December 4th, 2007
05:53 AM ET
14 years ago

No more tickets for Oprah in South Carolina

Oprah's appearance could help raise Obama's profile in South Carolina.

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Citing "overwhelming excitement," Barack Obama's campaign in South Carolina is out of free tickets for this weekend's rally with Oprah Winfrey, a signal that Oprah's impact could be significant in this state where Obama is still trying to introduce himself to primary voters.

Though Oprah's appeal certainly transcends race and class, black women are proving to be a key subset of voters in South Carolina, and Oprah's presence on Sunday could help raise Obama's profile in a state where Sen. Hillary Clinton is still more well-known.

"What this does, is it takes somebody who ten months ago most people in South Carolina had no clue who he was, and with the media attention surrounding Oprah, it puts him front and center," said Winthrop University political scientist Scott Huffmon.

"Oprah is not going to change people's minds on her own, but Oprah makes Obama salient. So if he pulls off an upset in Iowa, suddenly he is the forefront of everyone's mind and he has the momentum. And he can use it to springboard him through in South Carolina. That's what it can do."

The Obama campaign wants this to be a huge event: The rally will take place at the Colonial Center, an arena here that seats 18,000 people. Oprah and/or Obama fans were camping out in sleeping bags outside Obama headquarters in Columbia on Saturday morning, waiting for tickets.

Assuming every ticket-holder shows up, there will be more people at the arena for a political rally than for an average University of South Carolina basketball game, which aren't usually sell-outs.

For those that didn't get tickets in time, the campaign says there is a waiting list. Obama and Oprah will also campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire this weekend.

- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

soundoff (210 Responses)
  1. Gary, des moines, ia

    Those peole going to Oprah's rally must be thinking that she is going to give out a car to each.

    December 3, 2007 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  2. .

    could be help raise?

    December 3, 2007 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Must be working since Hillary is now having fun attacking Obama..

    December 3, 2007 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  4. Frankie Kassel

    Oprah's star power still can't effectively hide the fact that Obama is too inexperienced to lead this country. His enthusiasm and "I'm above politics" stance just are not enough. We need seasoned leadership in this dangerous world (and it's not Clinton, either).

    December 3, 2007 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  5. Watson, columbia, SC

    With 27,000 students at USC at a weekend, this rally may be a good place to go before hitting the pubs/bars for these youngsters.

    There must be some other free performances, otherwise obama's or oprah's talk (even a short talk about his political issues) would bore these students to become alcoholics.

    December 3, 2007 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  6. Varun Mehta Boston, MA

    Celebrity endorsements are interesting…I saw a great post at http://www.usinpac2008.com an Indian blog about how in India probably the leading celebrity, Amitabh Bachan campaigned for a close friend very actively and they lost. I think voters are smart enough to pick who they like instead of what celebrity likes them but then why do candidates and the media play such importance on endorsements if they dont seem to make an impact?

    December 3, 2007 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  7. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    There is a difference between coming to see Oprah, coming to see Obama and then voting for him.

    It will be interesting to see how this celebrity campaign works out in the end ... and all the predictions/polls won't be able to guess until the votes are counted.

    December 3, 2007 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  8. Stephen, Tallahassee

    Go Obama! We got Momentum on the O-Train.

    December 3, 2007 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  9. Lily, Phoenix, AZ

    I can't wait to elect Barack as our next President in Novemeber of '08! It's Obama time after 7 years of Bush. Sigh! That's me breathing a huge sigh of relief for there finally being an adult in the White House...

    December 3, 2007 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  10. xtina chicago IL

    I think it's too soon for Obama, as he hasn't shown anything to prove himself in his present job. He does not possess a track record of success, other than garnering money (my and your tax dollars) for Illinois through what is good salesmanship. What has he done that shows leadership, grace under pressure and financial smarts? You don't hire someone on promise (especially not politicians) you hire them based on what they've done. And Obama has not shown he has the ability to lead.

