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. roger, conway sc

    I will not change my vote because of Oprah she thinks she is "holier than thou". I stopped watching her show years ago when she became rich & arrogant...she might give away cars etc but it is all for publicity and probably a tax write off not from the heart...I do not think most "normal" people will let her change their vote..

    December 4, 2007 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  2. Sophia, Los Angeles

    Shame on Barbara Striestand for supporting a White Women. Americans are not stupid we know she is only supporting Hillary beccause she is white...AND a women..How pathetic

    December 4, 2007 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  3. Monte Brown, New York, NY

    Oprah Winfrey does not care about American children and neither does Obama. Obama’s Healthcare plan leaves 15 million Americans without coverage. Oprah Winfrey is just supporting Obama because he is black. Oprah doesn’t care about the Democrats taking the executive branch either. Oprah is not an ideologue. I am not mad at Oprah, but I feel that she should have endorsed Hillary. Oprah is rich and just want the Republicans to win.

    What Americans will see is that Americans are not voting for Oprah and Americans shouldn’t choose a candidate because Oprah said so. Oprah, Obama and the rest of the Republicans, just want the Republicans to win the race. Obama is not in the race for the mission at hand. Obama is in the race for his own ego.

    December 4, 2007 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  4. Hooligan, Everywhere, America

    Will Obama's new, best buddy and adviser, Karl Rove be there?!

    December 4, 2007 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  5. Martha Spanish Springs, Nevada

    It is time for the black folks in this country to band together and elect Barak.

    He is the best one for the job.

    Good for Oprah, many people will do what she asks them to do.

    Good for you Oprah, I've never voted before but this time I will for Barak!


    December 4, 2007 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  6. Calvin Preddie, Mississauga, ON, Canada

    If we could go back in time and check on Oprah Winfrey's position on the next President of the United States, we would find that prior to being encouraged to speak about supporting Obama on the Larry King show, Oprah Winfrey had recently introduced Senator Clinton at a function as "The next President of the United States". Once she stated that she would encourage people to vote for her Senator, Mr. Obama, her future course in supporting Mr. Obama, especially because they were of the same race, was set.

    We should not be surprised that she has now been encouraged to show more support for Mr. Obama and even if he does not win the nomination, Oprah Winfrey should not be judged in the future on the basis of this support.

    December 4, 2007 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  7. connie, Richmond, CA

    Hillary supporters are a bunch of racists! It's okay for them to support Hillary because she's white, and it's okay for a black person to support her because she's white.

    Oprah has never supported anyone because they're black. Just look at who she picks for her book club. Black folks have been complaining for years because she doesn't pick more black writers.

    She's supporting Obama because he's superior. After all, anyone who wrote an essay in Kindergarden has it goin' on!

    December 4, 2007 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  8. FL Democratic Candidate

    I believe that a vote for Obama as the Democratic choice for President will give the presidency to the Republicans. There is no way Obama can beat the Republicans; they will eat him alive. This is not a game. Nothing against Obama, but don't waste your vote if you want the Democrats to take over the Presidency. Obama can not lead the country.

    December 4, 2007 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  9. KJ, Springfield, IL

    The high level of ignorance that I have read so far cracks me up. Why do people have to be so hateful of Oprah? I am not a fan of hers and I have never watched her show. I am sure she has made her mistakes (she is human after all). When Chuck Norris endorsed his preferred candidate nobody got this worked up. The high level of animosity that is being reflected on these two individuals is pathetic and backward. I find it hard to hate people you do not even know. While I back Obama, I do not run my mouth ignorantly about Clinton. At the speech in Springfield, IL, where he declared his run for the White House, he stated that he did not have that much experience, but he knows something in Washington has to change. I am thinking what needs to be changed is larger than Washington.

    December 4, 2007 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  10. Shaquana, Dallas TX

    Hillary doesn't need a celeb to help her. This really makes Obama look whinfrey!

    December 4, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  11. Borat Hussein Osama, chicago, IL

    Who cares who Oprah support? I switch her off my TV everytime, and her magazine is not what I read at grocery check-outs.

    December 4, 2007 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  12. summus

    'White Woman Tampa Fl'

    I suggest you grab a civics book and get educated on how the electoral college works. Whether it is fair or not it is the reality which presidential politics exist. Ask Al Gore.

    December 4, 2007 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  13. Ken, Suitland MD

    To White Woman, Tampa Fl (posted 12/04 at 11:04 am): You are right on the mark!!!! People, go read that comment.

