September 6th, 2007
01:56 PM ET
14 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. Beverly, Cherry Hill, NJ

    Is anyone tired of elections being bought, paid for, and wraped with a bow? Is anyone tired of "others" trying to make up our minds. If it isn't the press trying to sway us then it is the entertainers who use their clout that WE gave them to push their choice on us. Oprah has a right to her choice and so do I but why should her choice be more important or influential than mine. I remember when it wasn't.
    No big shots money is going to help when the person in the White House has to make a life and death decision. Their money is not going to give the President more wisdom. We need the best person for the job not necessarily the one with most influencial friends.

    September 6, 2007 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  2. Frank, Whittier CA

    Who does not love Oprah? She is the Queen of Queens! But I agree with most, her edorsement will have no effect on my choice for the election. I'm already a Clinton supporter but I love Obama too!

    September 6, 2007 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  3. Linda - Albany, NY

    Oprah is just as out of touch with reality as Obama. Unfortunately, there are those who will never see that.

    September 6, 2007 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  4. Lyn, MD

    I find some of these comments amazing.

    I suspect the problem is that she is backing Obama and not Hillary, right Michelle from Va. If she did it would be great. She knows Hillary that is correct...maybe that should tell you something, as far as "she is" concerned which is the better candidate since she knows them personally and calls both friend.

    Secondly, How is she trying to buy the election? What I suspect the Oprah haters don't like is that she can offer Obama a "PLATFORM" (TV, Radio and magazine) to talk to the American people unfiltered by the MSM -a true no media spin zone. It's up to him after that.

    I see no complaints when other people get endorsements from media moguls, govenors, entertainment people etc. and I suspect there would be no complaint if she merely said "I like Obama and endorse him" its just that she has the ability to back it up. I believe Oprah will lay out her beliefs and feelings and tell her audience here is the man...make your own decision after you listen to him.

    September 6, 2007 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  5. Ron, TX

    >>Obama is a nice enough guy, but what is his experience in makig budget decisions, lowering taxes, and lowering crime. He doesn't have ANY experience, other than legislating, which is NOT what a President does.

    Posted By Cary – Lowell, IN : September 6, 2007 11:49 am >>

    Oh my. How do you think taxes get lowers, crime rates drop, and budgets get set? The answer: through legislation... that's the political process...

    September 6, 2007 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  6. Jurgen Schulze, New York, NY

    What a terrifying thought: Oprah Winfrey tells the American public who should be President! I would have thought that she had more common sense than to endorse a candidate who has yet to earn a record of proven leadership.

    September 6, 2007 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  7. Nicole, Chicago, IL

    I don't understand why so many of you are getting angry over the possible impact of Oprah's endorsement. There are plenty of celebrities endorsing candidates and you're not whining about them. Half of you posting these negative comments probably don't even vote yourselves. If you do in fact decide to go to the polls, make your choice and get over yourselves. Oprah may be "an entertainer" but she is not a selfish one. Why is it that the race card is always pulled in this country? Who cares why she chose to endore Obama. Obama would be a great candidate with or without her.

    September 6, 2007 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  8. AG, Los Angeles, CA

    Well, I don't affiliate myself with any political party. I am in my twenties and admire Oprah on many levels. That said I don't think O prah supporting Obama is going to make any diff as to who I'll vote for. Its her decision and I vaalue myself to trust my own judgement as to who I think will make the best president to focus on the needs of the country at this time. I do believe that considering the very big global problems our country faces, this is not the time to choose someone just for their gender of race. I try my best to be informed and have some idea as to what needs to be done and will vote for someone who I think is best suitable to get that done. I am leaning towards the democrats but the gender or race will not be part of my consideration. As far as Obama is concerned I wish I'll be able to know more of what he stands for, I think he's playing too safe so as not to turn people away and I am just sick of people playing it safe. We end up voting not for the person we like the most but the one we dislike the least.

