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. Kaja Virginia Beach, VA

    I have not seen anyone in media who has accuratly represented the hope promise and change I watched Obama bring to Chicago's inner city before his political career. I hope the endorsement from Oprah and the length of time she has known him will help counter balance the unprofessional slights (Osama Obama, Blacks will vote for Clinton, Is Obama black enough) that have frustrated me as a young black woman. He is a great canidate he deserves great endorsements.

    September 6, 2007 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  2. Shelly, Owasso OK.

    I think I'll run. I have no political experience. I have no political connections or influences. I have not run a City, State, or held any office. I am a white female with 3 chilren of my own a 2 step children. My middle child is handicapped. I have experienced poverty, racial divide, predudice, snobbery, discrimination and I don't play the race card. I believe in God and I'm charitable. If your ready for a real change vote for me I'M FIRING EVERYONE IN WASHINGTON.

    September 6, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  3. andrew s rostolder hillsdale nj

    Posted By Ron, TX : September 6, 2007 11:24 am re: insider in sheeps clothing.
    ron, hillary does not pretend to be an outsider. she is as inside as it gets..being up front is important to me. i'm afraid of obama's wife. she has no quams about putting him in place in public....

    September 6, 2007 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  4. Keith, Chicago

    It scares me as too how many racist and ignorant people are out there.

    Many people on here are questioning Oprah for endorsing Obama because they are both black...and some are even going as far as accusing her of being racist. I guess that means that any time a white person endorses a white candidate, that they are racist too?

    Also, many people are claiming that Obama is the first black candidate for president...ever hear of Jesse Jackson, Alan Keyes, Al Sharpton, Carol Mosley-Braun? Oprah never endorsed any of those candidates.

    To anyone with even a modicum of intelligence, they would realize that Oprah has endorsed Obama because they have a close relationship from working together for many years in the Chicago community...and that she is very well aware of his extraordinary intelligence (went to Columbia and Harvard law), his extremely unselfish and caring nature (passed up many ridiculously high-paying jobs in NYC to become a civil-rights lawyer in Chicago for MUCH lower pay), his committment to helping others, and his enormous degree of integrity.

    Not to mention, he has by far the best ideas of any presidential candidate...he has the best plan for universal healthcare (and the best strategy for getting it passed), his diplomatic approach to foreign policy is a huge improvement over the current administration or Clinton's proposed policies, his plans to reduce the power that special interests hold in Washington by making a lot of things much more transparent, and his sound judgment in issues such as Iraq – where he voiced his opposition to the war from the onset, whereas Clinton, Edwards, and almost every other candidate gave Bush a blank check to start the war.

    September 6, 2007 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  5. Wendy from Florida

    The rest of the world thinks we Americans are very superficial. Otherwise, we won't vote to have our current president in power. Since when inexperience became a virtue in this country? If someone is inexperienced, he/she can say I have a new approach. I am trying to bring change to your company or organization! Sound naïve? This is exactly what we are doing for selecting the most important person—the president of our country!

    The reason Obama repeatedly brag about his opposition of war in Iraq long time ago (five years is a long time, considering the longest time a president can serve is only eight years) is because he has nothing else to talk about!! Does he have any accomplishment to talk about? Did he introduce any bills in the US senate (State senate does not qualify him as the leader of the United State of America) that have been past? Has he been a leader in any legislation in the congress?
    He is already the least experienced and least knowledgeable among all running. After eight years of an administration that does not know anything about policy, 2008 will be the last chance for US to correct its course if it has any hope to be among the top five strongest countries in the world in next decade. Electing another inexperienced person like Obama, US will have no chance to comeback later.

    Obama is an inspirational speaker but has zero qualification as our leader. If we really vote such a man into white house, it really tells how low our national intelligence is after eight years of a dumbest president we have ever elected.

    Opera has been telling people she supports women but forgets about it once someone in her own skin comes along. Now I have to choose between believing that either Opera is a racists or that she is really dump when it comes to important issues. She has mouth to talk but no brain to think.

    September 6, 2007 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  6. Bonnie O.

    Barack Obama will have my vote regardless of who endorses him. I don't think it's Oprah's intention to sway the vote towards Obama but simply to use her visibility to let him put forth his views. He can make a difference in this country. I support Oprah's decision.

    September 6, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  7. N. Wyatt Tennessee

    Who cares who Oprah endorses. It won't influence who I vote for. I resent the comment that all people watching her are uneducated. I am a woman who is educated, has a nursing degree and I do watch Oprah at times. She has shows I find interesting at times. Like Global Warming and healthcare issues. I usually watch depending on the subject. I don't know how I'm voting yet. It won't be based on anyone else's vote.It will soley depend on the illegal immigration that is hurting us in healthcare and economy wise and on the global warming issues we need to address. So far I haven't found any canidate that I am sure on. I don't care about what party they are from just about the issues.

