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. Kat, Fairfax,VA

    We all know the only reason she is backing him–has nothing to do with what he stands for.. It is purely a racial thing. The making of history for the race.... and she wants her name attached....... everyone has their little angle....

    December 4, 2007 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  2. anon New York, NY

    I see a lot of stunningly racist comments on this page from Hillary Clinton supporters.

    You are only hurting your own cause, because Mrs. Clinton can't win the nomination without black votes, and once Black Americans become aware of these shocking comments, they could easily turn on Mrs. Clinton.

    BTW- you'all must be getting desperate if you're trying to attack someone like Oprah Winfrey. Oprah is a lot more popular than Hillary Clinton ever will be.

    December 4, 2007 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  3. Waiting for Change in Northern, Virginia

    These comments are quite sad! Everyone wants to bash Oprah for supporting Obama, while whites support other White candidates and no one says a thing. Look in her audience who shows up to her shows to get the free stuff? An overwhelming number of White people. Clinton is having celebrities support her too! Some Americans just doesn't want to see any blacks that are smart, successful,and rich.
    Clinton needs to take care of her own state. New York ranks low among states who take care of their poor children. Check out the latest Time magazine and see for yourself.

    December 4, 2007 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  4. Melissa Fort Worth, TX

    My question is: If there wasn't a black man in the race would she have backed the first female for president?

    She is the great pioneer and all.

    Hillary 08

    December 4, 2007 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  5. Brandie Tampa FL

    Megha San Antonio:

    So? You don't think Bush it Billions or TRILLIONS in Iraq & building THEIR bridges is any different?

    We CLAIM to be spreading Democracy in the Middle East, so WHAT ABOUT the GENOCIDE in Darfur? I would RATHER spend some of those bill-trillions on saving inhabitants of Darfur than forcing a democracy on a country that doesn't REALLY want it!!! Not spending INSANE amounts on security contractors in the Middle East who make OUR SOLDIERS look bad with their lawless attitudes-completely destroying the progress OUR SOLDIERS have made & putting their lives FURTHER at risk. But what WOULD be nice is to have spent that money fixing OUR bridges!!!

    DON'T act like Obama is going to send all this U.S. aide to Africa. Stop being a racist piece of work!!! DON'T put words in his mouth. I always see you making comments about things that aren't even true & UNFORTUNATELY cnn doesn't post my comments back to you.

    So, it's assumed that where ever YOUR family originated from, YOU would send incredible amounts of money to? Stop being IGNORANT & RIDICULOUS, BIAS & RACIST!!!!!!! You make Texans look bad! Ron from TX, please save this person...

    December 4, 2007 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  6. soulonart, Atlanta GA

    All the racist comments... all the cynicism... Obama's candidacy is not about race, nor is Oprah's support. Through history, whenever a black person has achieved, it has been despite major opposition based purely on ignorance. Instead of proclaiming what isn’t going to happen or what can't happen, how about fighting for what should happen. This is not a time for shuken and jiving, it's a time to stand up and be accounted. If not now when?

    December 4, 2007 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  7. Jeff Sacramento, CA

    Wow. Just when you think America is changing a bit, racisism rears its ugly head again. A lot of those negative comments about Oprah, are really over the top, mean spirited and RACIST. Part of the reason African Americans haven't been more of a force in politics and other areas, is we don't have the "good old boy" culture in our community. For most black people in the U.S. we've all been trying to influence our immediate surroundings. We've generally woried about OUR selves and OUR familys. Now we have a black woman that is intelegent, well spoken, and her appeal crosses color lines and she's being persecuted. She's worked against the odds and earned every accolade given to her. She is very brave to use whatever means she has for the empowerment of African Americans, as well as support of a good Democratic candidate. If we want to persecute celebrities for their political views, why are we only talking about Oprah. Sean Penn meeting with Hugo Chavez???

    Historically, Blacks vote Democrat. Its about time we have a face like our own to rally around.

    As for the comments about this being a big show, and not as much politics. YOU ARE DELUSIONAL! Politics has always been a show, a popularity contest. The candidate with the best character, and best ideas rareley wins. Its who is the most popular. Its who causes the biggest stir.