    And with an honorable mention to the next commenter, Howard Huntington, NY (at 11:07 am). So Howard, how about if we pull a "Shelly" on Shelly: the real worry is not that cretins, like the one you are responding to, use computers, its that they might actually attempt to reproduce.

    Wake up dems.: ~33% of the populace looks upon the current republican debacle and actually approves of it. These "people" will be voting for the next repub. disaster-in-charge no matter what. That means the dems. have to convince over 70% of the remaining ~67% of the populace to vote for them, just to get to 50% of the overall vote.....and that's before the electoral college and "stuffed" supreme court enter in.

    Since that's quite a task in front of us, how about if we democratic-leaning voters, no matter who you support, stop with the unsupported berating of the other democratic candidates. Stop acting like Rove and his mindless right-wing minions. Let's face it, anyone of Richardson, Dodd, Clinton, Obama, Edwards, etc. would move this counrty in basically the same direction and away from the disaster we are in. And everyone of the repub. disaster-in-charge-wanna-bes would basically continue to move America out of the "Age of Enlightenment". Dems., please have at it in the market place of ideas, and even honest criticisms on past records, but leave the demagoguery to the losers on the right.

    Even if, for exampe, I'm a Hillary supporter, and my candidate ends up losing the nomination– do I want my country heading in the direction of the Obama/Oprah show or the Huckabee/Norris show? And if my candiate ends up winning, don't I want the Obama/Oprah show supporters supporting my candidate? As our "friends" on the religous right tend to forget, "do unto others...."

    December 4, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  14. Pamela, Brooklyn, NY

    I thank god Oprah is standing up for Obama. His heart is in the right place and his qualifications are stellar. The only thing the Clinton camp was able to "dig up on him" was that he didn't vote on a couple of issues. Most people don't even know how amazing he is.

    He graduated from Columbia University, where he majored in political science and specialized in international relations. He then attended Harvard Law School, graduated magna cum laude, and served as the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. After law school, he worked as a community organizer and a civil rights lawyer in Chicago. He also taught at the University of Chicago Law School as a senior lecturer specializing in constitutional law. Obama represented the South Side of Chicago in the Illinois State Senate from 1996–2004 as a Democrat. In 2004, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, winning with 70% of the vote against the conservative black Republican, Alan Keyes. Obama became the only African-American serving in the U.S. Senate (and the fifth in U.S. history). Obama's idealism, commitment to civil rights, and telegenic good looks generated enormous media attention for his Senate campaign. The eloquence of his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic Nation Convention in Boston, Mass., confirmed his status as one of the Democratic party's freshest and most inspirational new leaders.

    December 4, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  15. Al Tannis, Atlanta, GA

    Folks, get serious. Celebrities have been endorsing candidates for years. Chuck Norris recently endorsed and has appeared with Mike Huckabee on the campaign trail. I think Oprah is using her celebrity status as she always has – to promote the good and to help make things better for ALL people. After seeing Sen Obama give the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic Convention, I knew then he would and should seek the presidency in 2008. We ought to be thankful that we have an intelligent candidate who has no hidden agenda and who has so far demonstrated that he cannot be bought. God Bless Sen. Barrack Obama and Ms. Oprah Winfrey!

    December 4, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  16. Steve in SC

    There is enough ignorance on the post, it isn't funny! Maybe Oprah is supporting Obama because she believes he is the best candidate for her and race has nothing to do with it! The shallowness of most of these comments are amazing. You like Hilliary? Then support her based on her ideas, not her race or gender! The same applies to any candidate. Don't be either a lemming or a sheep! This election is too important for our future! Think for yourselves people!

    December 4, 2007 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  17. Charles A, Essexville MI

    Why all the hate on Oprah? She's a US citizen with the right to endorse whomever she chooses.

    You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. We're talking about registered voters here, not bloomin' idiots. Where is the faith in the American voters' intelligene?

    Obama has Oprah and Huckabee has Chuck Norris. Future Secretary of Defense Chuck Norris addressing Iran: "Hey! Straighten up your act, or do you want a roundhouse kick from me while I'm wearing these badboys? I didn't think so!"

    December 4, 2007 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  18. Kathe Oakland, California

    Oprah is not running for President, what Oprah knows about politics does not compare to a politican. Oh, is it because she is black, he is black then all is well. Again, give me a break! I am an african american female and I do not watch Oprah, she for many years gears her program to white audiences and just recently did she even have black folks on. So Oprah WHO. If Obama needs an Oprah to become President or even get close.....God help us all.

