December 9th, 2007
10:04 PM ET
15 years ago

Oprah and Obama stump in the Granite State

Oprah and Obama campaign in New Hampshire. Photo: Mike Roselli/CNN

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) ­– Tired and hoarse after a three-state campaign swing on behalf of presidential contender Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey rounded out the weekend Sunday with an evening appearance here in the Granite State.

"This is my first time in Manchester. Wow, what a beautiful place!" said the talk show host, her voice cracking. Her entrance unleashed deafening screams and frantic waves from many in the audience, along with a sustained standing ovation.

The campaign estimated a crowd of roughly 8,500 braved the chilly New Hampshire weather – roughly a third the size of the audience that attended a similar event held in South Carolina earlier in the day. Still, it was the state’s largest political rally this year.

Hillary Clinton has long dominated the Democratic presidential field here, but a Mason-Dixon poll released just hours before Oprah arrived showed the New York senator’s edge over Obama had narrowed to a statistically insignificant 3-point margin.

Obama’s surge here has been partially fueled by increased support from women voters – precisely the audience the campaign was hoping to reach with Winfrey’s appearance. Some had waited for as long as three hours in the cold before doors opened at 6 p.m.

"I have done my homework, because I wouldn't be standing out here for
somebody I didn't know who I was talking about,” said Winfrey. “I'm not going to step out here and take this risk for somebody who's going to disappoint me later on.”

Their vote, she told the cheering crowd, would bring "Martin Luther King's dream into reality."

Speaking after Winfrey, Obama also referenced the slain civil rights leader. “I am running because of what Dr. King called ‘the fierce urgency of now,” he said.

–CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla

soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. J

    This makes my heart beat with the possiblity that something signficant is really in the works...values driven, inspired, hopeful change.

    December 10, 2007 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  2. gary paul, chicgo, il

    Race card from Obama? Gender card from Clinton? Both people are who they are. If one of them said otherwise, there would be a bunch of saying, "Oh, look! He/she refuses to embrace who he/she is." Just wait for CA when Streisand starts stumping (if she can get over her stage fright) for HRC. Then there will be 2 women. Oops! Which card is played now?

    December 10, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  3. Dustin, Utah

    So this is all it takes to bring out the bigots and hypocrites- or more to the point Republicans and Hillarites. Oprah using her fame to help deliver the message of her candidate of choice is no different than the countless other "endorsements" we've heard about. It's just another way to make a headline. To say that it is unethical is comical. I have much less of a problem with a billionaire media magnate speaking on behalf of a candidate than I do with a candidate taking so many contributions from billion dollar lobbyists. Convenient finger pointing again from the Clinton supporters.

    In Washington these days experience is just a glossed over term for corruption. It's time to embrace change and support free thinking once again.

    December 10, 2007 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  4. Hans, Burlington, VT

    No candidate really plays the election game any different. You break up everybody into demographics, and determine who’s votes you already have in your back pocket; the rest you have to fish for. You have to draw attention to yourself to “reach” people from another demographic, and pull them your way. What better way than to create a media circus.

    Politicians learn early that pandering to the media is essential to political survival. The more media coverage a candidate gets, the more the average American hears, talks, and considers voting for that particular candidate. In their speeches you hear the future sound bites: “The moment is now.“ “Ready to lead on day one.“ You never know what they actually stand for, they just repeat slogans. Also, are the other candidates just sitting around at home those days that Obama and Oprah tour around? No I’m pretty sure they’re campaigning too, just without any media luster.

    At the end of the primaries, we’ll end up with one candidate each from each party. New demographics must be draw from now, so an altered message will assuredly be issued with new sound bites and slogans to appeal to a broader audience. Every candidate is a “Uniter, not a divider” when they’re on the trail… but the last guy that said that (George Dubya) certainly hasn’t returned on that promise.

    December 11, 2007 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  5. Kennedy IOWA

    Its time the media stopped the unbiased reporting for the Clinton campaign! Does Oprah own CNN or MSNBC?

    Hillary has been attacked since this started by ALL the candidates running, democrat and republican, and has continued to be a strong, intelligent, completely capable leader with compassion and conviction, she makes me glad to be a woman! I’m ashamed of obama and Edwards for damaging their own party, is why Huckabee is gaining. All this playing with oprah will put a republican in the White House for certain. WOMAN OF AMERICA, THIS IS OUR TIME! STAND UP AND BE COUNTED, THERE IS NO LIMITS. Let the media say what they will about Clinton, it’s solely because she is a strong woman and that scares men like obama and Edwards. My dear grandmother is 86 and my youngest daughter is 10, both are extremely excited that a woman can be President of this great country. My daughter asks why a woman has never been elected before, because men didn’t allow it. I urge all women to really look at the issues and this country and vote for Clinton. Keep in mind all media outlets are selling papers and trying to attrack viewers, they love nothing more than candidates going after each other, when WE THE VOTER do not like it at all, I still believe that any of the democrats running are good candidates, I truly feel Clinton’s connections and clout with foreign countries is what we need ASAP. I do not feel confident that oprahbama biased support of obama will help him. We already see voters joking and billing it as the oprahbama show. She completely overshadowed him. She spoke well this weekend, but he failed to impress or add anything. That’s not good for this country. Oprahs is not the woman running for president, to help this country…its CLINTON. Give her the chance ladies! She has a long long record or public service helping children and minorities. Stick together and let’s make history for our mothers and daughters and ALL THE COURAGOUS WOMAN SENT TO THIS USELESS BUSH/CHANEY WAR!

    December 11, 2007 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
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