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. Shawn, Stillwater MN

    Anyone who would support Hillary has there head in the sand anyways. The Clintons have been in Washington for way too long and we were lucky enough to get through his 8 years relatively unscathed, besides our militay which was completely underfunded, at the expense of a "balanced budget." Hillary chooses sides of an issue based on the political climate just like Bill did and is still doing...its actually incredible to think they are still even in the political arena and not laughed and ridiculed out of the picture!! They are both gutless, spineless cowards who will achieve power by any means necessary. Thank God we have Barack to hopefully save the Democrats, but the Clintons are at it again, and despite the speechs, debates, and town meetings I have watched, which have all proven to discredit the Hillary's stances and uplifted Obama's position as the next obvious choice for our President- it seems as if the media and all political analysts have granted Hillary the candidacy already. There cant be that many sheep in this country, can there? ...maybe Oprah will help awaken the Clinton hypnosis this country seems to be under

    September 6, 2007 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  2. Dan Stewart, Haverhill, MA

    Has she watched the debates? He's just not ready!

    September 6, 2007 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  3. james, Minneapolis, MN

    Oprah will give him the one thing that he needs right now.

    NAME RECOGNITION once he has that going for him he will race to the front.

    September 6, 2007 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  4. John T. St. Louis MO

    Wake up America! His last name alone is enough to scare me into not voting for him! Do you really want to put someone with muslim decent who practiced Islam in charge of our country??? The war on terrorism may be on our front doorstep sooner that we think!

    September 6, 2007 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  5. Carl, Dallas, Texas

    Can someone explain to me the difference between people immigrating from Europe pre-civil war times (1840s and 1850s) and the immigrating Mexicans crossing our borders?

    I honestly don't see one, unless we passed a law inbetween then. I'm sure there is, but I honestly have no idea what it is. Someone elighten me on the subject.

    Otherwise, I have no problem with anyone entering this country for the purpose of having a better life.

    Also, the US is the only country in the world without an official language. You can preach english all you want, but it is why various nationalities and cultures from all over the world don't mind coming here.

    1. George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe

    2. Washington, D.C. (granted the first one was in NYC, then moved to Philadelphia)

    3. *** Cheney is the current VP

    4. France

    5. Passed on July 4, 1776... written on July 2, 1776 if memory serves me correctly

    September 6, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. Sherri, Cols, OH

    To REB in S.C.

    You are a Simple Simon and the biggest Fool out there!!!!

    September 6, 2007 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  7. Marty, Orlando Fl

    It's very simple. Oprah is not trying to buy this election, it's imposible any ways. Oprah is really trying to let us get to know Obama a little better. She simply feels that he is the right person for the job. That's all. If I were in her place, I'd do the same thing. Obama '08

    September 6, 2007 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. Cassie, Suwanee, GA

    Who cares who Oprah supports for president; I can make up my own mind. I could care less about Oprah's opinions or any other celebrity opinions for that matter.

    September 6, 2007 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  9. TRAVIS Gloucester City, NJ

    I think that Opera's whole motivation is racial. Opera has already speculated on herself running for president someday, and she would be the first Black Woman as President. So of course she would back either Clinton or Obama so he can be the first Black to pave her way to the "White House" If Obama wasn't Black, Opera would be supporting Clinton for the same reason to help pave her way to the White House. I'm going to now start my campaign against the FAT Talk Show Host, it's time we bring her off her high horse.

    September 6, 2007 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. Sharon, Baltimore, MD

    I support Oprah's right as an American citizen to support the candidate of her choice. She is a kind hearted humanitarian supporting another kind hearted humanitarian. I give the American public the credit they are due when I say they will choose the candidate that they feel best represents their interests.

    September 6, 2007 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  11. Mike, Milwaukee, WI

    Some of you people write the stupidest things. Frist of all how can Oprah be a closet racist if more than 70% of her audience are white women? Secondly, how would an endorsement hurt her buisness? It wouldn;t matter if the woman was endorsing Mike Gravel. She would still be always and forever, on top!

    September 6, 2007 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  12. Stephannie Lewis, Minneapolis, MN

    For all those who are bent on believing that Oprah has political ambitions, why didn't she answer "the call" to make a run for the White House when there was a very public grassroots campaign last year? Why did Oprah's attorneys file an injunction to stop the campaign from gaining momentum, when she could have easily accepted the unofficial nomination and run?

    It is clear that Oprah has absolutley no future sights set on the White House, aside from attending the inaugural ball. She is simply supporting someone that shares her values and vision for America. Isn't that the criteria most Americans use when we cast our vote?

    September 6, 2007 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  13. CJ, Wichita KS

    What does it say about this country when a celeberity endorserment can have so much weight that it will give a presidential canidate a boost in the election process? Are we such lemmings that we would follow the opinions of a celeberity over making an informed decision of our own. Are we really that lazy or apathetic? SHAME ON US!!!!!

    September 6, 2007 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  14. T Graves

    I would like to respond to the comment that calls those of us who watch Oprah "below intelligence". I am college educated and own a large business that I am sure makes an impact on your life. I watch Oprah and donate to her charities. I endorse whom I choose for President, based on what I feel our country needs, not what any celebrity tells me I should do. What sets our country apart is the fact that I can watch what I want on TV, worship where and whom I want, speak when I want and vote for whomever I choose. I can home school my children or send them for free public education. I may not agree with the war in Iraq but I support the men and woman who are there! Obviously some people wanted the same things this country offered, because I look at the names on this blog it is easy to see that allot of ancestors, just like my husbands came to this country looking for the same freedoms.
    So if Oprah chooses to support Obama, good for her, but in this country at least we have the freedom to choose! So who cares who she votes for, lets focus on the important issues, like what he has in store to fix this country, not what their having for dinner at Oprah’s house.

