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. Aisha Los Angeles CA

    "Obama seems like a decent candidate and I don’t mean any disrespect by saying this, but it makes me woder if other African Americans like Oprah even agree with what he stands for, or do they just want another African American in the presidency so bad they don’t care. Something to think about???"

    The only thing you should of thought about was your comment before posting it. There has never been an African American president so how can African Americans want "ANOTHER" African in office. Do you want another White American in the office so bad that you would not care about what he stands for? Something to think about huh?

    July 18, 2007 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  2. Erik, Greensboro, NC

    Who cares? It's Oprah. The only people that care about this are the liberal idiots in Hollywood and about 1/3rd of the women in America.

    Oprah, go eat a snickers bar and quit ruining my life.

    July 18, 2007 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  3. Citizen

    Surprise. Suprise. Voting for color over substance. And voting for inexperience in a time when the country is in deep crisis is STUPID. Oprah would be better off using her big bucks to pay for another face lift, nose job or more lipo to suck more fat out of the rear end.

    July 18, 2007 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  4. W is Still the Prez

    Oprah has spoken. Let's all bow down at her feet and praise her and shower her with gifts.

    UMMMM....NEVER!!! She's just another liberal that I can't stand.

    July 18, 2007 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    SOOO, just because Oprah is supporting Obama it is because they are black. Tell me something, how is this such a great Country when there are so many ignorant minded people in America. Everyone on the board who thinks Oprah is backing Obama over race, you really need to check yourselves, because race is not the factor for Oprah, it is the factor for you all, because that is the first thing you see, instead of the fact that someone may feel that this man is qualified or they share the same values. America is going down the drain.

    July 18, 2007 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  6. Nancy Orlando FL

    Barack Obama is a good and decent man who cares about economic justice, universal healthcare and opportunity for all. Best of all he is inspiring. Can you imagine how it would feel to have a president who is an inspiration around the world vs one who is an embarrasment to us around the world? Allow yourself to hope again. If he is brave enough to run...you can be brave enough to HOPE.

    July 18, 2007 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Citizen I am pretty sure you needs a couple of tummy tucks yourself, sweep around your own front door first before you sweep around Oprah's.

    July 18, 2007 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  8. W is Still the Prez

    OBAMA sounds TOO much like OSAMA. Too eerie for me.

    And it's plain to see that race is an issue. First black presidential candidate, firt time Oprah has ever endorsed a candidate.

    Consequential? I think not.

    July 18, 2007 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  9. Yrvack, Grutten GA

    No John, you are wrong. It's ok as you don't appreciate how the news has formed your thought pattern.

    Oprah seems like a good gal on TV. I really don't know if she is in person. I do know that she gives much to African countries. I'll assume most of the Africans are black.

    I don't really have any issue with Obama, other than his wife is ignorant on national TV. She did introduce her husband as "My Babies Daddy" when he won the senate. That will kill the deal for me right there. I don't want his wife in the white house.

    Honestly, this blog doesn't matter. Obama will not win as that isn't the way the system is designed. Obama is not a member of the CFR so there is no chance he'll win. Every president must be a member of the CFR. The only candiate I've seen on the list is John Edwards. Bill Clinton is on there so I'm not sure if that covers family or if Hilary has to join.

    John Edwards will most likely be the candiate. I know you don't think so right now, but we'll debate this again in 9 months.

    July 18, 2007 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  10. Betty Libby Limington Maine

    Opra is getting to big for her britch'es I don't watch anymore, she left her people to another, white???

    July 18, 2007 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Nancy,

    Are you part of his grassroots team? If not, you should of majored in marketing.

    July 18, 2007 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  12. Matt, Philadelphia, PA.

    Alright well everyone clearly got their point across that they think this has something to do with race or fame but if you really knew anything about barack other then what his color is you would know he is a great, down to earth, intelligent man and maybe he doesn't have the experience but i believe his intelligence should sit higher up on american voters minds. If you simply do not like Oprah DO NOT let your useless anger over this sway any prior decision. And to the recent comment on why isnt oprah helping out American Poors instead of African? well i think our government is VERY capapable of taking that responsibility....once they feel like it that is.

    July 18, 2007 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  13. Dick

    Amen...anyone but Bush!

