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. Richard, Johannesburg, South Africa

    The reason why she's supporting Obama now is because they're the same colour. He's been on her show a number of times. How many times has Hillary been on (or any of the other candidates in fact)? She's never been involved in political debate before. It's funny she says no other candidate before was worth her going on a limb for- Obama of all people will be America's weakest president if ever elected. Oprah always sucks-up to people she's friends with and who like her (especially if they're black). Just watch the way she conducts her interviews when her panel is multi-racial. You should also hear the racial bias she shows-off when she visits South Africa...

    August 16, 2007 03:14 am at 3:14 am |
  2. Rose, Chicago, IL

    Dan from Chicago said:

    "To me, I'm not going to support Obama just because Oprah does, I'm going to support him because of who he is and what he's done (and what he's not done, like vote for the Iraq War, like Clinton did)".

    I would like to make one correction to the above comment.

    It is true that Barack Obama spoke out against the Iraq War, for example when he called the Iraq War "stupid" in the speech he gave at the 2004 Democratic Convention. He has consistently reminded people that he spoke out against the war from the very beginning. But here's the rub.
    Mr. Obama has voted for every Supplemental Appropriations Bill to fund the War in Iraq. If you don't believe me, just GOOGLE VoteSmart, it will give you a link where you can check his voting record.
    We've been living under th pall of lies under the current administration for almost the past 8 years now. Do you really want to vote for someone who is intentionally misleading you about there true position on the Iraq War? Not to mention the fact that he is willing to invade Pakistan pre-emptively.

    August 22, 2007 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  3. S Beesley, Salt Lake City, UT

    Oprah is a racist. See USA Today article below, dated July 21, 2007

    Oprah urges Howard grads to serve others
    Updated 115d ago

    Oprah Winfrey sits with Howard University president H. Patrick Swygert during the historically black university's commencement ceremony Saturday.

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Oprah Winfrey, whose show has remained the top-rated TV talk show for 20 consecutive seasons, says her success comes from maintaining her principles and serving others.
    "My integrity is not for sale, and neither is yours," Winfrey said at graduation ceremonies Saturday for Howard University, recalling times when she was under pressure to change course or avoid topics to boost ratings or appease advertisers. "Do not be a slave to any form of selling out."

    Winfrey recalled how early in her career at a TV station in Baltimore, executives told her she was "too black" and "too emotional." She said they tried to have her TV name changed to something more recognizable, but she refused.

    Finally, Winfrey was put on a talk show, she said, to run out her contract.

    "And that was the beginning," she told 30,000 people who crowded onto the Howard campus.

    Winfrey drew repeated big cheers from the moment she took the stage. She called on the graduates to maintain their integrity and to "go forth and serve."

    "I stand here as a symbol of what is possible when you believe in the dream of your own life," Winfrey said. "Don't be afraid. All you need to do is know who you are."

    Winfrey said that while growing up her grandmother, a servant in 1950s Mississippi, hoped that Winfrey would "get some good white folks" to work for.

    "I regret that she didn't live past 1963 and see that I did get some really good white folks — working for me," said.

    September 6, 2007 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  4. Maestro, Jackson, MS

    Well it does not surprise me that people would have the nervers to think Oprah is endorsing Barack because he is black. Well why do the same people have nothing to say about all the many white authors that she has endorsed. Anybody in there right mind should know Barack is the best canidate. Also people should be tired of the Bush\Clinton dynasty. Oprah not racist, you people are!

    September 10, 2007 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  5. Sara DiNicola, DeKalb, IL

    Barack Obama AND his wife are members of Council on Foreign Relations (The CFR is sworn to destroy American sovereignty-see for yourself on CFR's own website)....I was for Obama before I found this out, and could hardly even believe it....so I checked it out and it is true...Nine other candidates are also CFR members, both Democratic & Republican: Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Bill Richardson, Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and John McCain....LOOK IT UP, ESP. ON CFR'S OWN WEBSITE!!!!...SEE WHAT THEIR AGENDA IS... It is not the America I want to live in.....Sara DiNicola

    December 10, 2007 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  6. Dan, Hamilton OH

    Hmmmmm Not like Oprah has a good track record at supporting people, from lying writers to child molesting teachers.

    She may be well intentioned but IMO she seems to have a nose at sniffing out crap and then instead of pushing it away she supports it.

    With Oprahs support i wouldn't be suprised to eventually find out that Obama is an axe murderer who sells crack and wants to be the first gangster rapping president...lol

    December 11, 2007 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  7. Joseph Raber , Cranford, New Jersey

    Obama is for change? Thats a joke right?

    Obama is just another Liar, Just like Hillary, Rudy, Edwards and Romney.

    There is only one honest man running for president.

    RON PAUL. All you have to do is Google him.. His ideas are for all mankind. Black or white Asian or Hispanic.

    He is for America. you cannot say America in the same sentence for any other candidate.

    Because the rest are for Globalization and the New World Order

    Obama and the CFR = Evil

    December 16, 2007 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  8. Deb

    Oprah should be ashamed of herself! Her infuence on the American public could get people to follow her off a bridge! She has every right to her opinion, but as far as political candidates, she should have never gathered her sheep and led them off a cliff. What she could have and should have done, is just, get out the vote. Obama is nothing more then a attractive, well spoken, talking head. Oprahs support and clout is much to powerful! I fear his lack of experience, will destroy us.
    Oprah if your listening... BUTT OUT!

    January 7, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
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