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. Tom, Tucson AZ

    Nice try Oprama. Hillary is going to win. The media barely covers him except for a sound byte here or there. Heck, I hear more about Edwards than Obama. So Oprah is the only way he is going to get coverage? This is not even news. She has been touting him for a long time now.

    September 6, 2007 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  2. Luciana Grafford

    Only uneducated, ignorant and gossipy women do what Oprah tells them to do. Educated women do not even watch her trashy show.

    September 6, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  3. Hildegard, New Orleans, Lousiana

    If people in this country are dumb enough to let their votes be swayed by who Oprah or any other celebrity (who don't live in the real world) supports then we should just let George stay another four years and not even bother having an election! Funny that Oprah never came out and supported any other presidential candidate until now that there is a african-american on the ballad. I'm surprised she hasn't run for president herself so she can be the first african american and first woman president! Oh boy, wouldn't that just make the front page of "O" magazine!

    September 6, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  4. Paul TX

    A celebrity black person endorsing a black presidential candidate? I didn't see that one coming.

    September 6, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  5. Kathryn Irby - Metairie, LA

    Just because Oprah may be a supporter of Obama's doesn't mean that he will become the next President of the United States. He doesn't have enough experience to be elected as President, whereas Hillary Rodham Clinton does. Furthermore, Clinton will become the next and First Female President of the United States. Suck it up, Oprah! You won't have your way this time, money or no money!

    September 6, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  6. Pete, Washington, MI

    To all you Hillary supporters out there who are upset that Oprah is endorsing Barack, I'll bet that you would have been THRILLED if she was backing Hillary.

    Nice try!

    Besides, Oprah is an honest person, more that I can say about 'Mr. Hillraiser' Hzu, who has taken off....again. At least we know where we can find Oprah, in front of millions of people, expressing her first amendment right of freedom of speech.
    Go Barack go!!!

    September 6, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  7. xtina chicago IL

    Obama hasn't done anything except raise taxes in Illinois. Now he's trying to move on to the big time so he can raise taxes for the whole country ! Yay!

    September 6, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  8. Michelle Teranhein

    Oprah has shown over and over she is prejudiced against anyone that is not Black. She is only backing Obama not because he is the better candidate, has better experience, or is a better person in general, she is only backing him because he is black. She has never backed a presidential candidate before because they were always white and she is for the blacks.

    September 6, 2007 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  9. sonya, atlanta, ga

    Only person who is a joke is Hillary. Obama 08!

    September 6, 2007 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  10. Annie, Chicago, IL

    Hopefully people will not vote for him because Oprah's backing him up. But if people were to listen to him or even get remotely interested in the election because she is backing him up – that's great. Not enough Americans vote in this country.

    September 6, 2007 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  11. Rodney Dallas TX

    Has anyone watched Mind of Mencia when he does skits about Obama becoming president. They are funny as hell. The other day, Obama turned all the white folks into slaves to get back at us.

    September 6, 2007 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  12. Cary - Lowell, IN

    Shouldn't Barack Obama be out looking for Norman Hsu (pronouced 'shoe') , he of the illegal campaign contributions ?!

    WHERE IS NORMAN HSU?

    September 6, 2007 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  13. nancy, pa

    would Oprah indorse Obama is he was a white jewish guy? Does she agree with all of his visions. What about Hilary. She white but a female.???

    September 6, 2007 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  14. Terrance D. Taylor Sacramento, California

    Honestly I think it is awesome that Oprah is standing up and stepping out to help endorse Obama campagin. Yes I agree Obama may not have all the skills he need but who does these days. Hillary doesnt but what gets her out of trouble is that she has her husband to fall back on. And Obama now have Oprah and others supporters that are quietly helping. Yes America needs a change in a major way and I do believe strongly that racism is still a major issue as well as health care senior citizens and jobs. If your think i'm lying ust read some of these comments what people had to say. So these two power house front runners for the presdiency still have alot to learn from others as well as each other. I don't think in a million and one years that this will hurt Oprah in any way because if she can support one candidate for presidant she can support others don't think for once that other political leaders aren't watching this and saying if she can do for him maybe she can do it for me. A racist no Oprah helps out all races and means it from her heart and I have to be honest I don't watch Oprah but when I do catch a show are two are hear about what she has done for someone are some country I have to be like Ebert and Ropert two thumbs up! So I say Oprah Stay Strong And God Bless And Suppoort who you feel will be a great Presidant because I know I will.

