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. John Wilson Racine, WI

    For all of you buffons who say, Oprah can back anyone she is still a free country, isn't it?" NO! And it hasn't been a free country for a good long time now!
    Your pool of choices are a few millionaires and a few other would be millionaires...How is that free?
    You languish in your illusion that you have a CHOICE?
    When everyone in AMERICA can afford to spend 500 – 800 million dollars on an election, you will have a CHOICE!
    Until that time, just realize that your only LIMITED CHOICE is among a few millionaires or would be millionaires whom other millionaires have put up for you to vote on...

    September 6, 2007 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. Tony, Dallas TX

    Too much racist hatred in this post. What is the matter with you people?. Is this what America is turning to be?. Those people who are spitting venom because of this endorsement are racists at best. How come no one raised any such questions when Madamme DC endorsed Clinton, or Steven Spielberg for that matter. What is the difference?. These posts also smell of sheer envy for this endorsement pick up by Barack. Shame on you people and grow up. Think how much you are poisoning the country with such utterances. May the mature stand up please!!

    September 6, 2007 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. Maria, Houston

    Any day I'd rather see celebrities bringing attention to politics and important causes than mainstream media bringing attention to Paris Hilton & co. I don't have time to watch Oprah show, but she is making thoughtful and compassionate choices and this is just one more example. And for those who belittle her endorsment I'd like to remind you that Barack Obama , "the inexperienced candidate", is endorsed by Zbygniew Brzezinski, highly respected former US National Security Advisor (called also Democratic equivalent of Henry Kissinger)who praised his qualities and abilities in comparison to specifically Hillary Clinton. And BTW, another great Obama supporter is George Clooney, (the white guy), so could it be that those speculations about " Vast Black Conspiracy" are unfounded? :-)Its all about Integrity, Vision and Conviction, folks, that's what true leaders are made of and Barack Obama has it.

    September 6, 2007 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  4. Al, KS

    Some of you need to get over your racial bias. Learn to be color blind...and assume that others are as well. There is absolutly no evidence that anyone is backing someone because of race or gender. There are all sorts of celebrities and politicians out there that have cast their lot with one candidate or another. Some are white, some are black, some are female, some are male. It's just not right to assume that you can speak for what motivates another human being.

    September 6, 2007 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  5. PR, Dallas, Tx

    Endorsing do not win elections. It's something more subtle, "MONEY" Money buys presidencies. I have been voting for almost 50 years now. I will dare make a prediction. Neither Mrs. Clinton, nor Mr Obama I think stand a chance. I hope I am wrong, but I don't think this great nation of ours is ready to vote into office neither a woman, nor a member of "minority". Again, I hope I am wrong. I would like to see that happen in my lifetime. I expect a male Caucasian to win.

    September 6, 2007 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  6. A Smith, suburban Houston, TX

    You didn't get the memo?

    Unfortunately, some peole's disdain with Oprah supporting someone has everything to do with a powerful black woman supporting a HALF black male. In Amerikkka, blacks aren't supposed to be seen supporting, endorsing, financially backing each other in public site because it will upset some whites who will claim anything but thier own prejudice and white priveledge superiority issues.

    As AA, we are only supposed to kill each other and tear each other down. The racially charged and ignorant comments on this site is why I don't bother with CNN's blogs as much anymore.
    I prefer posters who have more than 10 brain cells like the folks at dailykos dot com.

    For the record, GO OBAMA!!!!! 🙂

    September 6, 2007 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  7. Georgia

    Two things Obama has in common:

    1. cockiness

    2. What eye are you looking at?

    One things I have in common with Oprah and Obama: "I can't stand either one of them"

    September 6, 2007 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  8. KD, Dallas, TX

    Some of these responses are so narrow minded. To say that Oprah is only endorsing Obama because he is black? I happen to think he is rather remarkable as well and I am white, well educated masters degree, 48. I research the candidates to know what they stand for. I see Oprah doing the same. Rarely has someone come along that has the passion and intuition to be a leader like Obama does. Those that think HIllary has more experience really need to write down what she has done, compare it to Obama and rethink their "bandwagon" stand. Hillary has been selling that campaign and it just isn't true. In all honestly, I have voted democratic for quite some time (I never voted for Bush). However, if Hillary were to run against Romney, I would vote for Romney over Clinton for sure. Hillary to me represents what is wrong with our government.

    September 6, 2007 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  9. AT, San Francisco, CA

    Guess Obama may become a VP.

