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. Allison, Rocky Hill Connecticut

    I'm sorry; but how typical. Blacks supporting blacks; What she is doing speaks volumns and she is not different than the Democrats/Republicans. They stick with their own kind no matter what. The basic truth has nothing to do with color. Barack Obama is too young, is too new to politics and has yet to prove himself. Hilary Clinton is our best hope. She has always shown herself to care about our Nation's people and as a woman, Oprah should be standing by her or keeping her mouth shut. That she would publically endorse one over the other speaks of reverse racism to me.

    July 19, 2007 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  2. Wallace, Chicago, Illinois

    Why did Warren Buffett endorse Hillary Clinton, because she is White? Are you kidding? So, Warren Buffett is a racist now too huh? Absolutely not!

    But wait, so if a black woman endorses a black man, she's a racist. BUT if a white man endorses a white woman, he must have made an educated decision to endorse her.

    Come on people. Reverse racism. Give me a break and wake up. This isn't racism. If anything it's racist and very presumptious to say that the endorsement is because of race.
    And these are probably the same people that say "Racism does not exist". Give Warren and Oprah some credit. They are not racists. They have an opinion about politics.

    Sheesh... Come on America! We have to do better.

    July 19, 2007 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  3. Linda Henderson, San Antonio, Texas

    I refuse to be influenced by Hollywood for who I will vote for or against. The more the rock star is crammed down my throat the more likely I will vote for Hillary or Rudy. In other words, you could call me the anti-Hollywood because I like believe those people are fruits and nuts.

    July 19, 2007 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  4. Anonymous

    I think she just has a dream of sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom. I hope Mrs. Edwards lets her.

    July 19, 2007 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  5. David Yorktown, Va

    A long time ago during Black History Month, two black gentlemen came to my school to discuss racism. I want to make this point VERY clear because there is a correlation here. They explained that all races have some sort of prejudice. ALL. But that doesn't mean everyone is a racist. Their example: If you were playing a pick-up game of basketball and two more players wanted to join who would you pick- the 6'3 athletic looking black man or the 5'10 white guy. The whole class chose the black guy. So the point is, who is Oprah going to pick: the black candidate or more white guys/woman? Doesn't mean she's racist, just perhaps a bit prejudice. The guest speakers made it clear that there is a difference between racism and certain prejudices.

    To comment on those who say Oprah didn't endorse Jackson or Sharpton just do some thinking. Sharpton had a snowballs chance to win anything and Jackson was a candidate in the 80s. Oprah was a nobody then so who would care who she endorsed? From my perspective she didn't start brainwashing suburbia until the 1990s.

    Canada, wow you guys seem tense. If bashing the entire US is your cup of tea then go ahead. Just remember we Americans don't all beleive you speak French and speak English with a strange dialect. And don't act like there's no prejudice in Canada. Seems to me like your contry's pro-immigration policies have had some racial backlash. Quit throwing stones from your glass house.

    July 19, 2007 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  6. Chris, Pensacola FL

    IF from Miami,

    I'm sure you are correct about her having other charities, but you should be kind to everyone. Don't get so hostile sister.

    Since you are "latin", wouldn't you agree that there are some very poor children from central and south america? I'll bet there are just as many poor malnurished latin children as there are african children.

    I don't really have a point, I just want people to think before they speak. Oprah makes up like .0004% of charity. It is people like you and I (at least I hope you) that make the donations and feed these poor children.

    July 19, 2007 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  7. Wallace, Chicago, Illinois

    HEY -

    Providence, RI

    The individual who wrote the very first comment. Scroll up to the search bar and enter the following:

    Obama's $6 billion poverty platform

    Go ahead and find the article. Do your research. You keep talking about Oprah and leaders not wanting to help people here in America. Your friend Obama wants to do that. The question is, will you put down the wall of ignorance around you so you can stop and take a look at what's happening in this election.

    It's not about race. Relax and take a step back. It's a beautiful thing. It amazes me that folks who are in poverty and need the most help... choose to elect leaders that really don't care about them. Wake up.

    You think George W. or Mitt Romney care about you or anyone else who isn't affluent? Wake up Providence and all of the other cities out there. Wake up Georgia. Making 30k and having to feed a family of four is not "well-off". Take care of yourselves.

    July 19, 2007 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  8. Susan Waldorf MD

    One question I would like to ask Oprah. Are you supporting Obama because he is black? Oh course you are. Oprah Winfrey is a rascist. One look at her TV show or magazine will tell you. She would support the election of the devil if her were black. Oh wait, she is.

    July 19, 2007 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  9. Anonymous

    Perhaps I do have a point now. I don't know or care about Oprah as I think she is evil, but I will say it is interesting that many black american TV personalities are backing Obama. Does this mean anything? I don't know. Perhaps he is the best candidate, or perhaps deep down inside our psyche we follow those who look like us the most. I don't know what I am. I could be white, black, hispanic, adamic. There isn't anyone running for office that looks like me. My last comment would be this – who are the mainstream Black Leaders backing and why? Can anyone tell me if they are backing someone other than Obama? Why is that?