    September 6, 2007 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  9. Manny, CA

    I like Oprah; she’s done lots of good things for people needing help, all over the world.
    I don't have time to watch her show anymore and for someone we’ve watched struggle with a weight problem for years, her magazine is stuffed full of too many skinny models, which I think is strange. Anyway, our country is in crisis and anyone who would let a talk-show host influence their vote in anyway shouldn't be allowed vote.
    Then again, there are a lot of people who are so clueless that I’ve decided we need to have a test to see who should be allowed in the voting booths. Written in ENGLISH, of course. If you’re an American you should be able to answer the following questions: (hint: they don’t have anything to do with Brittany, Paris, Vick or Oprah).

    1. Name the first 5 presidents of the United States, in order.
    2. What is the capital of the United States of America?
    3. What is the name of the CURRENT Vice President?
    4. The Statue of Liberty was a gift to the United States from what country?
    5. What year was the Declaration of Independence written (hint: also known as the birthday of America).

    September 6, 2007 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  10. Farrell

    Oprah has the right as an American to back anyone she choose and by doing so she is not infringing on any ones rights. I am an African American female and democrat and not influenced by anyone and favors Obama, however Mitt Romney is the person of interest to me at this time, I like him.

    September 6, 2007 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  11. xtina chicago IL

    Emotion has nothing to do with voting for the right person for the Presidental nomination. Whether or not you like someone is secondary to who will protect America's soverignty, who will stop earmark spending by Congress and who has experience in making decisions. Most of the candidates (on both Dem and Repub. side) are Senators who have done little more than sit and debate.

    September 6, 2007 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  12. George, Queen Creek Arizona

    Bias! Bias! Bias!. It doesn't make any difference if it is Obama or any other black person. As long as he/she is black that who she would back. Just because she is who she is doest change the bias.

    September 6, 2007 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  13. R.Harper Memphis, Tn

    Oprah backing Obama has nothing to do with the fact that the he is black. And If that statement was true then are you saying that the only reason a white supporter of one of the white canidates, supporting them because they have the same skin color. It can't be because they truely believe in this person and believe they will do what they claim they will do if eleceted to office. I see we still live in a world of racial ingnorance and lack of common sense.

    September 6, 2007 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  14. B. Brooklyn

    To: Nicole, Chicago, IL (and others)...
    This is not about endorment of a candidate. What is potentially going to happen here is she will actually campaign for him. This would be a huge mistake not only for her as an entertainer but for her as a business person.

    Endorsments are great but we must remember these are entertainers NOT politicians.

    September 6, 2007 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  15. Louise - Dallas, Texas

    Oprah, is popular, but generally, their money is what helps the politicians like Obama and she'll give plenty of that. He is going to run a close race but he'll not make it to the finish line. Many voters will think Oprah is putting her hopes in Obama because he's black. Not openingly, but just a fact.
    Personally, I believe this young man, Obama might wait a few years along with getting more experience. I'm tired of having a Presidednt who is totally faking it as a President.

    September 6, 2007 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  16. RuthieM

    Again, the media is creating conflict here where there should be none, for there should only be CHEERS! Instead of treating this as simply another great Obama endorsement in the bank, which it is, it's all being tangled into 'will Oprah's endorsement get Obama to the white house"? She never said it would and neither has he. IT'S AN ENDORSEMENT. Why wasn't the same questioning and prodding asked about and said for all the endorsements Clinton got - 'But will that endorsement get Hillary to the white house?' And the recent union endorsements Edwards got: 'But will the steel union's endorsement get Edwards to the white house?' All those endorsements were immediately just touted as fantastic boosting endorsements to their campaigns, and in all the major news for an entire week after. No negatives there. Yet, why is it when Obama gets an endorsement either it is in so small print SOMEWHERE when one finally stumbles upon it, possibly, and it is turned into a negative, and/or a fight between him and Hillary Clinton, as the news spins it.
    I'm congratulating Obama on another fantastic endorsement, which is what this is, and I so look forward to the many many more jumbo endorsements for Obama because he deserves every single one of 'em!!! Thanks Oprah, you've endorsed the best, the very best candidate!!!! Now, on to the next...

