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. Micki Santa Clarita CA

    I'm hoping Oprah's involvement will get the American people to really look at the candidates and the party platforms. I would love to have a candidate to vote FOR rather than having to chose between the least of two evils. Now more than ever, our country needs some real leadership and, quite frankly, I don't care if it is a man or woman, black, white or purple with pink polka dots!!

    I will be hoping and praying that we get a real choice and some real action. A previous post listed a lot of the issues that the new President will be dealing with (and hit most of them right on the head)! We must have a change - a change for the better.

    WHO will get us there?

    September 6, 2007 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  2. Brenda, Annapolis MD

    1. We should really attempt to have more faith in our fellow Americans. I find it hard to at times (neither election did I vote for Bush, yet citizens from other countries chastise me as if I had); however, it's important to refrain from being so cynical. Oprah is supporting him because she "knows him personally", which kind of sounds like high school when you vote for your friend for class president just because they're your friend. I doubt Oprah will have as much of an impact as she (or Obama) thinks.

    2. I said "so cynical" in the previous comment. With that, I still chose to remain cynical about the quality of the candidates (Repub or Dem) for president. How disheartening to feel utterly helpless at the lack of quality for the most significant position of our country? What's more, I'm only 23–and I haven't believed in our government for a long time now.

    3. Not a single candidate has expressed their plan for the country in any kind of way but vague. Obama is probably one of the worst at failing to give specifics. Not to mention his actions truly speak for themselves (Remember the debacle with Pakistan? And he hasn't even been elected). How many times is it going to take us to realize, we can't be so forgiving of the people ELECTED to run this country? It's OUR country; WE'RE the ones who need to fix it.

    4.Tapera Bandera, Toronto–Obama is the Nelson Mandela of America? How can you even put both in the same sentence? That is the crudest comparison I've seen in a long time.

    September 6, 2007 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  3. Cary - Lowell IN

    See, no amt. of power is enough for Oprah because she needs power over others to feel self-esteem. This stems from her upbringing. Knowing the President is the closest she can come to political office. She doesn't want to give of her own time to run for office, so she'll piggyback on Obama. He's perfect- he's black, he's vaguely spiritual like her, and he's a blank canvas onto which the masses can project their own image. Obama doesn't stand for anything, so he can be anything to anyone. Oprah is over the top in ego, emotion and feel-good philosophy (not that there's anything wrong with that) and Obama is the perfect vehicle for that. Now, President of the United States, leader of the Free World, I don't think so.

    P.S. Oprah has announced/proclaimed/declared that she is ONLY HAVING ONE candidate on her show. And it's Barack. In other words, she's not open to debate. The case is closed, she's wearing blinders to others' opinions.

    September 6, 2007 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  4. Hilda, Baltimore MD

    First: Oprah can endorse whomever she pleases (afterall, this is still a free country, isn't it?).

    Second: This has nothing to do with race and the sooner Americans get out of that mindset, the better off we will all be. If this were racially-motivated, why did Oprah not endorse Al Sharpton and Carol Moseley Braun when they were running?

    Third: Oprah may JUST be an entertainer, but so were Ronald Reagan and Governator Arnie. Like it or not, she's a pretty powerful lady.

    September 6, 2007 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  5. Lou, Mississippi

    Those who are upset by this endorsement are only angry because Oprah didn't endorse THEIR CANDIDATE.

    Bottom line, the numbers DON'T LIE! Vice President Gore was up on Governor Bush by 10 points, Sept. 16th or there about. He went on Oprah's show, kissed her and the next poll showed Vice President Gore up by only 2 points.

    Oprah has alot of clout with women in general. White, Black, or poka-dot purple. This is a big get for the Obama campaign. The only one left is Vice President, uh, I mean President Gore. And rumors are that he is going to endorse, NOT HILLARY! LOL

    Good job Obama camp.

    September 6, 2007 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  6. Amanda, Chicago IL

    Wow the racism on this message board makes me feel embarrassed to even be a human being. It's so unapologetically racist on here that I am without speech.

    September 6, 2007 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  7. Matt, Albany, GA

    Oprah may be able to raise ALOT of money for Obama.

    Anyone Remember the movie "Waterworld"?

    September 6, 2007 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  8. Tony, Mount Vernon, NY

    With his numbers in the polls slipping and all the major union endorsements going to his competitors even though he claims to be a man of the people, I guess he needs Oprah right about now. However, I don't think it will do him any good. Hollywood tried to get out the vote for Kerry and we all know how that turned out.

    As a journalist though, I find Oprah's endorsement insulting. How can you claim to do honest reporting and openly endorse one candidate or one party over another? Sure, we all have an opinion, but you try to keep that out of your reporting to give the public a more well-rounded picture so they can make up their own minds. Shame on you Oprah!

    September 6, 2007 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  9. Nan, Atlanta, GA

    Oprah's endorsement of Barack Obama will have no impact on his campaign. He will not win! Neither will Hillary, if either of these candidates are the nominee for the Democratic party, the Repulican Party will become energized. Another Republician will be elected in 2008.

    September 6, 2007 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  10. Jerry, Toledo Ohio

    This scares me because there are a lot of uneducated voters out there who would do anything Oprah says without thinking about what is best for the country

    September 6, 2007 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  11. SILANGAN B, FAIRCHILD CHESAPEAKE, VIRGINIA

    GO FOT IT OPRAH, YOU GOT MY VOTE, I WISH MY LUCK TO OBAMA. I TNINK IT IS ABOUT TIME FOR THE NEW FACE.

    September 6, 2007 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  12. kathe Oakland California

    I am sorry but Oprah needs to stick to her white TV shows and Leave Obama and his campaign alone.
    Don't know that you realize it, but some of us don't watch or perform to Oprah's call – even us black women. So now I have two folks who make me want to throw up with their comments: Oprah and Mrs. Edwards. I feel Oprah will hurt Obama's campaign.

    September 6, 2007 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  13. cjones, suburban Chicago

    I have read every single comment here. Wow. The hate. The divisiveness. Both of those things are things Obama has had experience with. I have known him since before he ran for Congress and from my own personal view, we need a man like him leading this severely damaged country. He may make a few mistakes, but he's the only one that has a chance, if there is one, of healing this country first. I know that Oprah sees that as well. What is wrong with her telling her viewers? I am a white woman, over-educated, and will be proud to call Hillary, Pres if that is what happens, but my hopes are with Obama and anyone who still has hope should take a closer look.

    September 6, 2007 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  14. David, Los Angeles, CA

    Hmmm, don't know if this a good thing for Obama yet in terms of demographics. Oprah is admired in the black community for her success, but there is also a huge segment of the black community who feels she is totally out of touch with black culture, especially given her fan base of, let's face it, white housewives who might not ever vote for Obama.

    Also, men in general don't really care for Oprah at all.

    Endorsements and money are good, but I don't think it is in Obama's best interest to have it appear as though Oprah is intimately involved in his campaign. I don't think voters mind voting for Hillary and Bill, but I think they will not be willing to vote for Obama and Oprah.

    It would not be so strange if Oprah had not shied away from politics for so long, and it does beg the question of why, after all these years, is Oprah finally endorsing a candidate? What makes Obama so very different from Edwards, Dean, Gore, Bradley, Bill, Clark, Gov. Wilder, Gov. Brown, McCarthy and all the others?

    September 6, 2007 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  15. Kathe Oakland California

    Before Oprah was saying Hill would be next president – now it is Obama??? Who is this Oprah anyway nothing more than a day time entertainer that is all folks – she is not God she has no great degrees, just a RICH black women. So why did she not endorse Jessie Jackson when he ran – he is a black man too.
    Don't be fooled Obama People – having Oprah on your team is a GREAT BIG MISTAKE!!!! She will bring you down, down, down. It will take more than her monies to get Obama elected and her potential role in his campaign is TROUBLE. She has no political background, she won't even speak up with Imus demeaned those women on basketball team – now she is for Obama???
    WAKE UP AMERICA

    September 6, 2007 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  16. Don, OR

    I really don't care who Oprah endorses. Obama will still not get the nomination. Hillary will get it and most likely become the first female President of the United States. Oprah should be prepared for the blowback though as should Obama – like it or not – dispute it or not – there will be lots of resentment against Oprah for this and that will translate into loss of votes for Obama.

    September 6, 2007 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  17. Adam, Plano, TX

    they are both pro-aborts (Obama and Clinton)…so I don't support either…
    Posted By Kelly, Houston, TX : September 6, 2007 11:24 am

    its called pro choice, not pro abortion. no one is pro abortion. such ignorance or blatant mislabeling is unacceptable in this day and age.

    September 6, 2007 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  18. Barabas, Hot City, TX

    Who's Oprah?

    September 6, 2007 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  19. Lee, NE PA

    This is all about race with Oprah!

    She would go with a woman (Clinton), if Obama wasn't black.

    Stopped watching her years ago...too high and mighty!

    Obama isn't ready!

    September 6, 2007 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  20. GenX, Kansas

    It sickens me the amount of hatred and bigotry spewing from the people on this board. This is why a qualified, intelligent black man could never be elected president at this point – not in this type of diabolical climate. Shame on you Un-Americans. You are not what this country is about! Hopefully this hatred will go with you all to your graves and will not be passed on to my generation, so that we may have a fresh start and bring intelligence back to politics (if it was ever there to begin with)....

    September 6, 2007 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  21. Lou, Mississippi

    Posted By Tony, Mount Vernon, NY :

    Which poll are you looking at? I hope not the Clinton News Network polling.

    Unfortunately, some of the posts on this board are very suspect.

    Polls are the only thing the Clinton's took at. In the words of Dick Morris (the most honest man from the Clinton White House) the Clintons have NEVER met a 60% poll they didn't like. I just heard another Clintonite on MSNNBC say that Hillary Clinton has taken the side of what is best regarding poll. Well, we know she will never be a "Profile in Courage."

    One thing I can say about Pres. Bush he doesn't look at polling numbers to make a decision.

    September 6, 2007 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  22. Grace, NH

    I'm confused...why do all of you Oprah haters and Obama haters care whether she has "blow Back"?

    i think you just want to try to scare her or persuade her not to do it. Well anyone who knows Oprah she doesn't scare easy...she stood up to the cattle industry in TX when they sued her.

    She does not consider herself a jounalist anymore but if she did ...I didn't her anyone complaining when Adra Mitchell from NBC attended a hillary fun raiser..then goes on TV and pretends to cover the race objectively.

    As for money, the women is worth BILLIONS do you think she cares. If she wants to do it she will. She doesn't ever have to work again.

    If you don't want to watch oprah now or later fine, if you don't want to vote for Obama fine...don't. be honest you care because she has the ability to allow him a platform to speak from that you which your candidate had. Espicially those Hillary supporters are GREEN with envy or is it fear that smells. All of a sudden you won't have the MSM running interference with Obama getting his message out and shaping everything in her favor.

    Tell Hillary she needs to start worrying about staying out of jail since she is being sued again tommorrow in CA court over new campaign Finance problems(again). maybe that is why oprah is not supporting her

    September 6, 2007 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  23. William, Chicago IL

    I have read every single comment on here also and I think I'm going to vote for the lady from OK. I want someone like that in the Whitehouse. Hasn't been bought and paid for by PAC and Special Interest Groups. We can start a gressroots campaign for her. I'm on board Shelly, Owasso Ok. How do I get in touch with you?

    September 6, 2007 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  24. pl. at the UN for a while.

    Don from Oregon says:

    "...I really don't care who Oprah endorses. Obama will still not get the nomination. Hillary will get it and most likely become the first female President of the United States. Oprah should be prepared for the blowback though as should Obama – like it or not – dispute it or not – there will be lots of resentment against Oprah for this and that will translate into loss of votes for Obama."

    It seems we are in the reasoned-comments phase. Excellent!

    September 6, 2007 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  25. Max, Dallas, TX

    Ok..ok...I get it. All men hate Oprah, but since this is the very first time she has completely endorsed a candidate, shouldn't we take notice. Granted she'll never be broke, but she has a lot of credability to lose when the women's vote has been so biased towards the conservative campaigns within the last 8 years. She is obviously a very good business woman and sees something very valuable in Mr. Obama. This is a BIG move and we would be stupid to underestimate Ms. Winfrey's capabilities this early in the game.

    September 6, 2007 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
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