July 19th, 2007
11:42 AM ET
11 years ago

Oprah takes out big guns for Obama

Watch CNN’s Mary Snow report on Oprah’s swanky campaign bash.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Her name has been known to skyrocket a novel to the top of the bestseller list, but can Oprah Winfrey do the same with a presidential candidate?

The popular talk show host, who first said she would support Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential bid in September on CNN’s Larry King Live, plans to host a $2,300 per-person fundraising event for the Illinois Democrat in her Montecito, California home next September.

In an e-mail sent out Tuesday, the event is being billed "the most exciting Barack Obama event of the year anywhere,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

According to the Times, those celebrities who pledge to raise $25,000 for the senator will be invited to a special VIP reception and a $50,000 pledge will win a dinner with Oprah and the candidate.

Though Winfrey’s highly-anticipated soirée is certain to produce an avalanche of campaign-cash for Obama, it remains to be seen whether her endorsement alone will translate into votes at the polls.

While Oprah began endorsing novels long ago, the TV host has never lent her support behind a presidential candidate until now.

Last May, Oprah told Larry King she chose to support a candidate for the first time this cycle because she knows Obama “personally,” and knows “what he stands for.”

"I think that what he stands for, what he has proven that he can stand for, what he has shown, was worth me going out on a limb for - and I haven't done it in the past because I haven't felt that anybody — I didn't know anybody well enough to be able to say, I believe in this person," Oprah said.

In the same interview, Oprah said her endorsement of Obama does not suggest she is against the other Democratic front-runner for the nomination, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York.

"I think I've said this before and it's true, because I am for Barack does not mean I am against Hillary or anybody else. So the fact that I would endorse Barack Obama and the fact that I would support Barack Obama, I have not one negative thing to say about Hillary Clinton,” she said.

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (308 Responses)
  1. Providence, RI

    Who cares about oprah's ebdorsement of Obama? I don't, because she is multimillionaire, and she goes to Africa and helps African poors!!!! Why not American poors? Why doesn't she help American poors? There are millions of Americans poors, like Africans poors, do not have food on their plates. There are millions of Americans who cannot buy milk to feed their children. There are millions of Americans die due to lack of health insurance. I do NOT have any respect for Oprah at all. Celebrity, like Oprah's endorsement OF OBAMA, will not have any impact in the 2008 election. It never did in the past. Obama can get the endorsements of the entire Hollywood, but at the end, we the people, who will decide...

    July 18, 2007 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  2. Jaqui, Gainesville, Ga

    As far as I am concerned, Oprah would be one more reason, NOT to vote for Obama.,

    July 18, 2007 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  3. Jaqui, Gainesville, Ga

    As far as I am concerned, Oprah would be one more reason NOT to vote for Obama.

    July 18, 2007 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  4. Donna Cowing, Hamilton OH

    Oprah did NOT say she would not support Obama. She had not made up her mind yet who she would support. I watched the show.

    July 18, 2007 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  5. Chris Gilbert, AZ

    I think the headline of this article deserves to be changed. Everyone who enjoys freedom knows that oprah is one of the more adamant haters of firearms. How DARE you folks at CNN use the word gun and oprah in the same article?

    July 18, 2007 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    I certainly hope that people wouldn't vote for Obama just because Oprah says so.

    July 18, 2007 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  7. Iassen Gueorguiev, Stara Zagora, Bulgaria

    Strangely, the first presidential candidate that Oprah endorses is black. I really can't imagine what the reason is...

    July 18, 2007 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  8. Persia Rosenberg, Ottawa, Ontario

    This is representative of the unfortunate degradation of the USA into a secular sectarianism. In other words, Oprah is supporting Obama just because he has dark skin; I doubt his policies make much difference to her. It is racism in reverse. I do not claim that this is her conscious motivation, of course. Rather, it is the current norm for Americans to support those who most resemble them. From Canada, it is easy to see how Americans are tending more and more towards exclusive groups that try to 'stick out for each other,' rather than caring for the nation as a whole.

    July 18, 2007 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  9. MPG, Abilene, Texas

    I think it is very obvious why Oprah is endorsing him. It has nothing to do with him knowing him personally.

    July 18, 2007 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. SLAbner, Ft. Worth, Tx

    Need we explain the colorful content of her meanings behind why she is endorsing him of course her second choice will be Hillary if Obama does not get the nomination. Like alot of other women have all ready come out and said, they will vote for Hillary because she is a woman. Give me a break and get a brain!

    July 18, 2007 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  11. Margaret, Pinellas Park, Florida

    I watched Barack and Michelle Obama on Oprah and then listened to his book Audacity of Hope. From this information I decided that he was what my country needs to direct it into a place of respect with other nations.

    If you would read or listen to his book, you would realize that he is objective, grounded and focused.