    December 4, 2007 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  19. Lauren, Beaufort, SC

    I must say, I'm not at all surprised by the ignorance mongering of the Hillary supporters on this comment board. It's ridiculous that you're so closeminded, and think so little of, not only Ms. Winfrey, but African American voters in general to think that they would only support Senator Obama because of his race.

    I would suggest to you all a close examination of his policy - and recognition of the FACT that Senator Obama has MORE YEARS OF ELECTED EXPERIENCE (that's right, NOT just residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave), than Sen. Clinton, and LESS flip-flopping and back-sliding as well! Not only that, BARACK OBAMA beats EVERY REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE in Zogby electability polls - as Hillary is equally defeated across the board. She can't win the general, people! 50% of likely voters say they would "NEVER VOTE FOR CLINTON".

    Enough division! We need a uniter!

    Is there really any question why Sen. Obama is gaining momentum in Iowa, New Hampshire, and now my home state of South Carolina? Not because he's black - not even because he's "BLUE", but because he can BRING OUR COUNTRY together - to show the world we can look beyond complexion, and into the content of the character, and intelligence of a potential leader.

    OBAMA '08!
    READY TO GO!!!!

    December 4, 2007 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  20. mschaefer, Los Angeles, CA

    What a bunch of morons in South Carolina. The article reads: "... ten months ago most people in South Carolina had no clue who he [Obama} was" - Huh?? Do these dumbass S. Carolina voters live in a cave or something? It's pretty scary that this country is fighting a war, gas prices are soaring through the roof, and global climate change is challenging the world - yet voters in South Carolina have no idea who the major front-runners are in the campaign for President of the United States. Why does this not surprise me?? Why does a state full of uneducated nitwits have such an important role in the early primaries? This state should change their automobile liscense plates to read: South Carolina – The illiterate State!!

    December 4, 2007 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  21. Megha, San Antonio, TX

    I agree with Ken from Suitland, MD. Let's please stop attacking each other's candidates with poison filled remarks, we're all democrats. I am totally for Hillary, but I like Obama and I am not ripping his clothes off.

    Hillary 08

    December 4, 2007 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  22. Lance in Monrovia

    Oprah campaigning for Obama is the best thing that could happen for Obama. I respect and admire Oprah, and I also share Obama's points of view.

    People won't vote for Obama just because Oprah says so. But Oprah will allow people to get a good look at Obama that normally may not pay attention.

    And the thing with Obama, is that he really gets you when you start paying attention. He has the ability to wake you up and get you involved. I'm heavily involved in the campaign for the first time in my life thanks to him.

    If he can get me to put my walking shoes on, Oprah can call the ball and Obama can bring it across the line for the rest of the country as well.

    Trust me, we're lucky to have Obama and we're lucky Oprah is putting her walking shoes on to support him.

    that means something.

    December 4, 2007 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  23. Randy S. Lawton, OK

    yet voters in South Carolina have no idea who the major front-runners are in the campaign for President of the United States. Why does this not surprise me?? Why does a state full of uneducated nitwits have such an important role in the early primaries? This state should change their automobile liscense plates to read: South Carolina – The illiterate State!!

    Posted By mschaefer, Los Angeles, CA : December 4, 2007 2:00 pm

    The article clearly stated, and you quoted "ten months ago", ten months ago there were no 'frontrunners', there was not even a race.

    You should change your handle to:
    mschaefer – The Ignorant Poster

    Posted By Matthew, San Francisco : December 4, 2007 12:20 pm
    Good post, Matt

    December 4, 2007 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  24. Elizabeth Woodland Hills, Ca.

    I think I remember Brad Pitt campaigning for John Kerry and we know how that turned out. People are too smart to vote based on star power and if anyone had the star power in 2004, it was Brad Pitt

    December 4, 2007 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  25. Jeanne Fitzpatrick of Illinois

    O + O spells O

    Not to worry....

    Oprah is an entertainer, the President of the United States is not a position of entertainment.
    One must win based on their own personal merits.
    Buy all the tickets you want.
    Heck, I would buy a ticket to see Oprah.
    I would not buy nor could you give me or even pay me to take a ticket to see Obama. He is not Presidential material!

    December 4, 2007 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
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