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. DS NBCT

    Why does everything have to be about race? Oprah supporting Obama has nothing to do with him being black. Oprah is a very intelligent woman who is supporting the best "Person" for the job! No more Clintons, No more Bush's! This country needs Obama! GO OBAMA! YOU HAVE MY VOTE!

    September 13, 2007 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  2. Christian, Tampa FL

    Considering Oprah's involvement in projects in South Africa, I think it's good for her to be active in the world/national scene. Whether politics is a good arena for her is another story, but I think that Obama is certainly a great candidate to stump for.

    September 13, 2007 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  3. Michael James -- Illinois

    To Kate, Woodland Hills CA:

    My own personal opinion is that you are unaware that there have been black candidates for president in previous elections, including Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Carol Mosely-Braun. Two of those people are from Chicago, where Oprah’s show is located, however, NONE of them were ever endorsed by Oprah.

    For anyone to think that Oprah’s endorsement is all about race is just intellectual laziness and, perhaps, latent racism.

    No one seems to mind when white people endorse other white people. Besides, Barack’s mother was white, so how do you know Oprah is endorsing the black half?

    September 13, 2007 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  4. monica, rochester new york

    People who say Oprah is just supporting Obama because he's black, must not realize just how insulting that comes across. If a black person supports another black person, (usually) white people say it's because of race alone. Totally disregarding that Oprah is an intelligent, educated successful person capable of making intelligent decisions based on important facts. Obama is NOT the firt black alternative to come along (jackson, sharpton, chisolm have also run). Oprah knows Obama personally and knows better than anyone where he stands on the issues. My white brothers and sisters please stop accusing blacks of supporting other blacks just because of race. For the entire history of this country we've supported whites (when blacks were allowed to vote), I think we've done enough to prove we're willing to support whomever we think is the best candidate. I don't see anyone criticizing blacks for supporting Hillary, I guess blacks are allowed to do that. Just as long as they're not black. Please, give Oprah the respect to choose just like the rest of us do (and I'd hate to know what reasons people have for supporting the candidates they choose, I don't think those reasons would be too intellectuall based considering the quality of the average american's education.)

    September 13, 2007 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  5. Shuwanda, Columbia, SC

    Why isn't Oprah the candidate and Obama the endorser?

    September 13, 2007 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  6. Carol, Hesperia Ca

    Having Oprah campaign for Obama is a bad move. I think she will alienate more voters than she will recruit.

    September 13, 2007 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  7. Bob, Pensacola, FL

    Hi Kate from Woodland Hills, CA

    Why do you think Oprah is supporting Obama because he is black??

    September 13, 2007 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  8. Ron, TX

    Oprah is supporting Obama because he is inspirational, truthful, and incredibly rational. I bet the people who can't get past skin color have never taken the time to listen to Obama's speeches and research his ideas. There's a reason Obama drew a crowd of 20,000 people in Texas of all states, biggest ever in the history of all presidential candidates in ANY state- and it wasn't because he's black...

    September 13, 2007 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  9. Jarah, Boston Massachusetts

    Obama says he now has "two powerhouse women" in his campaign with his wife and now Oprah – he gives Oprah equal billing as his wife. Now, I like Oprah, she needs to do another movie-win an oscar or something. But please, Oprah, stop playing with Barack's mind. Let the man and his wife do their thing.

    September 13, 2007 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  10. stephen hymel

    How can Senator Obama and Oprah continue to be so-called advocates for health care initiatives since Sen. Obama smokes and is yet to condemn such behavior, one of the most devastating to the health of Americans.

    September 13, 2007 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  11. Getan Pade SD, CA

    If a black person supports another black person, (usually) white people say it's because of race alone.
    Posted By monica, rochester new york : September 13, 2007 3:57 pm

    If a black person thinks he or she gets screwed she whines racism – it always isn't racism. So don't preach until you clean up your own house.

    September 13, 2007 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  12. lbr - jersey city, nj

    Oprah should have just stayed as talk show host. Without her knowing a lot of her audience and fans are now starting to alienate her.

    September 13, 2007 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  13. The D.C. Sir, Washington, D.C.

    There is a possibility that Oprah may regret this decision because much like James Frey, portions of Obama's last book are in question.

    September 13, 2007 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  14. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    I have never watched her show as I work for a living, but I have a ton of respect for her, for her hard work and dedication.

    She is the epitomy of capitalism and should be applauded for it.

    She is also charitable as hell and you can't always say that about rich folk.

    If she wants to endorse Obama, it's her time and money.

