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. Jon, Sacramento ~ CA

    Ruth in San Antonio writes,

    "Oprah has done more for humanity than any one I can think of in this day and age. So what if she helps Africa, those poor people need help. Shes one of the few awesome people who will do it. "

    Obama just came out blasting the we aren't doing enough to help AMERICANS in poverty. Wonder if he was talking about Oprah? Schools in Africa are great... Schools in Chicago – better!

    July 18, 2007 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  2. BF Phoenix AZ

    I don't watch Oprah and at the moment don't think I will be voting for Obama. However, Oprah has shown herself to be a thinking human being, and while I do not always agree with her, dismissing her endorsement of someone from her area of the country with whom she is more familiar is ludicrous.

    As for dismissing any celebrity's endorsement automatically, based on their celebrity, as being not worthy of consideration, I disagree.

    Like the people I know in real life, some are inteligent people who do their homework and some might not deserve that description. It isn't usually all that hard to distinguish the 2.

    I suspect that some celebrities, as with other walks of life, might have more free time to talk to people, to read, and to educate themselves on issues than some others who are bright and interested, but have less time that is not already committed to other pursuits.

    July 18, 2007 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  3. ObamaSupporter, Miami, Florida

    Oprah is supporting Obama because he is a REAL person! See for yourself!


    July 18, 2007 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  4. George, Mesa Arizona

    To the person from Providence Rhode Island who has no respect for Oprah because she helps the African poors and not the American poors.

    You are exactly like a "Pharisee" of Biblical times, who condemned Jesus as a sinner because he helped someone in need on the Sabbath day.

    Oprah has a right to use "HER OWN" (incase you didn't read it right – here it is again "HER OWN") money as she pleases. The fact that she is doing good with it should be commended and not criticized.

    You make no sense at all.

    July 18, 2007 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  5. David, Las Vegas, NV

    Oprah's support of Obama says a lot. She is one of the most respected individuals of our time and her influence is enormous worldwide. It is significant that she is endorsing a candidate for the presidency. We all know America needs a change. The ignorant comments about race definitely reflect those Americans who need to expand their minds. If you judge the quality of a person by their skin color then you are just DUMB. Can Oprah support Obama because he is intelligent, charismatic, genuine, and motivated with good intentions???? We need more people like Oprah who focus on real people and real issues. Obama has all the qualities to be an outstanding leader for our country. He has no baggage like the majority of the other candidates and this man is VERY intelligent. Something about him is "REAL" and that is rare nowadays. A blind person who listened to him would be moved by his words and intentions.

    July 18, 2007 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  6. George, Mesa Arizona

    Oprah supporting Obama because of race!!

    Thats the headline some people posting on this blog are reading.

    Yall act like this is the first time a black person has ran for President.

    Afterall Al Sharpton and another black lady (I forget her name) ran in the most recent democratic election primaries. Oprah I don't think supported anyone of them then. Why should she be accused of being racist now that she is endorsing a candidate who happens to be black.

    If she supported Hillary Clinton would she be labelled "feminist"?

    As usual ignorant people will be the first the be heard.

    July 18, 2007 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  7. Peter, Chicago, IL

    Does it mean that Oprah never voted in the past and is only chosing to do so because it is about someone he knows toowell? Does it mean that if she doesn't know any candidate too well in the future campaigns she will not support any and there hold her vote until someone she knows pops out of the woods? I am black but Oprah's publicity stunt for Obama is sheer racism.

    July 18, 2007 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  8. Heather MCEwen, TN

    AH, the Audacity to Hope. Both of you were contacted about a sailor who needed your help and were turned down by Senator Obama's office and disregarded by Oprah. If Obama wins the primary, I'm voting Republican while my parents spin in their graves.

    July 18, 2007 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  9. linda, houston, tx

    what a sad day... i wonder how much research she has done on the other lesser-known candidates!??

    if she would get to know dennis kucinich, i bet she would support him!!!


    July 18, 2007 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  10. Umbrine Fatima, Toronto

    It is interesting to see how some people call Obama 'Black'. He had a black father but a white mother. Why does that leave him 'black' and not 'white'? He has as many 'white' chromosomes as 'black' ones. Are you suggesting that a woman's color is less important? All feminist and women activist please take a note!

    July 18, 2007 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  11. Jenny Nordan, Winchester, MA

    I've never been involved in politics before. EVER. But I am a FULL supporter of Obama. I am involved as I can be as a mother of two young children. He is exactly what our country needs right now, for so many reasons.

    I have to ask. . . Of those of you who are so "against" him . . . unless you are solidly behind another democrat already, I ask you - is there ANY democrat you would consider? And have you even listened to him? Or read his books? Watched some of his speeches? He is an amazing person.