    September 6, 2007 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  15. AB, Seattle, WA

    Why are people so upset over Oprah endorsing Obama? No one says a word when a workers union endorses Edwards or someone else endorses someone else?
    She just 'endorsed' Obama like many other celebrities endorsing other candidates. What's so special about this news?

    September 6, 2007 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  16. JP, Minneapolis, MN

    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.

    I was leaning toward Obama but changed my mind after the Don Imus and Duke La crosse incidents, We need someone with experience. This could backfire on Oprah and fans could turn on her.

    September 6, 2007 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  17. Paul TX

    "Oprah always talks about empowering women. Then, she turns around and backs a man for president when there is a woman running. She doesn't stand by what she preaches."

    Posted By Michelle, Marion, VA : September 6, 2007 11:32 am

    Hey Michelle, she stands by skin color. That's what she's truly all about. Her benefit she did for all her friends.....all black women. Oprah is only about skin color and nothing else. She only tolerates the white women cause they're the ones making her rich.

    September 6, 2007 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  18. Micahel Guinn, Port Hueneme,CA

    Oprah has championed many worth-while causes. To me, there is none more important than seeing Barack Obama in the Oval Office. She came out with her support early-on. I worked for Bill Clinton's election both times- and I'm proud of that- but Barack is the one to bring us back as ONE NATION!

    September 6, 2007 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  19. Taniger NY

    With Oprah solidly behind Obama, Hillary can kiss her bid for the presidency goodbye. For good or bad, Oprah will marshall so much support for Obama that Hillary will be forced to accept the VP position or go home.

    September 6, 2007 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  20. Keith, Chicago

    Xtina – Clinton, Edwards, McCain, Thompson, Biden, Dodd, and most other candidates don't have any executive experience either. Many presidents never had any executive experience before becoming president, including Lincoln and JFK. So please explain to me who you plan to vote for and also explain to me why you need to have executive experience to become a good president. Bush had executive experience – that turned out really well...

    September 6, 2007 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  21. lavelle,rochester,ny

    I don’t know if bill Clinton is running for president or Hillary. It’s funny as to when Obama gets a lil star power. Those who weren’t going to vote for him anyway look at this move as a mistake? Please why do you think so many people look to Oprah for anything? People hate it when you’re on top and Oprah has been on top for such a long time. She is a power house and a force to be reckoned with. Hell Bill Clinton would love to have Oprah's endorsement I mean Hillary.

    September 6, 2007 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  22. Julius

    It's quite disburbing to realize how deeply rooted some people here are divisive in thier assertions. Why should there be a big deal if Oprah is supporting and endorsing Obama? Those of you that said Oprah has been bias and untrue to herself for not endorsing any politican until now still havent gotten it yet! Its not about Black or White thing, its about the difference, about the needed change in the ways politics has been conducted in washington, about the generation that needs new perceptions and ideas that will shore off and reinstate american values in the New World.
    Look, majority of those supporting Obama have never been interested in the politics, but they strongly believe in this guy called Obama now! Oprah just naturally respond to the moment that create change like every other Americans.
    Again why should she be receiving unjust comments from people because she is supporting Obama who happens to be an african-american? Will it have been okay if she endorsed Hillary because she is a WHITE woman? Is being a white celebrate like Speilberg to endorse Hillary and becomes a terribe mistake if Oprah endorses Obama?
    You seem to forget that when Quiency Jones, an african-american, endorsed Hillary clinton among many other blacks, no one thinks it is bad or being racism to receive such endorsement from a prominent black like Jones?
    Answer those questions justly in your mind and truly, you will realize deeply how unjust those speaking ill of Oprah have been!

    September 6, 2007 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  23. Tapera Bandera, Toronto

    I don't remember hearing that Oprah endorsed Al Sharpton. I believe that she has seen the greatness of Obama. Obama is the Nelson Mandela of America. People should listen to the candidates before making up their minds. I hope America won't make the same mistake again as when they voted for Bush. You have to make peace with the world and stop living in fear. I believe that Obama will be able to achieve this. Gone are those times when people had to rule by fear.

    I have never been interested in politics before and have never trusted politicians but I give a considerable amount of trust to Obama.

    September 6, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  24. Shawnie - Grants Pass, OR

    I hope Oprah can stand the embarrassment of going down with the ship.

    September 6, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  25. Looking for Change, Chicago, IL

    Everyone is talking about Obama's "lack of expieriece", look what happened when people voted for candidates with "experience" in 2001, and 2005? Maybe "lack of experience" will do this country some good!

    September 6, 2007 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
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