wants to run in 8 years, I would probably vote for him, but not right now. We need someone with experience.

    September 13, 2007 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  9. Chris, SEattle WA

    the real intention behind Oprah's support is simply based on racial background only. It seems that Oprah herself is not tolerating racism but she turns out to be one herself. Her comments about her hiring so many 'white folks' and her unsubstantial support for Obama clearly show that she is a racist, the black against all other races. Her statement about "she knows Obama well" seems to be all on racial motive. It will be interesting to know how long exactly Oprah knows Mr. Obama as he is only becoming a public figure in the past couple years at most. Oprah is so busy to even call David Letterman to go on her show and tells me that she knows Mr. Obama well, whom is not even on anyone radar 2 years ago. A black US president is possible in the future, but at least he/she has to be the best qualified candidate at that time. I am sorry for now that Mr. Obama just simply lacks experience in all aspects of politic. I cannot vote for someone because of his skin color, not to mention his naiveness in foreign policy certainly will jeopardise the security of the whole country!

    September 13, 2007 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  10. J. McKinney Halfway, MO

    Some are commenting that Obama isn't the first black candidate, so that saying that Oprah is endorsing him because he is the first black candidate isn't the case, etc........

    " there have been black candidates for president in previous elections, including Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Carol Mosely-Braun."

    Come on, folks. Just how important were the candidates mentioned above? Did any of them have a snowball's chance in you know where to get elected? No. Of course they didn't, and Oprah would have made a complete fool of herself if she had endorsed one of them. Obama is one of the front runners (after Hillary. GO, HILLARY!!!!) and Oprah thinks he is the first black that has a chance. This is why she is indorsing him.

    September 13, 2007 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  11. Darrius, Arkansas

    Teri,

    You do know that Obama is a Christian. He goes to the same church that Oprah goes to.

    Taylor,

    Obama has more time in office that Hillary Clinton, or John Edwards, neither of which has any executive experience either.

    Of the top Democrats Obama actually has the most experience.

    September 13, 2007 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  12. Karen Brun

    Oprah has never endorsed a candidate before; I heard her say that on one of the shows. She's not even "partisan," IMO, as I recall her being very nice to George Bush when he went on her show in 2000.

    She's supporting Barack Obama because she is a believer in the opportunity to change America and the world that Obama represents. That he is a person of color is part of it but also his personal heritage, his life story, his plain-speaking opposition to the Iraq War (a dumb war); his not speaking in soundbites; his age; his appeal across all kinds of lines; and the desire of the country for change.

    I do agree with Columbia, SC that someone needs to sit Michelle Obama down for a talking-to. That "stinky" remark was the second time she made a bad mistake that I've seen. The first was the 60 Minutes interview where she's asked about whether she fears for his safety and she says that she knows that "as a black man" her husband could get killed when he stops for gas. So could anyone! What an out-of-touch devoid-of-empathy-for-others remark that was. I worry about my husband and my daughter all the time. Michelle should take some guidance from her husband and sit back and be thoughtful and then she won't make these odd, snappy remarks.

    I hope Oprah brings Barack Obama a lot of luck and support.

    September 13, 2007 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  13. Kim Orange County, CA

    Kate in Woodland Hills does not know how offensive her comment sounds to most right thinking Americans. It is a premitive thought process, not befitting an enlightened society. Could it possibly be that Obama is Oprah's Senator in IL.? Is it possible she feels connected to him based on the "O" thing both share in their names, or perhaps, he is the first PERSON who has inspired her? Stop being affraid of African-Americans who try to make a positive difference in all of our lives, including their own. STOP IT!

    September 13, 2007 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  14. Daniel O

    Oprah has her constitutional rights to support any candidate she likes, black white, blue or red. She chose Obama who is neither black nor white and who talks of USA rather than blue or red states. Who talks more Common sense than political sense. And this annoys those who would rather see the divide between us.

    The energy agaisnt Obama and Oprah is not because of what they stand for but because these people know that Oprah's endorsement will shift a very good number of voters to Obama.
    Nobody would have cared if it was otherwise.
    Vote wisely.

    September 13, 2007 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  15. Becky,Euless, Texas

    There are Idiots here, who keep mentioning RACE, pathetic people, what does the Color of one's skin have to do with Anything? you are just FOOLS, to the bone, no one can help you! I can't even waste more words on you, RACE at this Era should not be an issue, your Grandparents would be so sick of you!!

    September 13, 2007 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  16. Ayveel, Dallas, TX

    I think Oprah could help his campaign. Oprah has made an educated and intelligent decision to support him. I am not made that she is using her position or the platform she has to support him. I would too. I don't care if she is supporting him because he is Black or because he would be a great leader. I don't think it is because he is black, but based on knowing who Obama is.

    Oprah has the biggest disconnection from African-Americans among any celebrity. That is not a bad thing. She doesn't have to cater to Blacks because she is Black. But if you ever look at her show, whites outnumber blacks like 300 to 1. I am serious. Look at the show. So this isn't about him being black.

