September 6th, 2007
01:56 PM ET
15 years ago

Oprah may take visible role in Obama campaign

Watch CNN's Bill Schneider report on Oprah's potential role in the Obama campaign.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The impact of a prominent presidential endorsement often fails to resonate at the polls, but popular talk show host Oprah Winfrey's backing of Barack Obama could prove to have a more significant effect.

Oprah, who first told CNN's Larry King last year she is backing Obama, may assume a visible role in his presidential bid, a source close to the Illinois senator tells CNN. She is already slated to hold a star-studded fundraiser at her California estate this weekend.

Oprah has repeatedly shown her name can sell nearly anything, but the media magnate has never endorsed a presidential candidate before.

It remains to be seen if the popular talk show host's role may go beyond raising money from her Hollywood friends, but the prospect of seeing Oprah in campaign commercials or on the stump is already causing widespread speculation on the effect she may have.

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soundoff (279 Responses)
  1. Linda, san Antonio, Texas

    Only in your dreams.

    September 6, 2007 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  2. Shelly, Owasso Ok.

    I love Oprah. I am one of those that buys her magazines and watches her show. But if she uses her clout to buy this election I'm done with her.

    September 6, 2007 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  3. Katie, cincinnati, ohio

    I have been a loyal oprah fan for 20 years. Her endorsement of Obama will have no effect on my presidential choice. It is not a popularity contest in this time of crisis in our country.

    September 6, 2007 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  4. Amanda, Flint MI

    While I agree that people trust Oprah and some people may vote simply because she tells them to – I think (and hope)that enough of the population has realized that they have to take an active roll in choosing their presidential candidate. I sincerely hope the era of blind obediance to mass media is over. And by the way – I am a big Obama fan.

    September 6, 2007 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  5. Dan, TX

    So Hillary has Bill and Barack has Oprah. That more than levels the playing field.

    I don't think Oprah can convince anyone directly to vote for Obama, but she can convince people to look closely at him and his policies and then decide for themselves.

    September 6, 2007 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  6. George, Orlando FL

    Quick question... Has anyone noticed that the fundamental principles our country was founded on are now gone? There needs to be a revolution before our country will ever be able to return to its natural state. I am not trying to bash Obama, but all current politicians. Our jobs are being shipped over seas, amnesty is being offered to illegals, we are paying insane amounts of PERSONAL income tax (few remember the days when taxes were tarrifs on goods not on the person), backdoor deals within our government making a few rich, universal health care (like it or not it will ruin health care quality), constant state of war, education amoung youth falling, high dependance on welfare amoung the poor, etc etc. We are faced with many problems and NONE of the candidates, Republican nor Democrat are working towards fixing this nation.

    September 6, 2007 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  7. Lee Williams, Hoover, Alabama

    I absolutely cannot stand Oprah Winfrey, so an endorsement from her would backfire in my case. I'd run the other way from anyone she supported!

    September 6, 2007 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  8. Chicago, IL

    Oprah backing Obama is huge. She will be a huge force for him, help out strongly with the womens vote, and most likely the black vote as well.

    September 6, 2007 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  9. Renee St.Louis

    Oprah isn't trying to buy the election. She sees a canidate who can inspire this country and bring it back to the american people. What is wrong with that.Hey Hillary has Bill she shouldn't be using her husband as experience for herself. All you negative people Get A Life. It is time for change Obama 08

    September 6, 2007 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  10. Wendy, Lexington, KY

    I wouldn't expect Oprah to endorse anyone but Obama. Endorsements by celebrities should not play a role in which candidate one votes for. It's become a very sad time in our country where people have to follow celebrities in regards to which book they read, what candidate they vote for, etc. Why can't people make up their own minds?

    September 6, 2007 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  11. Ron, TX

    Hillary is using Bill Clinton's clout to try and ride her way into the White House. It's nice to see that Obama has an equal footing in the race now! Maybe absent minded Clintonites will start to compare the candidate's statements instead of their backers?

    September 6, 2007 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  12. B. Brooklyn, NY USA

    In my humble opinion. Ms. Winfrey should in fact stay clear of to close an involvment to ANY canidate as it could potentially backfire and hurt her business.