    December 3, 2007 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  11. karen nj

    the big O has the same "feel good" vaguely spiritual quality as the little O – but hugging and telling people they're worthy and other feel good things do not have anything to do with the presidency

    December 3, 2007 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  12. Dood, Reality USA

    Moron Oprah fans probaby think they're going to get free cars.

    December 3, 2007 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  13. Bob, DC

    The Oprah effect may be the final nail in Hillary's coffin. We can only hope.

    December 3, 2007 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  14. Wayne, Silver Spring

    Jesus!

    18,000 seats filled!

    December 3, 2007 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  15. george thomas,dalton,ga

    This is not going to make people more or less going for Obama i dont think,altho Oprah is surely a crowd pleaser and draw'er

    December 3, 2007 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  16. Margo B , Michigan City , In.

    Camping out in sleeping bags? Are people THAT insecure and unhappy that they actually think their life will change by going to see two pop culture icons? If you have a strong sense of faith in God and yourself, if you work hard, if you love your family and your friends and are grateful , you don't think that much of government officials. So what are people missing in their lives that Obama can possibly replace?

    December 3, 2007 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  17. DON, seattle, WA

    Although CNN says no more ticket, I just went to the Obama SC website asking for ticket. It seems there are still tickets.

    To get the ticket at the website,
    it asks me for donation, a pledge to vote for Obama in the January 26 south carolia primary. Then, it asks me to put in 10 email addresses to invite 10 people to attend the rally....

    Now, that should let Obama & Oprah to brag about his rally next week.

    December 3, 2007 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  18. Colie Brice, Asbury Park, NJ

    Nothing like a Big O to get you through the day – and a few primaries 🙂

    December 3, 2007 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  19. dina Stevens

    My question is...Is Oprah supporting Obama because he is the best candidate or just because he is the only black candidate? I don't care because I would support him anyway but I wonder about what her motives are. Would she support him if he were not black? Is she supporting his issues or just the man?

    December 3, 2007 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  20. Susan, Branford, CT

    This just makes me sick. I really like most of what Oprah does but she really should not use her power to sway an election in our country. She is not a politician. She is a talk show host celebrity. I just wish we could have an election where we really know who the people want for president – not the Supreme Court or Oprah, the people acting like regular voters and having every vote counted.

    December 3, 2007 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  21. Tony, Enterprise, Alabama

    American voters, contrary to popular belief, are not sheep to be herded to the polls by one celebrity or another.

    Oprah is entitled to pick and vote for any candidate she wants. And the rest of us are equally entitled to pick and vote for who we want.

    Oprah's opinion has never meant much to me, and it means nothing to me now.

    December 3, 2007 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  22. John, Euless, TX

    Obama has sold himself!!!

    December 3, 2007 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  23. Marty, Orlando Fl

    GO OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 3, 2007 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  24. Cee

    It would appear that Ophrah is backing Obama beclause he's (of color) and she has the $ to push her way into the WH. Why else would Obama get elected?

    December 3, 2007 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  25. No Obama Winphrey!

    who cares, more of obama trying to take the attention off his inexperience...
    Yes, IOWANS are intelligent, anyone can be dazzled by show biz names like Oprah for a few minutes, but when it comes to your Childs future, safety, education and health, HILLARY is the BEST choice for President.

    Especially after the way she has handled herself during all the bashing from the boys club, especially obama (who now looks childish) and the way she handled the news conference after the hostage situation. We saw a strong compassionate Presidential leader, ready to fight! And a very loving friend and mother! That’s the trait that our country could use allot more of, instead of hate & wars.

    Clinton will win Iowa and seal the nom.

    Worst case scenario, obama win the nom, and then our next President would be a republican… WE CAN'T ARRORD TO LET THAT HAPPEN.

    Hillary is the ONLY ONE who can beat any of the republicans…remember. Bush won a second time…America cannot afford the inexperience of someone like obama. John Edwards, or Bill Richardson would be even better than obama, all he has to offer is…well…Oprah?

    I say Lets give a woman a chance to do what a man has been trying to do since George Washington!
    VOTE FOR CLINTON

    December 3, 2007 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
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