December 9th, 2007
08:17 PM ET
15 years ago

Oprah and Obama hit South Carolina football stadium

Watch the entire 20 minute introduction by Winfrey to a crowd of 29,000 in South Carolina.

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - The crowd traveled here from across South Carolina to see Oprah Winfrey speak, but the biggest applause line at Sunday's rally came straight from Barack Obama's stump speech: "The name George W. Bush will not be on the ballot" next year, he said to a huge roar from the audience.

"I'm sick of politics as usual," Winfrey told the crowd of 29,000 voters and 350 credentialed journalists at Williams-Brice Stadium, after an introduction from Obama's wife Michelle. "We need politicians who know how to tell the truth. But more importantly we need politicians who know how to be the truth."

Her speech, light on policy and heavy on the Illinois senator's message of change, was similar to the remarks she gave in Iowa on Saturday. But if the balmy weather and the football stadium weren't sign enough, it was clear from their speeches that they were in a different part of the country.

"I know something about growing up in the South," Winfrey said, calling it "amazing grace" that she was able to be on stage introducing Obama. "I know something about what it means to come from the South and be born in 1954."

Those recollections resonated with her audience, largely black and female. Black voters make up about 50 percent of Democratic primary voters in the state, which will hold its primary on January 26. Women make up about 60 percent of primary voters, according to an Associated Press poll released last week, and black women are being aggressively courted by both Obama and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.

That same AP poll showed Obama and Clinton tied for support among African-Americans in the state. A New Mason-Dixon poll, released Sunday, shows Clinton with a narrow 3-point lead among all likely Democratic voters.

Most women interviewed by CNN said they were already Obama supporters, although several said they were still deciding between Obama and Clinton. Nearly all said they were registered to vote.

Dozens of Obama volunteers worked the crowd lined up outside the stadium before the rally, cheerily passing out cards signing up supporters and verifying that the people who showed up to see Winfrey today were registered to vote. If not, they were ready with voter registration forms.

- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. Mel (Durham, NC)

    I was there in SC today. It was awesome! There is no doubt in my mind that Barack Obama is a gifted and visionary leader.

    He will be able to form a new majority in the United States – with democrats, independences, republicans, and even some of the others the Democratic version of Ronald Reagan!

    On the day Obama is inaugurated as President, he will restore my faith in government and good people.

    December 9, 2007 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  2. Shauna, Baltimore, MD


    December 9, 2007 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  3. Doug, Brentwood, Ca

    Obama and Oprah sound desperate: a lot of hype and precious little substance. The carnival atmosphere surrounding these rallies cheapens the whole campaign process and may ultimately backfire.

    December 9, 2007 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  4. Liberal Chic

    This woman says it right and says it well.

    December 10, 2007 12:01 am at 12:01 am |

    In the end, it is Obama that will be voted for and not Oprah. So what is all this noise? Oprah should have come out herself as a candidate. I don't think this is going to in anyway help Mr. Obama. People are just there to see Oprah. They are going to be disappointed after the primaries.

    Mike Huckabee is the man.

    December 10, 2007 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  6. Jerry,Denver,CO

    This man will make a fine President. We should consider ourselves lucky to have such an option after President what's his name. OBAMA '08!!!

    December 10, 2007 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  7. Jeff C Lorton, VA

    Yea, Oprah-Obama sounds stupid. Stop calling him that. I mean we are talking a possible President of the United States of America. Not the next freakin American Idol.

    December 10, 2007 12:42 am at 12:42 am |

    Yes, it is the Opie and Obie show.

    December 10, 2007 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  9. MidniteRyder Everytown USA

    LOL What about Oboprah instead? Or if the Diva demands top billing = Oprama

    Oops my bad – It's not politically polite to spoof the candidates whilst standing in the check-out line at the corner mini-mart!!

    I do wonder though WHY is it okay to solicit the black vote for Obama just cuz he's a brother BUT NOT okay for women to support Hillary just cuz she's a sister? Isn't that rather hypocritical... Double standards or good ole boy sorta thing?!

    December 10, 2007 04:08 am at 4:08 am |
  10. Independent in IA

    Windbag's racial rhetoric should have been an embarrassment to everyone who heard it.

    December 10, 2007 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  11. Sue, St Louis, MO

    Obama is not a brave man, usually ambitious people aren't. When criticizes he runs toward others – like Oprah, or Bill Cosby, or even Sen. Durbin. In his speeches I hear the words of a great man, Sen Paul Douglas, a big man with even a bigger heart, snowy hair with twinkling blue eyes that saw beneath the sham and the tawdry and moved this country together – not apart. and who stood in Congress and shamed the members for their bias and discrimination. It is no wonder that the late Sen Douglas was awarded the Conscience of Congress. Yet, oddly enough, I hear too much of Paul Douglas's words issued out of Obama's mouth, and not enough of Obama words – Obama does that – lifts the words of hope off of other people and shifts it a bit and sends it out into the crowd who wolf it up. Yet the bare facts – it is not his words – it is plagiarized. More than that, it is deceitful because it is not the real heart of Obama.

    The real heart of Obama is an ambitious intellectual. Therein is his flaw. I think of Obama sitting in the Oval office, and it is not nice. He has not been tempered by life's challenges, he has been indulged by life's benefits. To me, a man, or woman, must have tempered steel that forms his backbone. Obama's backbone is made of plastic. Worse yet, the media do not challenge him – they fear the race card – and it is what Obama plans to capitalize upon. It is what
    Obama has avoided all his life – the challenges. It is what he needs in the coming years – experience – then it will be time to run for president, but not now.