    While I don't support Obama nor will I vote for him as an African-American, I think he could be a good president. People says he is inexperienced especially in foreign affairs. Well, so was Bill Clinton and we all know how that turned out.

    Rather people know it or not. The presidency isn't about experience, it is ON THE JOB TRAINING. I'm Republican, but George Bush isn't exactly the most experienced person Republicans have.

    Anybody candidate would love to have Oprah's endorsement, Reps and Dems. Imagine if Dave Letterman supported Guliani or if Jay Leno supported JOhn Edwards. Or if Ellen Degeneras supported Mitt Romney. (Excuse me, editor scratch that last one.)

    I will leave like it this. The Democrats have a 99% chance of winning the presidency, whoever they put. But if they keep hitting each other about celebrity endorsements and a whole bunch of other stuff, the United States will end up with another republican. Which I do want? I like Romney, Thompson, and Guliani.

    Democrats, don't kill yourself with things like race and celebrity endorsements. Go ahead and get the Clinton-Obama ticket and clean up. Orpah can run White House communications. She'll be giving out gift bags at every press conference. Plus the White HOuse galas would be off the chain.

    September 13, 2007 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  17. Jay, Newport Beach

    Anyone who says that they don't even know what Obama stands for and he is just all charm but not substance should read his book, or get his book thourgh itunes and listen carefully. All his answers are right there. ALL! This is a highly intellingent human being with good judgement. Stop repeating what Bill "Orally" and Rush say and do your own research. Be an educated voter.

    September 13, 2007 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  18. Robert Novak, SF, CA

    Is Oprah supporint Obama, just because he's black? I think so!

    September 13, 2007 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  19. Barabas, Hot City, TX

    Using Oprah to get African American women voters??? Look at Oprah's studio audience.....99% white women. How is Oprah helping to attract african-american voters? Maybe he should get Tyra Banks to campaign for him if he is looking for african american votes.

    September 13, 2007 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  20. lavelle

    the real intention behind Oprah's support is simply based on racial background only. It seems that Oprah herself is not tolerating racism but she turns out to be one herself. Her comments about her hiring so many 'white folks' and her unsubstantial support for Obama clearly show that she is a racist, the black against all other races. Her statement about "she knows Obama well" seems to be all on racial motive. It will be interesting to know how long exactly Oprah knows Mr. Obama as he is only becoming a public figure in the past couple years at most. Oprah is so busy to even call David Letterman to go on her show and tells me that she knows Mr. Obama well, whom is not even on anyone radar 2 years ago. A black US president is possible in the future, but at least he/she has to be the best qualified candidate at that time. I am sorry for now that Mr. Obama just simply lacks experience in all aspects of politic. I cannot vote for someone because of his skin color, not to mention his naiveness in foreign policy certainly will jeopardise the security of the whole country!

    ^^^Some white Americans are just plain dumb! Now all of a sudden Oprah is a racist lol and oh yeah Obama is a racist right! get a grip please your part of our problem today.

    September 13, 2007 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  21. RA Las Vegas, NV

    Has America seen Oprah Winfrey’s home? Celebrityhomesphotos.com; some may have opinions that she may be trying to pay for this election.

    September 13, 2007 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  22. Andrew, Jakarta, Indonesia

    If Oprah is only endorsing because he is black, I can't wait for Homer Simpson and Eric Cartman to endorse Ron Paul and Mitt Romney as being two-dimensional jokes.

    September 13, 2007 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  23. tjp

    Obama's candidacy is a joke. His inexperience and naivete is matched only by his chances of wnning the nomination. Dems need to face the fact that the reason they lost to a mediocre Bush twice is because of their weak nominees. It appears they will make the same mistake this time, too.

    September 13, 2007 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  24. charles, charlotte,nc

    You go gal! certainly this is not Clinton and Hsu. White people have always done this kid of stuff. Now that it is a black person, due to so much program that people have heard over years now seem not right. I think this is absolutely ok and should be taken ok. Just like you would receive other news and have an impact on you on other people and not the same for others. We need to correct that. Obama can get as much help as he can.There are many rich people that need to go the polls too and Oprah can be a voice for Obama. I certain back this idea.

    September 13, 2007 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  25. Dan, TX

    For those posting that they don't know what OBAMA stands for or what his policies are I simply ask that you do your homework. Go to Obama's campaign web site and read his positions and his speeches.

    Then Go to Clinton's and Edwards and Biden's,
    Then go to Giuliani's and Thompsons, and Romney's.

    After you have studied and are less ignorant than you are now.,,,and I can say with certainty that most of you ARE ignorant....THEN explain why you disagree with OBAMA's politics or CLinton's politics or Romney's politics.... Otherwise. Don't waste my time posting here.

    September 13, 2007 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
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