    July 18, 2007 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |

    I'm enjoying the response this "ticker" is generating. its great.

    perspective folks. i like the comment that jeremy from jacksonville flordia made "Anytime Oprah endorses a MAN for anything over a Women its going to big News. Women do not like Hillary Clinton. Oprah is going to give Obama the female vote. So David Geffen, Oprah, Wynn Casino heirs, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Anniston, Halle Barry, Eddie Murphy, Charles Barkley and most 18-24 year olds support Barack Obama. He has alot of heavy weights in his corner. With all this media power, it’s going to be very hard to discount Obama. Hillary has alot of enemies and rightfully So. Nobody likes a liar. And an unapologetic liar is disliked even more."

    just because Oprah chooses to endorse Obama (which is actually mixed) doesn't mean that she is basing her endorsement solely on race. in the past, she has shown love for all people in countless instances. don't bash her because of her beliefs; besides, very few is can say that they have donated so much of their life (forget about the money for a moment...look at the time and energy) to helping so many individuals in there time of need. her values have kept her and rewarded her; that should count for....well.... billions (actually, its priceless).

    nevertheless, people are free to choose and they probably want change there mind because of oprah's endorsement itself. BUT its the after effects of the endorsement is what will cause obama to get more publicity and recognition for many of his strenghs.

    as for me, at this time, i believe in obama and his values and its not because of oprah (although i have nothing against either), its my choice.

    July 18, 2007 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  13. Richard San Francisco California

    It is shocking (not) that she is endorsing Obama. She has always surrounded herself with black role models before, so why should this be any different. She is not as smart as some people beleive. She is voting for him strictly due to the color of his skin. In the past on her show she has denounced other candidates for lack of experience, but chooses Obama now? Figure it out people.

    July 18, 2007 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  14. John Newbrunswick NJ

    is this coincidense or my imagination? Obama Happens to be same color as Oprah! wow she know him well she didn't know any other presidential cadidates!

    July 18, 2007 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  15. DeLand, FL

    You said it clearly, you are for Obama, not against Hillary. Hmmm? I love you Opra, but I don't support your choice.

    July 18, 2007 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  16. Shore, Greensboro, NC

    Why bash Oprah just because she supports Obama? Geesh! It's still a free country...I think!
    I just wish she would support John Edwards instead. He seems to have a much more substantive plan of action than Obama!

    July 18, 2007 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  17. Uvo Oghre-Ikanone Chicago Il

    Obama would cause by beloveth country to go the right direction . This is based on fact and gut feeling.The only reason why people would not vote for him is based on their inablity to handle the truth and do the right thing. Yes Oprah support him. Yes I am glad someone can tell it as it is, without fear of the lashback she would have to deal with. No matter what is said my hope is that GOD continues to bless this great nation and is people with the mind to do what is right.Please vote with conviction Vote Obama

    July 18, 2007 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  18. Miceal Williams

    In a country where to "play the race card" is heard as a daily utterance, why the silence in this case? Oprah's comments that this does not mean she endorses Barack Obama are disengenuous at best and laughable at worst. Does she think that the voters are sheep? Oh, wait, that's right, voters are sheep. Well, if they heed Oprah's call simply because she says so, then Baaaaa.

    July 18, 2007 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  19. Jessie Ware, Horn Lake, MS

    Barack Obama may be a qualified candidate, I do not think he has enough experience, but his name is not one of which this country wants in The White House.

    July 18, 2007 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  20. Jeanne Portello, Wagoner OK

    Buffet is backing Clinton and Oprah is backing Obama-What is the problem? Do none of you have a mind of your own? Just make sure you get out there and vote so your candidate has a chance of winning.

    July 18, 2007 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  21. Lynn / Washington State

    Hey Oprah, maybe if you teach Obama the "Law of Attraction" and he practices religiously, he can win! I mean who needs all that money when, according to you and your New Age gurus, the "Law of Attraction" can get you anything you want.

    July 18, 2007 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  22. Steve, Seattle WA

    Horrible comment posted by our friend from Providence. First of all the majority of children that Oprah is helping in Africa have it 1000 times as worse than almost any American. She built those kids in South Africa a school that would have never been built, which is by the way amazing. You dont think she helps people in America? You are obviously comletely uneducated on her situation. Remeber what she did for Hurricane victims?Obviously not. Also, when has Oprah ever endorsed another president? Never. And by the way, the people in Hollywood are also people of this country who vote...they will have their say as well.

    July 18, 2007 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  23. Steve, Seattle

    I cannot believe what I am hearing from some you people. Oprah endoring Obama because he is black? How about she is endorsing him becuase he actually cares about the black community and the way the black community has been ignored for so long in our country. Look at the schools in OUR black community. It is beautiful to see someone cares and someone wants to change the way this country has been run for so long. By the way...I am white.

    July 18, 2007 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  24. Seattle, Washington

    I guess Oprah supports Dr. Phil becuase he is black too? You are all just looking at the color of her skin and not listening to what is comming out of her mouth

    July 18, 2007 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  25. S.Friedman, Pacific Palisades,CA

    So blood is thicker than water...what else is new?

    I would love to vote for Lieberman or Blomberg.

    July 18, 2007 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
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