    July 18, 2007 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  14. Lisa, Newark NJ

    I think its really racist to say Oprah endorsed Obama because he is black. What kind of people are you? It is your own insecurites about your own race which allows you to make these ridiculous statements. Why can't a black person ever do anything without many whites have to scutinize their motives. Oprah and Obama are very intelligent people and they have proven to be much more intelligent than the people we currently have running the government. Obama and Oprah have always preached view someones skills and talent over race. Please people take their advise.

    July 18, 2007 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  15. Ernest Dickinson

    I am 88 and have started Octogenarians for Obama. We are never too old to back Barack. All you youngsters out there, read his two books, listen to him carefully and keep an open mind and you will know why Oprah supports him.

    July 18, 2007 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  16. Luis, Miami Florida

    Wao, If it wasn’t for Ophah I would of voted for a qualified candidate. Thanks Ophah you made it so much easier. I was trying to understand the candidate’s stands on important issues but I no longer have to do that…

    July 18, 2007 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  17. E Miller La Puente, CA

    I kills me that anyone could call this racist, we as Americans have accepted the fact that we have always had a Caucausian president.Whether we agreed with his views or not we have accepted it. I wish Obama the best, and if it takes Oprah to endorse him and bring more awareness about him I say go for it. Whether he wins or not, it's not the issue, I give him best wishes for his attempts to try to make this country a better place. Look at our leader now? Any comments on him?

    July 18, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  18. Erik, Greensboro, NC

    TO Lisa in Newark, NJ:

    I would NEVER take Oprah's advice on anything!

    July 18, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  19. GOP, Dublin, Ohio

    Hey, "DICK" – President Bush isn't running again – DUH. Don't you have some left-wing nut job site you can visit? Stick to the issues – the topic is about your little dummies – I mean demmies.

    July 18, 2007 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  20. Angered, Los Angeles, CA

    Why are people making this a race issue? Obama is HALF-WHITE folks. Are we still living in those times where one drop of black blood automatically means that you are black? Is it because he is darker skinned?? I don't understand. Mariah Cary is half-white and people hardly refer to her as a black woman. When does the racism end? As a white woman with bi-racial children these comments are the main reason why my kids had a hard time growing up. Just because Oprah has decided to support a black candidate does in no way mean that she is racist. I personally am supporting Hilary, does that make me a racist? So what do you say when whites support Obama? Are they sell-outs?? When will America grow up?

    July 18, 2007 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  21. T Graves Greensboro, NC

    To RI I hope not everyone from your state shares your negative views. I am thankful that I live in America, where I have the right to vote for whom I want, and I have the right to my own choices and freedoms, and like Oprah, I can speak freely, and spend my money on what I choose to spend it on! If you don't like Oprah, you don't have to watch her, or read her magazine or any of the shows she produces, in America that is your choice! As for where she spends her money that is her choice. I believe that she is making a difference in this world, therefore I don't judge! A wise person once said to me, "I asked why somebody didn't do something, then I realized, I am somebody".

    July 18, 2007 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  22. ric Bellefeuille, alexandria, mn

    Going out on a limb is to go with a plan that is out there. Going out on a limb with a net (Hillary) under it is Hollywood and anything for another show. When can we see some real theater drama? If I was Barrack I would change my dinner plans. I'm not "shooting from the hip" with my comments.

    July 18, 2007 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  23. Shauna, Albuquerque, NM

    I'm considering Obama because he is white and I'm white. But he's black too. What to do what to do! I need to find out what his favorite color is.

    I'm in disbelief with most of the comments here.

    Is it just me or is race not an issue to younger folks? I'm 31 years old, white, female, and the fact that Obama is half black does not faze me at all. I feel that many people of my generation feel the same. He's simply a good candidate.

    FYI – Entertainers are not telling us what to do, if you think they are then you might want to consider your reality.

    July 18, 2007 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  24. Marlowe loves DUBYA in Wichtia KS

    Nancy in Orlando let me define universal healthcare for you. Instead of hard working americans, like you and me, paying $30 a week from our paychecks, we will be paying double or worse. Maybe when Obama or Hillary get elected they will cover our higher premiums – NOT. Better yet maybe Oprah will cover it for us – NOT. Some might say the current VA medical system is a form of univeral healthcare. How do you think that is working out??

    July 18, 2007 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  25. Patriot

    Obama is not black enough. America needs someone blacker.

    July 18, 2007 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
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