    September 6, 2007 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  17. Josue Romano, Buena Park, CA

    Soon this great Nation will be run by Hollywood stars it kind of reminds me of the fall of the Roman empire when her politics became so coruppted and olmost anyone could be an emperor. Its just a joke and the other nations will just lough at us.

    September 6, 2007 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  18. Dan, Groveland, Il

    Oprah is out to get the black votes and women votes. That's O.K.! I'm a white male and Barack Obama has my vote already! Clinton would have gotten my vote but her pro illegal immigrant stance turned me off completely!

    September 6, 2007 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  19. Shawn Pittsburgh, PA

    Oprah will have little to no effect on this election. She's an entertainer, not a political expert, or someone America should turn to when deciding upon such a critical decision. Can she review books and offer suggestions, yes. Is she a wonderful philanthropist, yes. Do I trust a billonaire to have a real view of the middle class and poor of this country, no. Would I turn to her for judgement on terrorism and war, absolutely not.

    September 6, 2007 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  20. Wahala,cleveland Ohio

    In the past,America used to be feard and respect worldwide.Nowadays,the word America causes laughter and almost synonimous with corruption,greed,oppression,racism,bombs,hurricain katrina(new orleans refugees),monica lewisky,waco(texas),donald rumsfeld,A president telling stories about goats while planes were hitting new york,Clitons presidential pardon for drug barons and fraudster,.How could a people be so naive? Stop recycling old politians and get something new and fresh

    September 6, 2007 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  21. Sherri, COLS, OH

    To Karen in Harrisburg, Pa.

    I think you have lost your mind...there has never been a president of color. I guess you want minorities to continue to elect white men only.

    Guess what some day that is going to change because the population is changing and the minorities are becoming the morjority. Lets see if you can handle that..probably not.

    Maybe that's why so many of you are hoping that you can live on the moon...

    We as black people have had to endure injustice for centuries and now there is a chance for a black man to become president and as usual you people show your racist ways everytime.

    Nothing has changed but it will, with GODS help it will. And in the not so distant future, too.

    I guess the administration we have now is what you want for the future. You all need to pray more!!!

    Oprah has every right to support whom ever she wishes to. For those who will stop watching her program, they were never true fans anyway.

    Do you think this will hurt her, think again. Oprah probably has business ties that you will never, ever know about.

    To Rodriquez in TX, so you are hoping Oprah is gay, well what are you? GOD will judge us all not you or Me.

    People get over this idiotic manic obsession you have with a black woman supporting a black man for president. White people have been sticking with whites for centuries even when they knew it was wrong.

    Read your history, listen to stories your ancestors have passed down.

    Well I gotta go...

    OBAMA in 08!!!

    September 6, 2007 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  22. LINDA KENNEDY KNOXVILLE, TN

    OPRAH SURE JUMPED ON SUPPORT WHEN A BLACK CANDIDATE IS RUNNING, TALK ABOUT RACIAL, SHE SEEMS TO PREFER A BLACK PRESIDENT AS SHE NEVER ENDORSED ANY OTHER CANDIDATE. FOOD FOR THOUGHT. WHY HASN'T SHE ENDORSED A WHITE CANDIDATE? SURE LOOMS OUT

    September 6, 2007 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  23. xtina chicago IL

    Candidates who don't have achievements on which to run, look to dazzle the voters with other methods.

    September 6, 2007 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  24. Len, Scranton PA

    Americans possess a grand passion. And I think we see evidence of that even here, in this small forum.

    Oprah is, of course, entitled to endorse whomever she wishes.

    I, for one, am interested to see what a youthful and intelligent person can do for this country.

    We signed on for eight years of a quintessential "establishment and experience" administration.

    I'm not impressed. Let's get some fresh ideas in Washington. Let's give Barack a shot.

    September 6, 2007 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  25. Reb charleston SC

    Only fool and simple woman will listen to Oprah to vote. I am a woman but not a fool and simple. If Oprah openly help this election then Oprah will not be a same Oprah again.

    September 6, 2007 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
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