    September 6, 2007 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  10. Jamal. Tulsa, OK

    This talk about Oprah is an insult to black people. Stop it now! White people don't own us. Black people can endorse whoever they please or feel is more qualified.

    Quincy Jones and Maya Angelou (black people whom I admire) have endorsed Hillary Clinton.

    Oprah Winfrey (a black woman I admire very much) has endorsed Barack Obama. Why are Hillary supporters being disingenuous about this?

    I can understand why you feel threatened (and you should be), but I think you're doing your candidate a disservice and black voters are paying attention.

    September 6, 2007 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  11. Jamal

    Good point, KD, Dallas, TX.

    September 6, 2007 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  12. Carrington Ward, Queens NY

    An awful lot of white folks saying Oprah must be endorsing Obama because he's black.

    They're probably the same folks who wonder "why all the black kids sit together in the cafeteria?" without stopping to think that the white kids sit together too.

    But, ok, it's a reasonable point; Bill Clinton may have endorse Hillary just because she's white.

    September 6, 2007 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  13. Carrington Ward, Queens NY

    "I'm afraid if Obama is elected the likes of Al Sharpton would have a direct line to the white house, this would be a complete circus."

    Em... doubtful. Sharpton hasn't endorsed Obama. It might be a worry for some that Paul Hodes (NH) and the entire Vermont delegation have likely earned themselves a 'line to the white house' with their early and whole-hearted endorsement. But, you might say, that's a Holstein of a different color.

    September 6, 2007 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  14. Lance in Monrovia, CA

    To Kimbrlyton, who in the post immediately above just said a "great guy like Obama could never get elected because he is black. Why, my son just got called the N word…"

    I am young, I'm white, and I've never in my life taken more than a casual glance at the political pages of CNN or another media outlet before, much less gotten involved in a campaign.

    I could give a rats ass what color Barack Obama is. He has inspired me in a way no politician of my generation ever has. He has blasted a ray of light over the darkness that is American fear, oppression and hatred and called us back home again, back home to a country where anything actually IS possible. Where anyone can make a difference. Where we actually can take charge of our country again and make it whole, actually make our souls whole again by picking our leader for a change instead of letting him be picked for us, by actually standing up and saying, "enough. YOU OUT THERE will not dictate my fate any longer."

    I had a conversation with an older black woman at work the other day about Obama.

    She likes him, but didn't support him, even though her sister was supposedly working her ass off for his campaign in L.A. This woman preferred Hillary, and she said the exact same thing you just said… "America is too racist to let such a great black man get elected."

    She also added she felt something bad would befall him if he did manage to get the job.

    I told her that she's right only when she says that racists won't vote for Obama. They may give him lip service, but when voting time comes, they'll stay home with their heads hung in shame. Or maybe they'll vote another way once alone with their bigoted views. Alone. Unheard. A legend in their own minds. Is that the majority of this nation?

    No. It's what gives meaning to the word, "minority."

    Those sad people, those closeted racists you speak of… they can NEVER overtake the good heart that is the center of this still great nation of ours. We are a nation of ideas, not color. For every one of them that stays at home, alone, wrought by their own fears and the propaganda of others, ten more people who've never even thought about politics before, people like myself, will get excited enough about Barack Obama and his war, his war of IDEAS, to not only vote but bring a car load of others to vote as well.

    From what I've seen they'll be ALL colors. They'll come in busses, in vans, on bikes. They'll wait in the rain at precincts that have broken voting machines and they'll refuse to go home even if it means they could lose their jobs. They'll work until five o clock and call undecided voters until nine when they have to go to bed again. They'll actually start caring about this country in a way maybe they only saw through the prism of their childhoods, if ever.

    The American innocence that they once felt lost forever, they'll discover again, one by one, as they realize motion is perpetual and never too late. And once the foundation is built, it will be built upon until the backward thinking minority you so worry about is comfortably in the back of the bus, finally and for good.

    The neocons and their ilk will toss voter registrations out by the bushel, they'll pour provisional ballots and voter I.D.s like water on fire.
    But like brave soldiers before machine guns, people will keep coming. Brand new voters right along old ones will refill the bucket again and again, with more and more enthusiasm, until the well overflows.

    Because, for once, they'll care. don't you see that? They'll really, truly start to take charge of the government of this country and when that happens, not bigots, not neocons, not fear mongers, nobody but nobody will be able to prevent the election of Senator Barack Obama.

