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. Andrew Columbus, Ohio

    Oprah needs to stay out of this race.

    December 4, 2007 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  2. Elliott North Carolina

    Why won't Mr. Obama salute our flag? Why is his hame muslim?

    December 4, 2007 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  3. AJ; Montpelier, VT

    Oprah is all about being black. It does not matter to her who the best candidate is, just who the black one is. She has never before endorsed a political candidate, is it just coincidence that the first one she endorses is black? I'm sure if Obama does not win the nomination, she'll scream "racism."

    December 4, 2007 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  4. JC Vette, Cranston, RI

    Funny, Oprah never got involved with any presidential candidate before! She should have just gone quietly into the voting booth and stayed out of this race – this is not her race. I now think less of her. Having a fundraiser in her own yard is one thing but now having to tour for the "poor" Obama – that's ridiculous!! By the way Obama, Hilary never said "they're picking on me", nor does she need a well known celebrity to help her win! Go home, your race is over.

    December 4, 2007 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  5. Steve, Maitland, FL

    And everyone in the audience gets a free car.

    December 4, 2007 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  6. John S. Iowa City, Iowa

    Hello from Iowa where we love Barack, were glad that the rest of the country are finally getting to know our future President, Barak Obama. We've seen him multiple times live up here, and it's been a long time since we have felt this much needed hope. Go Barak Go.

    December 4, 2007 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  7. Seam, Philly PA

    Like her or not, Oprah has clout. Don't hate the player, hate the game. Obama 08'

    December 4, 2007 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  8. jw ark.

    we don't need a rock star we need some one smart enought to run the country

    December 4, 2007 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  9. Chris Haynes, Winston-Salem, NC

    Obviously, Oprah looks at more than race while choosing a candidate. Yeah right.

    "Watch my show, I'll give you free stuff."

    Give me a break.

    December 4, 2007 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  10. Surrealist, Fort Myers, FL

    Having one donor/advocate with so much clout is a great thing! I wonder how long Mr. Obama will accept her assistance–as we begin to question: are they coming to see Obama or Opra? Star power–doesn't necessarily transcend into capability.

    December 4, 2007 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  11. Aaron Smithsburg, Maryland

    Oprah for President of the United States of Rich, Pampered, Elitists.

    December 4, 2007 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  12. anon, ny, ny

    They should be able to fill up the area, becuase each person requesting for ticket is asked to provide 10 more email addresses to send tickets. It only needs a few hundreds people to start, and before long, there are 20,000 people. For example, the first 100 people invite 10 friends each, meaning 1,000 people to attend, and these 1,000 people again invite 10 more friends meaning 10,000 people to attend....

    I can hardly wait to see the "enormous success" news of the rally next week.

    December 4, 2007 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  13. Jim in Orlando, FL

    It is a very interesting dynamic to see how this will influence things. While celebrity endorsements and appearances are nothing new, this could begin a new level not yet seen in terms of how they are exploited, the hype, and the turnout. Will Hillary respond with a free Babs appearance ? Let the games begin !

    December 4, 2007 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  14. Robert M. Reidy N.Y.

    Can you feel the love?

    Well here it comes South Carolina, let the dogs bark – this caravan is moving on!!!

    Hillary is on the slide.
    Barak is on the homeward glide!

    Barak Obama coming to a town near you
    the leader with a heart for the people
    and this is what Oprah knows for sure.

    December 4, 2007 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  15. Mary, watertown, ny

    Oprah does not sing or perform. It will be a boring rally. On the other hand, if Barbara Streisand has a rally for Hillary Clinton, I will fly all the way to hear her.

    December 4, 2007 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  16. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    I greatly respect Oprah for her charitable work, her OWN hard work and her OWN achievement, but one must hope that someone dosen't vote for a certain candidate because a "celebrity" endorses them.

    That includes all "celebrities" and all parties.

    A fellow politicians opinion may carry some weight, but celebrities belong on ET, TMZ and the "red carpet" and not on a campaign trail.

    I guess if it works.............

    December 4, 2007 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  17. W.D., Silver Spring, MD

    I finally glad to see Obama make his move and hope the media realize that there is no front runner until the first ballot is cast.

    December 4, 2007 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  18. Christian, Tampa FL

    Oh, I hope that Obama wins the nomination. It would be so difficult for me to vote for Hillary because I just don't think she's honest and sincere enough. And what's up with her campaign trying to use essays that Barack wrote in third grade and kindergarten against him?

    December 4, 2007 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  19. John Karsten, Virginia Beach, VA

    Alright, this is a good thing. A sold out forum to her the little guy speak, not HRC. That speaks volumes to me. Keep on trucking Obama.

    Obama 2008!!!

    December 4, 2007 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  20. Donna H. Chicago, IL

    Why is Oprah backing Barak? Since she has never been involved in any previous election, why now? I don't believe he is the most qualified candidate.

    December 4, 2007 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  21. Megha, San Antonio, TX

    Oprah says "American Children are too arrogant for my money", so she spends it in South Africa. Amazing American spirit, despite the fact that American education system (teachers, students, schools, everybody) is in dire need to reform adn money.
    Wonder if Obama will be spending the money in shcools in Indonesia and Kenya, as he goes around saying, ""Oprah is my girl"

    December 4, 2007 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  22. shelly, pineland tx

    I cannot believe that Oprah is supporting someone that is running for the highest rank in our country that will not recite the pledge of allegiance. That is crazy. How do you not show your country your support but you want to be president. whatever. Obama won't wear an american flag either, i bet he won't wave one either. that's crazy. I guess that's what we get for letting a foreigner run for president. America better look out if Obama wins. It's not going to be a good thing. If he doesn't want people judging him on where he was raised and schooled, he should at least show that he supports our country in every aspect of the word "Support"

    December 4, 2007 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  23. Muhamid, columbia, SC

    The latest poll from ARG shows that Obama trails Hillary Clinton by 24 points in South Carolina.

    Obama also trails Hillary Clinton in getting the black votes, and only gets 1/3 of the white votes that Hillary Clinton gets.

    The problem with Obama is that he is half-black, who claims to be black while downplaying his whiteness. However, his policies primarily cater to the white folks, as alleged by some black leaders (Jessee Jackson and Al Sharpton).

    The black voters should not trust Obama.

    December 4, 2007 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  24. RD, anaheim, ca

    what is oprah to give away to audience this time?

    December 4, 2007 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  25. Middle America

    Where is everybody and all the crazy comments? I will start by saying OBAMA will be our next President!!!

    "OBAMA/DODD 2008"

    December 4, 2007 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
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