    Fund raising is fair game becoming a spokesperson is forcing to much of your opinion down others throats. She is afterall still just an entertainer.

    B. Brooklyn, NY

    September 6, 2007 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  13. Shantee Webb St.Louis,Mo

    Hey Sheel in Oklahoma are you done with Bill also.Since his wife is using him for her political gains.

    Linda this is reality

    September 6, 2007 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  14. andrew s rostolder hillsdale nj

    beware america, this is an inexperienced man with lots of hype and a wife that should be a dictator of a small country. don't be fooled by that, "i'm an outsider crap". this is an insider in sheeps clothing.

    September 6, 2007 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  15. J. Smith Washington D.C.

    Never supported a candidate before,.....before their was a black candidate that is. This is a ridiculous entry, and an insult to all Americans, of any color. Do you people really believe that she will influence the voters? Please. I think she is a closet racist, and she is showing her true colors. What people should really be asking her is: "Why now, why Obama"? What sets him apart? Once again, you forget about the entire mid-section of this country who couldn't give a rat's behind about who Oprah endorses. Thanks for continuing the on-going dummying-down of America. Long live the Cult of Celebrity!

    September 6, 2007 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  16. Ethel, Harrisburg PA

    Oprah has a large audience listening to her. It will allow Obama to speak to them and answer their questions. It will also allow him to get closer to them to allow them to really get to know him. Then they are able to decision if he will address the issues that affect them.

    September 6, 2007 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  17. Jerry,Tallahassee,FL

    Oprah is evil. I like Obama but Oprah has a swelled head and IS NOT doing this for the people.. she is doing this for OPRAH

    September 6, 2007 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  18. Shelly, Owasso Ok.

    Who's Sheel?

    B. Brooklyn NY I second that!!!

    September 6, 2007 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  19. J Houston, TX

    Let's face it. We now choose Presidents based upon whom is the least horrible. That's how pathetic this elections options are.

    September 6, 2007 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  20. Kelly, Houston, TX

    they are both pro-aborts (Obama and Clinton) I don't support either...

    September 6, 2007 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  21. Loyda, WDC

    "Oprah backing Obama is huge. She will be a huge force for him, help out strongly with the womens vote, and most likely the black vote as well."

    the person that wrote this apparently have never watch Oprah!!!... over 90% of Oprah's audience is WHITE!!!!!

    this is just a big ZZZZZZZZZ.... Obama is getting DESPERATE to break the slump he is right now and is pulling all the stops....

    so sorry Obama, she will NOT help you win.... she have NO political CLOUT and she have been sucking up to the Clintons for a long time..... is very OBVIOUS why is she backing you!!!!!!

    September 6, 2007 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  22. Ron, TX

    >>don't be fooled by that, "i'm an outsider crap". this is an insider in sheeps clothing.

    Posted By andrew s rostolder hillsdale nj : September 6, 2007 11:10 am>>

    Wow. If you really think that's true, I'd hate to see what kind of scathing critique you give about Hillary...

    September 6, 2007 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  23. DPrice Fairfax, VA

    It is very stupid for anyone to think that Oprah's business will be hurt by this. It is not a money issue, she does not need more money. She feels he is the best person for the job and like all Americans she is entitled to support and vote for whom she chooses. Bush is in the White House because of his father and has done a poor job since Day 1. If anything, this should provoke us to look at each candidate and what they could do for the country.

    September 6, 2007 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  24. kebD, Flint, Michigan

    I don't see what all the fuss is about? Oprah just sees what so many other Americans see in Obama:

    A strong, intelligent man who is capable of running our country and repairing the deep damage that this current administration has done.

    I have never been a fan of Oprah but I back her on this! OBAMA 08!!

    September 6, 2007 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  25. Jeff Hertel, Sherwood Ar

    It is a fearful thing to think that an egomanic like Oprah can potentially influence the voting choice of millions of relatively under educated (or uneducated), ill-informed viewers. This is especially sad if Oprah's primary reason for endorsing Obama is because he is black – in that case Oprah's support would be racially motivated. Can you imagine the fall out if a white TV host openly supported Hillary chiefly because of her skin color?

    September 6, 2007 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
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