    Why do you think the phrases "The black vote" or "the latino vote" is only heard every 4 years. What's important to us, is only important to politicians when they want our vote. If politics were really about change for the good of ALL American People, this would not be the case.

    December 4, 2007 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  8. Seam, Philly PA

    If anyone of you people had money, power, and fame like Oprah, you too would do all you can to support your candidate. Stop worrying about others, and start worrying about yourself.

    What can you do for your candidate?

    December 4, 2007 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  9. Charlotte, NC

    I find it interesting that many of the commenters try to say that a black person supporting another black person is somehow racist. But it's never racist when a white person supports another white person, is it? These people would obviously rather see black people pitted against eachother, so that no one gets ahead.

    These comments go to show that although things have changed for the better in this country, we still have a long way to go.

    I'm glad to see Oprah supporting Obama, I hope he wins the election.

    December 4, 2007 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  10. cicilia,derry,Nh

    Good for him. I will be there. Fired Up, ready to go!

    December 4, 2007 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  11. Columbia, SC

    It’s appalling to read all the negative comments. As I read, I asked myself, “What are people afraid of?” We have no need to panic rather a reason to rejoice that the Bush/Cheney reign will soon be over. If we lived through the lies and deception from this administration surely we could appreciate a person of good character as our leader. The negative comments reflect leadership. They tell us just how much in need we are of a trustworthy leader.

    Do have a blessed day in the Lord!

    PS: Oprah, although you already know, once again, you have the opportunity to see just how much people pretend to love you. You are doing wonderful things and I applaud you. Love you much!

    December 4, 2007 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  12. AJ, IL

    Oprah is doing what other Obama supporters are doing, getting out in the public to present and support their candidate. Oprah just so happens to be one of the most powerful people in TV media. Celebrities endorse candidates all the time, especially with monetary support. The Clintons are a perfect example. This political couple are considered Hollywood's darlings. Barbara Streisand has said she supports Hillary. Chuck Norris has said that he supports Mike Huckabee, and was at the CNN/YouTube debate to support his candidate. The only difference between the above celebrities and Oprah is that Oprah is way more powerful and influential, not only in the US but internationally.

    December 4, 2007 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  13. Keith, Chicago

    Wow, I would have never guessed that Hillary Clinton had so many supporters that are racist scum. If Clinton does get the Democratic nomination, maybe she can get some crossover support from Republicans and win the general election (contrary to popular belief) she seems to have a lot of the David Duke-supporting, racist Republicans that like her!

    December 4, 2007 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  14. DC, FL

    Oprah, stay with the humanitarian efforts please, you can do great things with your money.... but when it comes to picking presidents, your opinion doesn't mean anymore to me than that of a a complete stranger.

    December 4, 2007 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  15. Karen, Des Moines, Iowa

    I like Obama, but not enough to caucus for him. He is lacking in foreign policy experience. John Kennedy was young when he ran, but he was part of the WWII generation that in some sense was never young. He distinguished himself in the war, and not only lived abroad when his father was an ambassador, but wrote a book about his observations there. Besides, baby boomers make up a huge part of the electorate and so far all our generation has offered our country as President is an embarrassing philanderer and a fascist fundamentalist. I know we can do better than that. That's why I will be standing up for John Edwards at my caucus, and thanking Oprah for helping Obama split her fans with Clinton, so Edwards can go sailing through in South Carolina after his win in Iowa.

    December 4, 2007 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  16. AJ, IL

    Posted By Melissa Fort Worth, TX : December 4, 2007 11:18 am

    Only Oprah can speak for Oprah. My opinion is that Oprah supports her idea of the best candidates, Democrats or Republicans, but of late mostly Democrats. Although Oprah may have donated money to Hillary's campaign if Obama was not running, she would not have committed to campaign or endorse Hillary. Oprah never has, even when Jesse Jackson ran for President and Bill Clinton ran for President (twice).

    OBAMA in '08!