    He is an American who happens to have a black father and white mother.

    For the critics that are jumping to conclusions, take the time to get informed about all of candidates before making rash remarks.

    July 18, 2007 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  12. Gail Duncan, Washington, D.C.

    Yippy!!!!! Pray I could be there and add by support!!! Already did youtubedebate, donated and prayed. Send me my invitation!!!! Ain't No Stopping Us Now!!!

    July 18, 2007 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  13. Denise Drakes, Toronto, Canada

    How do you know Oprah's motivation for supporting Barack Obama is his skin colour? If she supported Hillary Clinton would it be because they are both women? How many white candidates have been supported by white people? Supposedly Madonna is a Clinton supporter, is she now racist because she's supporting someone of the same race. Give me a break. It could be that their believes mesh or that they are like-minded. Oprah, as do all people, has a right to support who she supports, plain and simple. If you don't like who she's supporting, don't vote for that candidate.

    July 18, 2007 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  14. KG Columbia, South Carolina

    Some of you people are a trip!! Because Oprah endorsed her first ever canidate and he happens to be black you guys find fault in that??? She said she knows Barack and they attend the same church so she personally is pulled to him. Just as the time when you were in high school and had to vote for school president and while you knew the other person more WHO IN THE HELL DID YOU VOTE FOR??? The stranger?? The person you never spoke to? Oprah is doing a noble thing and the country needs to change and Oprah is a good person to have on your team. What a lot of you are afraid of is Oprah's WIDE APPEAL TO WOMEN!! She encourages them to buy a book and the author becomes rich are you afraid she'll make her large base support Barack? Women have a mind of thier owns they know what they want.

    July 18, 2007 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  15. Eldridge, Salt Lake City, Utah

    If you for one, you are against another – you can't have your cake and eat it to, Dopera.

    July 18, 2007 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  16. joey hot springs, ar

    i am not racist by any means but is it color or friendship for oprah. there have been , are , and will be many other candidates that are as qualified or more qualified than obama why does she choose him??? i understand we need to rid of the republicans and if it comes to it i will vote for obama too. i may vote for him anyway this country needs a change and it is time white , black , or a woman but why this time oprah???

    July 18, 2007 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  17. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Oprah is emblematic of much that is wrong with America in general and women in particular, in my opinion, and her endorsement of Obama reinforces my view that he lacks the experience and gravitas to win and govern. Maybe in 4 to 8 years.

    July 18, 2007 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    The comments on this board largely reflect the drafters' bias. Oprah, according to the article, has chosen to endorse Obama because she has a personal knowledge of who he is and what he stands for. She is obviously left leaning as she touts H. Clinton as well. Although Oprah's endorsement is meaningless to me personally, many people trust her. As far as commenting the endorsement is based solely on race, you should cite facts or you are merely commiting libel.

    July 18, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  19. TJ, Murfreesboro, TN


    Unless you have actually spoke with Oprah, you have know way of knowing her reason for supportng Obama. Your comment is completely ignorant and unfounded. Stay in Canada and worry about what's going on there and not here.

    July 18, 2007 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  20. Rob Scranton, PA

    ...or maybe Oprah endorsed Barack because he's been on her show a number of times and she's from Illinois...

    To the poster from RI, Oprah does also give to charities in the U.S. and also spends money taking pedophiles off the street, I realize to some this isn't much, but it's better then what most people with money are doing.

    July 18, 2007 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  21. San Jose, CA

    Reading the comments before mine it is easy to see why these uneducated people would be against Oprah and Obama.

    "Im poors give me a hand out" "i love my guns duh huh"

    July 18, 2007 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  22. Anonymous - Atlanta Georgia

    Oprah, please you embarrased yourself when you invited Tom Cruise to sit on your couch and then didn't want anything to do with him after that. You have people claiming that you have great ensight on people; yet you had no idea your Father was writing a book. You endorsed the book "A Million Little Pieces" and had to recant your endorsement. Oprah also endorsed Gayle King to have a talk show and we know how long that lasted. Please Oprah, leave yourself out of the endorsements. Oprah is not that good and neither is Obama.

    July 18, 2007 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  23. John, Coatesville,PA

    Here goes a controversial statement. THAT JUST FIGURES

    July 18, 2007 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    I will support Obama

    July 18, 2007 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  25. AJ, Montpelier, Vermont

    I think it would have been more of a surprise if Oprah did'nt endorse Obama. Oprah has always shown a bit of bias toword anyone African American and looked for the racist plot everywhere. Has everyone forgotten about the big to-do over the high end store that would'nt let her in? That was all about racism, never mind that the store was closed! This really is a bit of a meaningless endorsement. Oprah should be proud of her success, but a political analyst she is not.

    July 18, 2007 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
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