COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) – The crowd traveled here from across South Carolina to see Oprah Winfrey speak, but the biggest applause line at Sunday's rally came straight from Barack Obama's stump speech: "The name George W. Bush will not be on the ballot" next year, he said to a huge roar from the audience.
"I'm sick of politics as usual," Winfrey told the crowd of 29,000 voters and 350 credentialed journalists at Williams-Brice Stadium, after an introduction from Obama's wife Michelle. "We need politicians who know how to tell the truth. But more importantly we need politicians who know how to be the truth."
Her speech, light on policy and heavy on the Illinois senator's message of change, was similar to the remarks she gave in Iowa on Saturday. But if the balmy weather and the football stadium weren't sign enough, it was clear from their speeches that they were in a different part of the country.
"I know something about growing up in the South," Winfrey said, calling it "amazing grace" that she was able to be on stage introducing Obama. "I know something about what it means to come from the South and be born in 1954."
Those recollections resonated with her audience, largely black and female. Black voters make up about 50 percent of Democratic primary voters in the state, which will hold its primary on January 26. Women make up about 60 percent of primary voters, according to an Associated Press poll released last week, and black women are being aggressively courted by both Obama and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.
That same AP poll showed Obama and Clinton tied for support among African-Americans in the state. A New Mason-Dixon poll, released Sunday, shows Clinton with a narrow 3-point lead among all likely Democratic voters.
Most women interviewed by CNN said they were already Obama supporters, although several said they were still deciding between Obama and Clinton. Nearly all said they were registered to vote.
Dozens of Obama volunteers worked the crowd lined up outside the stadium before the rally, cheerily passing out cards signing up supporters and verifying that the people who showed up to see Winfrey today were registered to vote. If not, they were ready with voter registration forms.
– CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby