September 13th, 2007
02:29 PM ET
16 years ago

Obama: Oprah interested in campaigning

Obama said Thursday Oprah may stump for him on the trail.

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said in a TV interview here Thursday that having Oprah Winfrey in South Carolina "would be a lot of fun for everyone," and added the popular television host has expressed interest in hitting the stump.

In the interview with South Carolina's ETV, Obama also called Oprah and and his wife Michelle "two powerhouse women."

Oprah is supporting Obama's presidential bid, and hosted a lavish fundraiser for the senator from Illinois at her estate in Montecito, California, last weekend.

Asked if Oprah would come stump for him in this crucial early primary state, Obama said: "I can't make promises, but I know that she has expressed an interest in South Carolina and maybe we can pull that ... Certainly it would be a lot of fun for everyone."

Obama did the interview by phone from Iowa.

Why would Oprah's presence here matter? Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton are battling to win over African-American women voters in this state, and a new poll from ETV and Winthrop University that will be released tonight shows Obama and Clinton dead even among African-American women.

"The real tipping point in the Democratic primary election may be undecided African-American female voters-there are many more African-American female undecideds than males," Winthrop University political scientist Scott Huffmon said in a news release.

- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

soundoff (87 Responses)
  1. Independent Voter, TN

    I never have understood why anyone cares about what Oprah thinks. This pied piper mentality is scary. If people can't figure out why they would vote for someone without celebrities (who don't live in the real world, anyway) telling them who to vote for, that speaks volumes about the intellect of the electorate.

    September 13, 2007 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  2. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    If our enemy's enemy is our friend, I guess Oafrah is bad for Shrillary and therefore good for an electable like Edwards. You go, girlfriend, word up, and the like.

    September 13, 2007 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  3. Kate, Woodland Hills CA

    My own personal opinion is Oprah is supporing Obama based on the color of his skin and not his politics or what he plans on doing to get the country back to its great standing. I think it would be amazing to have a president who isn't white old and rich but don't just vote on the first alternative simply because of the alternative.

    September 13, 2007 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  4. Lynn, Reno NV

    Every campaign has their endorsements and experts and celebrities. Bill Clinton is Hillary's celeb. Oprah is Obama's. That is just the way it goes. It draws media attention so the candidate's message gets out and of course political choices are more emotional than cerebral, so it helps voters to make the emotional connection to the candidate. That is just a fact of human nature.

    September 13, 2007 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  5. Loyda, WDC


    1. why should anybody care about Oprah, other that the super desperate Obama??? he is so blind-sided by her stardom he has not figure out that she will probably alienate black woman, because Oprah caters to white woman (if you don't believe me, watch the audience on her shows!!!)

    2. why is Oprah risking a fall out from non-politically inclined audience, or even republican audience, taking a bigger roll in the campaing with ONE candidate...???? after all, this are just the semi-finals!!! is he so weak she can not risk it????

    September 13, 2007 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  6. John, Erie PA

    Senator Obama is the only viable Democrat who showed the right judgement about George Bush's war in Iraq.

    Defeating a former first lady will be a tough challenge, but he has impressive resources to get his message out- especially after raising the most amount of money than any candidate of either party, mostly through small donations from thousands of Americans.

    The support of popular personalities like Oprah as well as more serious endorsements from veteran politicians like Tom Daschle and former Clinton cabinet members could have the power to influence the famously unpredictable early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire.

    I'm so happy that the Democratic nomination will not be a coronation.

    September 13, 2007 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  7. Josue Romano, Buena Park, CA

    Who is Hopra! Oprah!

    September 13, 2007 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  8. C. Bruno, Austin, TX

    If not for Obama, she would be campaigning for Hillary. Let us remember this is not a book club. "Facts" were not checked and we know what happened with that. Americans should not be hearded to the polls by "celebrities". We should follow our own conscience and live with the consequence.

    September 13, 2007 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  9. sandy, houston, texas

    god help us all

    September 13, 2007 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  10. John D. Los Angeles, CA

    There is consistent evidence that when Oprah pushes too hard, the "Oprah effect" turns to backlash. (See "Beloved" box office flop.) Mr. Obama should limit her exposure. A presidential campaign is not the same as a "book club". Viewers willingness to buy a paperback and be part of the "club," based on Oprah's recommendation, is very different from voting for the leader of the free world and protector of US national interests.

    September 13, 2007 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  11. Carl

    OK Everybody, get up, clap 'yo hands and head on down to the voting booths like a bunch a blind sheep lead by the self proclaimed political wizzards...
    a talk-show big mouth and an inexperienced incompetent political joke.

    September 13, 2007 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  12. truthtopower, NY,NY

    Certainly hope the people of SC wake up soon. Democrats supporting Hillary
    and Obama??? Oprah's lead can also blow up, remember the recommended book, that was a biography, turned out
    to be fiction. Well that's what people will get with Obama, he is simply not
    a geniune candidate. Vote for an honest and geniune candidate, vote for
    John Edwards, he cares the about the poor people of color in that state, and really understands your pain(like
    Bill Clinton use to say). Were things
    better for people of color when Bill
    occupied the White House, Hillary isn't
    going to improve anything, it will the
    status quo. Republicans supporting
    Rudy the fake hero of 9/11, who's pro-
    choice and pro gay rights? Since when
    did the religious South Carolina Republicans accept someone, who doesn't stand for their family values.
    Shame on SC Republicans, who claim their family values are above anyone

    September 13, 2007 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  13. Josh, Clearwater, Florida

    What is this obsession with Obama? Does anyone really know what this guy stands for? All they see is some charming, well spoken black(half black actually) guy. He hasn't shown us anything that makes him qualified to be our leader. Being handsome and well spoken ain't enough Barack. But hey, in this country, it's all about Style over Substance.

    September 13, 2007 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  14. jimmy, westlake village california

    Obama made a big mistake by hooking up with oprah.
    He doesn't seem to realize that the change we want in politics is exactly the opposite of what oprah represents.
    We don't want big business influencing our politicians and we don't want show business personalities either.
    She is superficial and narcissistic. Like most celebrities, they start taking themselves too seriously and think they can run the country better than anyone else.
    Barack got caught up in the hype celebrities and it is going to cost him. I wouldn't vote for him now.
    He should have had the guts to say, Thank you for your contribution, but spending a lot of time with you is not in the best interest of the people I am wanting to represent.
    Remember, if she has 20 million people watching her show, that means 280 million are NOT. She is not that powerful except in money.

    September 13, 2007 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  15. dm

    I can't stand Oprah or Obama and would not vote for him no matter what

    September 13, 2007 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  16. Columbia, SOUTH CAROLINA

    Obama DOES need a female stump-mate, since his spouse doesn't have the where-with-all for campaigning. She can't even do a simple interview without saying something rediculous like "he is stinky in the morning, so the kids crawl in my side of the bed".

    Leave the spouse at home, Obama, and let Oprah stand in as your campaigning helper. John has Elizabeth, and the HILLarious HILLarian has Bill.

    Oprah couldn't do anything BUT help, especially here in SC. African-Americans here are 30% of the population, but there are MANY MANY that don't vote.

    Oprah's stumping in SC, would certainly energize the African-American voters, and women in general.

    This is a GOOD THING. If Obama can take a couple of the early states, we might just have a chance to get rid of Hillary, so the Democrats can WIN in '08.

    Go Oprah !! GO OBAMA !!

    September 13, 2007 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  17. Kara, New York, New York

    I can't stand Oprah honestly. It amazes me how suburban white soccer moms seem to be willing to follow this woman into hell. I swear she has her own church. The Church of Oprah. They'd vote for Satan if Oprah told them to. "Do it because Oprah said so!" Right white soccer moms?

    September 13, 2007 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  18. Michael Bryson

    Not sure if Obama is going for the black or women's vote here. It dosn't really matter because Obama does not have the political experience to be the next president. Bush didn't either and we all have seen how that turned out!

    September 13, 2007 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  19. Dom

    Senator Obama makes sense.

    I just wish I was an American citizen. He would have my vote.

    Good luck Senator. America needs a leader like you and so do we in the rest of the world.

    God's speed.

    September 13, 2007 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  20. Maria, Houston

    Among Democrats Hillary Clinton greatly benefits from wide-spread recognition of her name and support for her husband, family connections, former presidential advisors and especially popularity of the former president among media,who drummed her "inevitability" and Democratic nomination before she even entered the race. In this sense Barack Obama is the underdog still unknown to many. Yet, he already generates huge and enthusiastic crowds. The more people get to know him, the more they seem to appreciate him and his message. If Oprah uses her resources to introduce and promote him to her audience, that just levels the playfield a bit. "Clinton political machine" is well known just like "Bush political machine"... So go Barack and good for you!

    September 13, 2007 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  21. Mia, Stafford, VA

    Jeff from Arlington – what are you implying with "you go girlfriend, word up and the like?"

    Kate – what do you base that opinion on? Do you know Oprah better than she knows herself? If a white person supports Hillary or Ron Paul, is it because they are white, maybe, but not usually. I don't know Oprah personally, but based on her actions and what I've seen from her the past 20 years, I definitely don't think she is for Obama because he is black. She is not that shallow.

    Oprah like you and me can pick who she pleases, the only difference is she has a bigger platform to share her opinion.

    Oprah isn't risking anything, if he doesn't win, then that is America's choice, and I'm sure Oprah understands that.

    September 13, 2007 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  22. RuthieM

    Yippie yippie yippie! The more campaign support the merrier. I mean it's another great one stumping for Obama, not to mention her name is - Oprah Winfrey. This is fantastic. Every candidate out there has someone(s) supporting them, so why not Oprah? She's American, she has a voice, she has a vote, she's for Barack!

    September 13, 2007 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  23. Michael James -- Illinois

    I have never understood why so many people posting comments around here don't like Oprah and/or don’t like the fact she’s backing Barack Obama.

    Oprah certainly should have the right to advocate for her candidate of choice, just like the rest of us. I think most people are certainly capable of figuring out whom to support without celebrity endorsements. However, what’s wrong with speaking to your audience about issues that matter to them? They obviously are interested, otherwise they wouldn’t be fans.

    I think endorsements from public figures, including celebrities, are more like having someone you trust recommend a good doctor or school instead of researching from scratch. If you have found a person, celebrity or not, who you trust and/or with whom you have generally agreed in the past or has given good advice to you, you will give more credence to their opinions and rightly so.

    Obviously, Oprah’s opinion carries more importance since she has millions of people who watch her show, read her magazine, and, in many cases, act on what she has to say but the fact that she has a large fan base, in and of itself is a stupid reason to oppose her support of a candidate. If she was doing it for bad reasons, that would be one thing but she has said the main reason she’s supporting Barack is that he’s someone she trusts and knows well and thinks would be the best president. These seem like pretty good reasons to me.

    Barack Obama has the experience, strength, character, judgment and character needed to be a great president. Oprah and many other people already see that. Her endorsement and activism for Barack should help to convince others, so it is a good thing overall. The people who don’t like it probably already have their minds made up, so there is little downside.

    September 13, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  24. Andy Champaign,Illinois

    Oprah will only show if Gayle can come too! Oprah stick to taking credit for giving away free cars that GM donated to your show & then you took credit for,providing the New Orleans mayor kleenex,screening audience members so that nobody makes any waves during the taping. Oprah, Why dont you run for office & sharpton can be your running mate? The 2 of you seem to have the world figured out.

    September 13, 2007 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  25. Jeannie, Fort Worth, Texas

    Oprah might want to really be careful on this one if she has any desire to see her TV show keep its high ratings. This one might cost her big time with viewers.

    Oprah is evidently a reverse-racist herself based on an incident I heard from an airline pilot who flew the plane she was on one time a number of years ago.

    September 13, 2007 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
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