    December 4, 2007 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  17. MaryE tallahassee,fla

    OK, when JFK ran for President the world worried that the "POPE" in Rome would run the USA from the White House.Now,do we need to worry that "Oprah" will run the USA from the White House? VOTE for the BEST person to be in the WHITE HOUSE not someone with money & can't get the right person to run her school in a third world country GO RON PAUL

    December 4, 2007 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  18. Jimenez - Texas

    Hillary supporters are not a bunch of racists. We are just calling as we see it. Oprah didn't choose Obama for anything else. It's a given. If anyone is making this a racist thing – its Obama/Michelle and Oprah. Read ..... it doesn't take an Einstein to figure it out. Shame on Oprah... what an example.

    December 4, 2007 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  19. Andrew, Athens, GA

    While Oprah's endorsement will no doubt aid Obama's campaign, anyone that would support a candidate based solely on the influence of an omni-media figure like Oprah is a fool. Don't be lazy-get to know the issues and where the candidates stand, not just which celebrities support whom. Of course, this applies to ALL the candidates, I'm not knocking Obama alone.

    December 4, 2007 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  20. Wendy

    It is so dangerous for our country that Oprahis trying to buy presidency. American people, wake up! Let's' united and show Oprah that she can not buy the presidency! It will be back fire on her!

    December 4, 2007 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  21. Don White, Brooklyn, NY

    Only vey few percentage of people will change their votes to Obama after endorsed by Oprah. And it doesn't matter for lot of those who have already decided who to vote. What is important is if Oprah is a true democrat, she should endorse any democrat the same way in the general election if Obama is not nominated by the democrats.

    December 4, 2007 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  22. Dean, Pittsburgh, PA

    I must agree with anon from NY said. So many of you posting comments are expressing exactly what is wrong with our election process. So many of the negative comments are such egregious statements (Oprah and Obama are nobodies; Oprah is a racist). And with statements like that, THOMAS BILLIS from Las Vegas is correct in saying it is no wonder how we eneded up with a President like Bush (and if we are not careful, one like HRC).

    To so many of you who insist that Oprah is a racist since she has never backed a candidate before, perhaps it is because no candidate was worth backing. I am a white male from the upper-middle class. Recently, I have signed up for Obama's campaign website and intend on doing what I can to support him. I have never done this before because up till now, no candidate has had any appeal. Or perhaps, according to so many of you, I would support him solely because of his race.

    Give me a break you freaking morons! Actually take the time and listen to what Obama has to say instead of giving blanket judgements.

    Though I must conclude by thanking White Woman from Tampa and Howard from Huntington, NY for two of the few who seem as offended by these people as I am.

    This blog truly frightens me that we will have such a vast uneducated vote...

    December 4, 2007 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  23. Les WA

    Is Oprah Winfrey giving away cars this time or a makeover? She's good at that, full of surprises with her guests.

    Will this rally result to vote for Obama? I don't think so. The people will attend the rally because they're curious of Oprah, no more no less. I give more credit to the American people for using their heads in casting their vote than Oprah. She's an entertainer, that's what she does for a living. I resent it when entertainers like Oprah has the notion whatever she says is the truth. Oprah is a very calculating woman, she's buying her way into the Whitehouse thru Obama, what a shame.

    I wonder if Oprah voted for Obama when he was running for State Senator, I wonder too if Oprah consistently cast her vote during election time.

    December 4, 2007 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  24. Hooligan, Everywhere, America

    Last Monday Oprah read a matchbook cover on the air – by Friday it was a best seller.

    Talking about problems and providing no solutions, that's Oprah!

    December 4, 2007 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  25. Matthew, San Francisco

    Wow! Some of the commentors here really fall into the uneducated catagory. There is so much fear for a real change in this country. Read about all of the candidate's policies and watch them speak on their issues and you can tell that Obama is the most candid of the bunch.

    Why are some upset at Oprah endorsing Obama? Because he is black? Get real. There has been: Alan Keyes, Jesse Jacksn, Al Sharpton and Colin Polwell (any others I don't remember) and Oprah has not endorsed ANY of them or ANY other candidate because they maintly have 1 agenda- Power. Obama's agenda is CHANGE because we are in the worst position that we have been in in centuries fellow Americans and if you want to continue in that direction then vote for the same ole' type of candidate- White and polarizing who only tell us what we want to hear and do exactly the opposite.

    This is not politics as usual, this is a whole other ball game.

    December 4, 2007 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
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