    And don't you think Obama knows the stakes? As my friend at work pointed out, don't you think he knows that by putting himself in such a position as the first viable black candidate for president in U.S. history he is putting not only his life but that of his family at risk?

    The woman I spoke to Obama with, well, she left a bit less ready to say that Obama could never do it. She's going with her sister the next time she attends an event. She's still undecided, but at least her ears are open and so are her eyes.

    Only you can count yourself out. Nobody else but. You cannot suppress what WILL NOT BE SUPRESSED.

    Many people have ideas. Many people have facts, figures and smarts. Yet, only one person in a generation can inspire the sort of passion that can actually accomplish real change.
    Barack Obama is that person.

    He is the next president of the United States, but only after we get off our asses and even off these boards and into the real world where we can make it happen.

    The greatest fear is always within.

    Obama 08

    September 6, 2007 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  15. Renee St.Louis

    Hillary is a fraud! What does Oprah's endorsement have to do with Obama being black.
    Edwards have Union votes and so does Hillary and Dodd oh b/c they are white.
    Let's don't bring this down to race

    September 6, 2007 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  16. treate , winston- salem

    Exsqueeze me ! Who is being divisive when Oprah will not let ANY OTHER CANDIDATE come on her show ?! How elitist, how exclusive of her! How un-American to hold up her hand in front of others' faces.

    September 6, 2007 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  17. Pepe- a citizen of the world

    Could it be that Oprah knows Barack on a personal level, since they have been friends for nearly 10 years?

    And what if Barack was white and Hillary was black, would her endorsement of Barack causes as much commotion among her overwhelming white audience?

    You folks are hypocrites!
    America hasn't progressed a damn bit!

    September 6, 2007 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  18. RightyTighty

    Oprah is going up against the white establishment. No way the Clintons, Soros and Turners of this world are going to let her beat them.

    September 6, 2007 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  19. Trinough Tangen-Donnelly, New Bedford, MA

    Oprah's endorsement of Obama is absolutely wonderful. She is attracting much needed attention to Barack Obama and what he stands for. He should be our president and I am overjoyed at her outright in your face support of him, he deserves it and I hope to god he is elected. Anyone who meets him and feels his energy will know that he is good for us. I agree with his plans and think more people should be aware of his plan for the presidency, she is intriguing people, her fans will want to know who she is so sure of, they will go and find out. She is using her power for the greater good to educate us about how wonderful this man is! He is someone to believe in, he is a miracle, he has never put anyone candidate down one time as every other candidate has done, Barack is a positive force. He is infectious, and we need him.

    September 6, 2007 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  20. Arthur, Immokalee, Florida

    Why is it so difficult for people to just accept someone being an American considering the dire of the American Constitution?

    Reading comments against Oprah's decision to support Obama really makes feel like the founding fathers only wasted their lives. We are so far away from living the real America values. Bill is supporting Hillary, no problem. Oprah is supporting Obama, that is racist.

    What happened to freedom of rights, justice and the pursuit of happiness? Please, let me know when you find out.

    September 6, 2007 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  21. Adam, Plano, TX

    Exsqueeze me ! Who is being divisive when Oprah will not let ANY OTHER CANDIDATE come on her show ?! How elitist, how exclusive of her! How un-American to hold up her hand in front of others' faces.
    Posted By treate , winston- salem : September 6, 2007 7:31 pm

    are you kidding? she had bill clinton on just the other day.

    September 6, 2007 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  22. seam, philly, PA

    Some people read WAY too much into endorsements. You are not suppose to like or dislike a candidate just because of an endorsement he/she receives. Get real!

    September 6, 2007 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  23. Se

    A lot of people on these blogs talk so much crap that they normally would not say in public or in face to face interactions. Most of you people are fake and hide behind online texting.

    September 6, 2007 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  24. las vegas nv

    all those who say that oprahs endorsement is racist u need to have your heard examined, three very prominent blacks are endorsing hillary . quancy jones, magic johnson and the one and only al sharpton. they would be throwing a huge party for the clitons on the 14 of sept. check your facts people,ol well this is america facts dont mean any thing

    September 6, 2007 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  25. Wendy

    To : monica, rochester NY :

    The poll you cited did not say Obama got more vote from educaqted people. Obama and Hillary Clinton split the votes from educated people but Clinton has more support
    from low income people because of her records
    of helping people in low income level.


    September 6, 2007 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
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