December 4th, 2007
05:53 AM ET
15 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. stan pitts pa

    wow a good decent candidate and good decent celebrity, America is back! time to take this great country and put it on the world map as the greatest!!! obama 08!!!

    December 3, 2007 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  2. Bianca Withrow, Toronto ON

    Poor Obama is so desparate for publicity that he has let Oprah Winbag turn his campaign into an infomercial. What's gonna be under everyone's seat? Perhaps the latest copy of her magazine or perfume or cookbook... look, even Susanne Somers had a limit – she's laughing her head off.

    December 3, 2007 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  3. Amelia, Washington, DC

    Go Obama! Go Oprah! These are two positive people who I have the utmost respect for. If it takes a celebrity to help people believe that Barack CAN WIN, so be it.

    December 4, 2007 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  4. Chuck, Conway, NH

    No disrespect meant to Oprah or Obama, but anyone whose vote would be influenced by Oprah at a rally, should reconsider why they are given the privilege of an early state primary vote. This is a solemn responsibility, not a People Magazine contest.

    December 4, 2007 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  5. JC Ohio

    So what will happen when Oprah finds out she's backing a fast-talking loser in Barack Obama, like she did with James Fry? say...OOOOPS!! and publicly spank him on national TV afterwards? Sorry Oprah, the American people can't 'get their money back' once they vote Obama in...

    December 4, 2007 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  6. lawrence michel anaheim ca

    shame on you oprah,i hope you appearance with Obama is a flop.Stick to what you do best and million love and respect you for.This is the begining of the end of the oprah for the ratings girl

    December 4, 2007 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  7. Phil Collins, Supremeville USA

    You can't buy me love,
    No you'll just have to wait
    Love don't come easy
    It's a game of give and take
    So now break!

    December 4, 2007 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  8. Rev. Chuck Currie, Portland, Oregon

    Senator Obama has the values and experience needed to led this nation. We can be proud of his positions on Iraq and AIDS, along with health care and climate change. We need a president in the White House who puts values before political gain.

    Rev. Chuck Currie

    December 4, 2007 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  9. Danton, baltimore Maryland

    Why are you holding back the commenst on this section...

    December 4, 2007 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  10. raquel, las vegas nv

    i dont think i can trust a candidate having oprah to back him up. oprah is so arrogant giving away cars to housewives and cell phones to abused african children and saying her african children will change the hillary

    December 4, 2007 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  11. SFT, Elgin, IL

    Oprah has known Senator Obama for a very long time. She is able to shine a light on this extraordinary man that no one else can. It is quite astonishing that she is so willing to put her credibility on the line for THIS man. I so respect the fact that she is up front about the fact that she will not invite any other Presidential Candidate on her show because she has so strongly endorsed Barack Obama. They both have an amazing vision of forging the "common good" for humanity.

    December 4, 2007 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  12. Sam, Lake Placid, NY

    Oprah Winfrey supporting Sen. Obama represents political corruption at its finest. Politics is all about the "Benjamin's" these days. That is why you really can't take any candidate seriously when they say, "I am the most qualified for this position", because you know there are thousands of more intelligent Americans that could better run a country, but didn't have the political ties to land them a spot in office. God Help Us All

    December 4, 2007 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  13. Mel

    (Oprah + Barack) * HIS message = great things.

    December 4, 2007 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  14. THOMAS BILLIS las vegas nv

    What a country.We are electing a President to get us out of the biggest mess of the twentieh -twenty first century and the morons are camping out to get tickets to see Oprah.What a shock we ended up with George Bush President.

    December 4, 2007 03:17 am at 3:17 am |
  15. Ann, Little Rock, Arkansas

    I hate to think, as powerful as Oprah is, that she can "buy" the presidency for Obama. It's a shame when race is the primary consideration because I remember her at the Oscar Awards giving the "black power" hand signal.

    December 4, 2007 03:34 am at 3:34 am |
  16. rdierker

    Man, I can see why. Obama and Oprah are a force to be reckoned with. People want to see Obama speak more than my daughter wants to see Hannah Montana!

    December 4, 2007 03:59 am at 3:59 am |
  17. Rosette Lombart, Montreal, Qc, originally from California

    Wonder if Oprah supports Obama because of his ideas and politics or sinply because he is black

    December 4, 2007 05:20 am at 5:20 am |
  18. Nita - San Antonio

    Sorry to say but I have to agree – it is a circus. The democrats (the real ones not the imposters) are still behind Clinton. I'M ON FIRE!!! CLINTON 08!

    December 4, 2007 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  19. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    I don't need her ticket, I never watch her show anyway. Oprah acts like she is very proud of black woman, She is trouble maker, she couldn't help Obama, American Women and American voters will show her the lesson soon, interesting:).

    December 4, 2007 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  20. Realist

    "Oprah's appeal certainly transcends race and class"

    Hahaha, yeah right.

    December 4, 2007 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  21. Lakeisha Reeds NH

    Who cares about oprahs dog and pony show! Frankly I’m sick of oprah already. I think her show is great. But in politics??? Now she out of her league. Having oprah try to buy the nomination shows obama has nothing to offer but a celebrity hoping she can bring a black vote because he alone cannot win on merit or experience. He only appears to speak well when alone, EVERYTIME he is in a debate or next to ANY other candidate republican or democrat it’s easy to see why he is NOT the choice. Anyone considering obama because Oprah said so should heave their heads examined...


    December 4, 2007 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  22. randy,ny

    Obama 08 is the answer.

    December 4, 2007 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  23. Mike, Owosso, MI

    It would be interesting to see who gets the tickets in each state. If it is just a pay back to the campaign workers and their families/freinds, she will be merely preaching to the choir and a total waste of a good opportunity for Obama.

    December 4, 2007 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  24. Anonymous

    Go Obama!!!

    December 4, 2007 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  25. Independent in IA

    I wouldn't walk across the street to see either of these nobodies. I'll bet the only reason people are going to show up is to see if The Big Mama is going to give anything away.

    December 4, 2007 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
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