    July 19, 2007 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  10. Tim, Acworth, GA

    It's pretty ignorant to suggest she is only supporting him because he's black. When she is directly responsible for the success of Dr. Phil, Rachael Ray and that designer dude. All white. White people should stop being so paranoid when they see one black person support another.

    July 19, 2007 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  11. Joyce H., Salisbury MD

    I love Oprah but I cannot support a muslim who is the son of an athiest, father is from Kenya and step father is a radical muslim.

    July 19, 2007 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  12. Chad Baltimore Maryland

    As usual, Oprah is being her racist self, always supporting her own race. Maybe this sounds wrong to say but it's true. Is she going by his credentials or by the color of his skin?

    July 19, 2007 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  13. Tricia M Charlottetown PEI

    The large number of comments on this blog stating that color was the reason Oprah is endorsing Obama, is why RACISM IS STILL ALIVE AND WELL in the GREAT US of A !

    When America starts to divert their primary focus from Racism and US POWER over the rest of the world, other Nations around the world may finally be able to live in Peace!

    Color and Cash seem to be the #1 priority in all things American. And you wonder why the World has such a dim view of your Great Nation. What is the American Dream? Oh Yes, Liberty, Justice and Freedom for All? What a Crock of Bull!
    Unfortunately, the Almighty US Dollar can't buy the American Dream.

    July 19, 2007 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  14. Joyce, Salisbury MD

    Where did Barack Hussein Obama come from anyway? No one has ever heard anything about him until this year. We dont know him at all yet we want to put him in as our Chief and Commander because he is black and his mother is white? I dont think so. Being muslim, his mother is athiest, step father that helped raise him is a radical muslim, give me a break, what are you people thinking? We really need a muslim in our midst!

    July 19, 2007 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  15. RT, Mississippi

    Okay...lets put the sheets away. To the person who said Oprah is the devil, it takes one to know one.

    July 19, 2007 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  16. Persia Rosenberg, Ottawa, Ontario

    Many of the commentators here are committing logical fallacies. Just because Oprah has supported people (never politicians, however) who are white does _not_ imply that she cannot have an unconscious motivation to support Obama because he is black. They are unrelated points. Similarly, because white people support other white people, and other black people support black people, does not logically prevent Oprah from having an unconscious racial motivation, nor does it imply that they have a racial motivation–we know nothing of those anonymous figures in the demographics; some are well-motivated, some are probably not. I have already made my opinion clear above. Now I just want to make clear that my detractors must present much better arguments to make their case strong. It would be nice to see some critical thinking rather than emotional flaring.

    July 19, 2007 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  17. Jason, Seattle WA

    I encourage everyone to look at Ron Paul. There is an alternative to all of this madness!!!

    July 19, 2007 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  18. Jeff Hertel, Sherwood Ar

    If that egomaniac Oprah is for Obama that means I will definately not vote for him.

    July 19, 2007 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  19. Yvonne Christ Church Barbados

    So his father is from Kenya, so what?his step father is a radical Muslin who care, thank God Obama is not a Muslim he is a CHRISTIAN, and as George from Arizon said it is HER OWM MONEY she can support HER OWN, no one said one word about Dr.Phil, who make him a big star. oprah, Oprah we here in BARBADOS LOVE YOU.

    July 19, 2007 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  20. Brad Witherspoon Houston, TX

    Here come all the angry rednecks out of the woodworks. I bet all the whiners have always supported candidates because they were white. Let her voice her opinion. This is america!

    July 19, 2007 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  21. I hate narrow minds

    If fathers/ stepfathers defined who we are and we were forced to live with those ridiculous limitations, none of us would aspire to achieve. If you really think that Rick Warren and Oprah Winfrey are backing muslims extremists, GO TO SCHOOL!

    July 19, 2007 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  22. Maryland

    Wow.....people in America are given opportunities other countries do not. I must be ill informed or is Africa not 3rd World? Is there welfare offered in Africa? America is one of the richest countries in the world yet they cannot take care of their own. Winfrey pays enough tax dollars that should be used. Her personal choice to help those that CANNOT help themselves is commendable. Americans have the means, Africa DOES NOT.

    July 19, 2007 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  23. R. L. Kaup

    I would like to know more about Obama's muslim background. Is his Christianity a cover so he can pursue the presidency? He scares me!!!!

    July 19, 2007 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  24. Richard Orlando, FL

    To Joyce H., Salisbury MD,

    I was wondering if someone was going to spew the propaganda/lies from talk radio on this thread. They have you hook, line and sinker my friend. Please do some BASIC research, and you will discover Obama is a Christian, attending the United Church of Christ with his family. It really should not matter in a country with freedom of religion anyway, but please verify your statements before bearing false witness next time.

    Peace and God bless.

    July 19, 2007 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  25. Jay, Columbus OH

    Wow, lots of republican trolls out from under the bridge today.

    July 19, 2007 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
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