    September 13, 2007 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  15. Abel, Lancaster Pennsylvania

    I wonder how many people are going to vote just because:
    "well Oprah supports him... so he must be a good person. I guess I will vote for him too."

    Educate yourselves people. Don't follow Left Celebrities or Right politicians.

    Do your own research and vote for who YOU think will do the best job, not what oprah thinks.

    Celebs need to stay out of politics way.

    September 13, 2007 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  16. James, Phoenix AZ

    It is Oprah's constitutional right to help Obama or whatever candidate she chooses. It is our right as citizens to change the channel and tune-out Oprah the talk-show-host.

    I hope ALL citizens white, black, yellow, orange, red – look at the candidates for their VIEWS – and not simply their race or gender.

    September 13, 2007 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  17. John, Seattle, WA

    When was the last time Oprah voted in a primary, wasn't it 1988? Good selection Mr. B. Hussein Obama!

    September 13, 2007 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  18. Robert M. Reidy N.Y.

    Well someone has to say it.


    The Momentum continues with daring positions on the issues and the continuing grass roots ground swell
    for this natural leader and true agent
    of creative and effective change. This promises to be one of the most interesting and pivotal presidential
    elections ever. Thank you Barak Obama!!

    September 13, 2007 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  19. Robert M. Reidy N.Y.


    September 13, 2007 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  20. Marcus Bush, National City CA

    Oprah is NOT endorsing Senator Obama because of the color of the skin, just like she is NOT voting for Hilary just because she's a woman.
    Oprah did NOT endorse Revs. Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton OR Sen. Carol Mosley Brown when they ran for president so to say that Oprah likes Obama because of his skin color is in it of itself, racist.

    Oprah is supporting Obama because he IS the best candidate with the best judgement, the right amount experience, and the best qualified person to LEAD, to Change this country and the terrible, divided direction it is going in, and will continue to be divided if Sen. Clinton is nominated.

    September 13, 2007 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  21. Stephen San Diego California

    I hope Oprah does jump on the trail..
    Then Obama will fall further back in the polls..He will be no factor in the race when it's all said and done..And Hillary, John Edwards..If you win the nomination please don't pick Obama as your running mate because you will surely get crushed by the Republicans.
    His recent comments about Iraq and meeting with US Enemies etc..has many not even taking him seriously..And that momentum is growing rapidly. With or without Oprah, no factor..

    September 13, 2007 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  22. Dan, TX

    Oprah has a brilliant mind for business. She is better at business and finances than 90% + of the rest of the country. Warren Buffett is the second richest man in the country and honored as being a brilliant business man. It is well known he is a supporter of Obama.

    Oprah and Buffett are among the very best examples of what makes America great. They have lived the American dream. They know about what makes America great and have a strong view on how to make America greater. They've chosen Obama as the politician who best represents their own view of the world.

    Oprah's endorsement is important, because she is one of the most successful American's alive today. She is a role model for the American Dream.

    People can dislike her, just as people dislike Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Donald Trump.

    Oprah is a very smart lady – no one can intelligently argue against that. She knows Obama very well from them both being in Chicago, and she knows he'd be a great president. So she is supporting him. She's not asking anyone to vote for him just because she is going to. She's asking people to actually look at what his views are. To take the time to read his speeches and policy ideas on his web page, rather than have it be presented as distortions and half-truths through the media.

    That's all. No big deal.

    September 13, 2007 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. Robert M. Reidy N.Y.


    September 13, 2007 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  24. Concerned

    If a black person thinks he or she gets screwed she whines racism – it always isn't racism. So don't preach until you clean up your own house.

    Posted By Getan Pade SD, CA : September 13, 2007 4:16 pm

    It beggars belief that there are those like you Getan that think and say what you just wrote above. But alas there are. Good luck to you...I just wish you all those who think (bleat) like Getan would express themselves honestly and truthfully all the time especially when speaking to their black collegues/co-workers, friends (that's if you have any black friends). You get the drift Getan. I doubt however that you're this rabid in front of anyone "real"...just in the cyber-world. You're a coward.

    September 13, 2007 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  25. James, Denver, Colorado

    Barack the best candidate for the job? How? Wait, don't answer that because you don't know. See, you've fallen for his charm and charisma like millions of others have. Anyone with charisma can stand up in front of a crowd and criticize Bush and say, "We need to. . ." "We should be. . ." "I promise to. . ." Obama is the very definition of a politician. . .someone who talks the talk long enough to get elected, but won't walk the walk once he's in office.

    September 13, 2007 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
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