    September 6, 2007 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  15. Dan, Groveland, Il

    My comment to:

    Posted By LINDA KENNEDY KNOXVILLE, TN : September 6, 2007 12:26 pm

    My god! What will I do? I'm white and I can't vote for a white because of that and can't endorse any white either! Give me a break! How pathetic!

    September 6, 2007 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  16. Maria Mitchell, Georgia

    Do not think for one minute just because Oprah Winfrey is backing Barack Obama that I will be running to the polls and voting for Mr. Obama. Yes! Oprah has repeatedly shown her name can sell nearly anything. However, my vote is not for sell.

    September 6, 2007 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  17. kimberly Grand Rapids, Michigan

    Oprah wouldn't sway my thinking toward any one candidate. She hasn't taken a role in any past campaigns (atleast not openly),until Obama. This only leads me to think her views are biased. I like Oprah, but, it won't change my vote.

    As an Independent, I view Clinton as the stronger, experienced, and positive ideas candidate. Obama is a strong Vice Presidential Candidate. The Republican tar and feather machine has taken many dumps on Hillary and she is still standing strong. She is better suited to deflect the arrows of hate that Republicans will be relentless in aiming toward any Democrat, no matter how effective or positive the candidate could be for our country.

    September 6, 2007 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  18. Shannon, New Orleans, LA

    All of these entries just goes to show you where our country stands on the race issue. When a black woman, of power and Oprah is just that, decides to support a black man of power, being Barak Obama, for whatever reason, it's all of a sudden an issue. Oprah Winfrey is not merely an entertainer, she is an educated, well respected, buisness savvy, influential woman and she has every right to voice her support or non support of whomever she chooses. Many high profile celebrities over the years have openly supported political candidates, but now all of sudden it's a problem because Oprah (who happens to be African American) is supporting another African American. She has a voice and a venue to express her support and she has every right to do so.

    And for the person who made the comment "she is JUST an entertainer," what does that mean? Entertainers are not educated, they don't have opinion, they are unable to make an educated decision? The sad part about this country is that MOST Americans have no clue what is going on in America or the world at large. The media influences people's decisions everyday. The fact that over the last decade or so, politicians think it is ok to slander/mud sling negative things about their opponents without EVER ONCE addressing how they intend to improve the current state of affairs, goes to show that we as a people of this "great" nation have failed to remind those that are public servents to us that we hold them to a higher standard! We hold no one accountable for anything anymore. But we all can come out and shout and protest because OPRAH WINFREY decided to be public about supporting Barak Obama.

    It's a sad state of current affairs!

    September 6, 2007 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  19. TC Minneapolis MN

    Wow, Oprah is showing her racism. I would be my life savings she has gotten this involved with any other presidential candidate. Why him?

    September 6, 2007 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  20. Joe Indianapolis IN

    I'm neither a racist or a bigot, but regarding Hillary and Obama's experience and ability to run the country:

    not THAT woman
    not THAT African American

    September 6, 2007 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  21. Erika - Portland, Maine

    "People buy books WHEN SHE TELLS THEM TO. They will watch her shows, and buy her magazines WHEN SHE ASKS THEM TO." Hmmm. No offense to Oprah viewers, but I really hope you folks have minds of your own when it comes to something as important as presidential politics. What has become of this country's voting process when the whole deal can be (significantly?) influenced by one celebrity's endorsement? I can hear it now – "I'm voting for Obama because Oprah likes him!!!" Hot topics and sensitive national issues be damned. Good grief.

    September 6, 2007 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  22. Vince S, Edison, NJ

    I sincerely hope that the only reason Oprah has given Obama her first public endorsement is that he is the first candidate to truly inspire her; having said that, I do not feel that her endorsement will have much affect on voters. While millions love and respect Oprah, I think her audience may be a little insulted by her sudden foray into politics. Several women I have talked to that religiously watch her show, by the books she recommends, and purchase products she has endorsed said they are put off by her endorsement of Obama. Is it that a person's vote is too personal? Is it that we do not want our entertainers professing their political views? I liken it to the feeling one gets at a concert when the singer/entertainer starts bashing Bush. I dislike Bush greatly and even I am insulted by such actions. I paid to watch you sing, not comment on political issues.

    September 6, 2007 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  23. CitizenJ

    Why are people so obsessed with this? Hillary is a nobody without Bill. She would just be another semi-anonymous Senator if Bill were never president. Hell, she may never have been elected Senator if it weren't for him. And she continues to use HIS presidency as evidence of HER experience.

    What's the difference? Lets focus on what the actual candidates say instead of worrying about who is supporting who.

    September 6, 2007 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  24. anna, Baltimore, MD

    I won't honor Oprahs wishes. She is a Phony rich woman. She is not GOD. Does she stand beside Woopy,and like animals being tortured?

    September 6, 2007 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  25. Mike, OHIO

    You go T. Graves well said....

    September 6, 2007 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
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