    September 6, 2007 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  8. Dee Tee Gee Arlington, TX

    Oprah is about to learn the same lesson that O.J. Simpson & Michael Vick learned. The lesson is that the white people are about to remind Oprah that despite how rich, famous & powerful she is, she's still black, & when push comes to shove, she will get treated as such & if she hooks her truck to the Obama train, the shoving will begin. These are the same white people who would swear to God they aren't racist. But what other problem would they have with Oprah backing Obama? Had she announced she was backing Hillary, white people would be happy & the black folks would be mad at her. But let's be real. Oprah is where she is because of the following she has with white women, and it sounds as if these women don't want a black president. Moral of this story; Never forget you're black in America. It's very painful when white people remind you of that. They put her on that pedestal & they would love to knock her off of it.

    September 6, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  9. Mia, Stafford, VA

    People get a GRIP. Oprah just like you and me can endorse anyone she wants. The difference is, her endorsement is heard world wide, and our endorsement is among our friends, family and peers.

    Stop being so darn judgemental. If she wants to use her star status that's her choice, and it is each individual person's choice to vote for whom they please!

    September 6, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  10. Walt, Belton, TX

    If Oprah's endorsing Obama, then she's made my selection that much easier. If I can't stand her, I obviously can't support him.

    September 6, 2007 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  11. andrew s rostolder hillsdale nj

    oprah, you really blew it this time. it looks like you started a racial thing. you have never endorsed any one before.when you do come out for someone, the guy just happens to be black,hmmmmmmm. if obama is smart enough to be president he will distance himself from you and this situation.

    September 6, 2007 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  12. The ReadyWriter

    Oprah doesn't persuade my vote at all but I'm still supporting OBAMA for change! The Clinton's are just down right greedy, they've had their chance.

    September 6, 2007 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  13. Nancy Keosathit - Philadelphia, PA

    Oprah viewers ARE uneducated boobs who twisting and distorting the process simply because Oprah – who is an unqualified authority on virtually every topic (except how to profit as an entertainment/media mogul), says to go vote for Obama.

    I don't care if she backed Obama because he's black, or a Democrat, or because he dresses or sounds so nice. It's just another uninformed opinion that she spews to her all-too-eager dummy audience that they will inevitably lap up and obey. The candidate could've been Hillary or Fred Thompson – just as worthless as her book club endorsements or anti-beef propaganda.

    September 6, 2007 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  14. Justine

    I think Oprah is one of the most influential figures in entertainment but Obama had my vote prior to this huge endosement.
    It was just reassuring to hear Oprah speak so highly of Barack even before he was ever involved in politics. It was reassuring in knowing that Barack is not merely smiling for the camera. This man is actually who he said he is!!!

    September 6, 2007 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  15. Aunty

    Yea But is Oprah Black Enough?

    September 6, 2007 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  16. Herman Glenn, Chicago, IL

    I like Oprah and watch her show as often as I can. I also like Senator Obama and voted for him when he ran for U.S. Senate; however, I believe at this time in our lives what our country needs is someone who can take charge on day one without learning on the job, which is why I'm voting for Senator Hillary Clinton. No offense to either Oprah or Barack, but experience does make a difference to me. We've already seen what the effects of lack of experience has done to this country.

    September 6, 2007 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  17. T-B Minneapolis MN

    Complete CIRCUS! Vote REPUBLICAN!

    September 6, 2007 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  18. CWS, Washington, DC

    I firmly believe she is only backing Barack because he is black. This isn't Oprah's Book Club people, this is a Presidential Election.

    September 6, 2007 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  19. Pat, Huntington Station, NY

    Oprah's so fat, she'ld be visible in any campaign, from space!

    September 6, 2007 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  20. Martin Covich, Tampa, FL

    First I want to say I love Oprah – she’s an amazing individual with an amazing life story. I respect her and admire her courage and her ability to make positive change. However – Oprah – Girlfriend – you know and I know Senator Obama is not ready to be President. I think he’s on the right path – but he is lacking some very important credentials. What he needs to do the job and the job well can’t be learned as you go. He has to be ready and he needs to get a little more experience under his belt. Now Oprah you wouldn’t the new guy at the Mercedes dealership working on your Benz when you take it in because the engine light is on – oh no you want the best and most experience mechanic they have. Obama for 2016 you have my vote – but for now I need to choose the more experience mechanic who just happens to be a woman.

    September 6, 2007 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  21. JWH

    Obama all the way!

    September 6, 2007 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  22. Kingofthe world, NC

    Go away Oprah. The world is tired of your biased views.

    September 6, 2007 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  23. m, austin, tx

    J Smith, your right on the money! lord help us all!

    September 6, 2007 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  24. Diamond, Bradenton, FL

    First, to claim you would not vote Obama because he was endorsed by Oprah is a LIE! LIE! LIE!
    The reverse is more likely to be true.

    Second, Oprah is not seeking favors from Obama or repaying him for favors traded. Besides he's trailing Hillary in the polls and endorsing him is seems like a risky thing to do. That's why Oprah's endorsement is more genuine.

    That's why her endorsement is as good as a victory for Obama and people know it. If she had endorsed Hillary, this election would've been over.

    September 6, 2007 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  25. Not a Lemming, Glastonbury CT

    If we vote for Obama will we get a box of Oprah's favorite croissants and a car!?!?!? Will the polls will be filled with hysterical screaming tearful women hoping to vote the same way as their "heroine"? I hope that America is intelligent enough to see that Oprah's REAL "favorite thing" is Oprah...she got coverage on CNN for endorsing Obama, didn't she?

    September 6, 2007 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
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