    December 10, 2007 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  12. Sick of Oprahbama!

    Go Oprah! We ALL know if anyone can’t take the attention off of obama’s no experience lack of leadership, refusing to show up and vote in the senate on Iran, Abortion measures etc... Seeking a trillion-dollar tax hike and raising the retirement age for Social Security!!!! Is not in favor of a health care plan to cover all children rich or poor and that he cannot make a decision on his own.

    You can….YOU have disgraced American woman, YOU ARE A DISGRACE TO THE FEMALE GENDER OPRAH! SHAME ON YOU, now as a last ditch effort you throw Dr Kings name at the black voters, now American knows where you stand on race…


    December 10, 2007 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  13. Maryann Witford. IOWA

    WAKE UP AMERICA! Its time we stop playing with Oprah and elect a QUALIFIED PRESIDENT!!! not just a man because he’s black and oprah says so, she may know soap and books, but why in he world would anyone jeopardize your future because a TV talk show host said so?... This weekends Oprah circus, will not help obama, its make us all realize Oprahs running the show not obama...Our great country needs a qualified leader, maybe if oprah was legally running, but obama is….

    Glad the dog and pony show is over
    Oprah is a shame to her gender, yes the same gender that made her who she is today and she turns her back on them in a second when race is involved...

    I think its time WE ALL tune out the oprahbama show, and let’s elect a REAL Presidential candidate like CLINTON!

    December 10, 2007 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  14. Joe, Indianapolis,IN

    For all you losers who keep talking about Obama's lack of experience, you need to dwell on something else because it's not something Americans really care about. This abstract term "experience" would have 50 different meanings to 50 different people, so no one really has the "experience" to be president (unless they've actually been in that office before). So if you want to get technical about it, all of the candidates are equally inexperienced. Plenty of people have been elected president with far less "experience" than Obama and have done a great job. Further, plenty of "experienced" people have been elected to the office and have been ineffective and/or did dumb stuff while there (Richard Nixon, for example). How much experience did you have for your little job before you started? Was that a reflection of how you would perform in the position? What if your employer had shut the door on you? The man meets the qualifications to be president. That's good enough for me...and it should be good enough for you. Be thankful the constitution allows any citizen who meets the basic quailifications to run for office. If you're so smart and want someone with more experience, why don't you get the experience and run in 2012? Now is your chance to get started!!! Otherwise, shut your pie hole!

    Further, I don't think any tax hike Obama implements would compare to what the most incompetent, "forgetful", irrational, and stubborn president in history has done with our tax dollars in the Middle East. You can be sure that Obama won't put the next three generations in debt like the Republicans and George Bush have done. For those anti-Obama and anti-democratic voters who voted for the "moral majority" and the "fiscally conservative" Republicans that were in office...shame on you! I get a big laugh out of how all of you were fooled into voting for Bush only to end up embarrassed more and more each week by this "guessing game" he's been playing for over 7 years now. You though you were voting for "the issues" but it turns out you were voting for more money to line the pockets of the wealthy who live in this country. No one else has benefited from what's been happening since 2000. Well, it's all about to be over.

    This guy Mike "Chuckle"-bee will lose the election if he's the Republican nominee. I guarantee it. LOL

    December 10, 2007 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  15. hattrick

    I'd rather vote for Oprah than Obama. She has a better chance of winning the electoral college then he does!

    December 10, 2007 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  16. xtina chicago IL

    Obama doesn't have a track record of success in his job in Illinois, compared with Gov. Romney who was elected to and ran a state known for being Democratic; Romney is much more experienced with economic matters, an example is his amazing and almost unbelievable turnaround of the Salt Lake Olympics. Mayor Guiliani reduced crime by over 50 % in NY, a city Time Magazine called "ungovernable". What has Obama done, leadership wise, not in taxing us for more social programs- to compare?

    December 10, 2007 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  17. Jim, Irmo, SC

    It was the best campaign event I have ever been to. Naturally there was much enthusiasm. But, and something I did not expect, most people were there to see Obama. Oprah gave a very good speech. But it was the substantive nature of Obama's speech that really sold me. He could have just rallied, instead he gave a clear vision of his platform and his vision for America.

    December 10, 2007 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  18. A.N.Stanley, Niceville FL

    G.W.Bush's name will not be on the ballot next year, and, honey, neither will the name of Barack Obama/Winfrey.

    December 10, 2007 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  19. Megha, San Antonio, TX

    Clinton 08
    Obama 16
    Get the dems in power!

    December 10, 2007 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  20. ronnie knoxville, tn.

    forget george bush – he's not running for president. those who do invoke him are just wearing their revenge on their sleeve, which is not the best way to vote for President

    December 10, 2007 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  21. MarkieBee, Sacramento, Calif.

    To Sue, St Louis, MO. I'm sure a lot of people from your fair state said the same thing about Abe Lincoln when he was being sworn in and he had just two years as an Illinois state legislator when he became arguably our best president. You know why? Because he had incredible intelligence, courage and God-given common sense. Those trump experience any day of the week. Liek Obama says, Cheney and Rumsfeld were very experienced people who lorded over perhaps the worst foreign policy blunder in our nation's history. What they really needed was common sense. Why did Cheney think in 1994 that invading Iraq could be a huge mistake and then in 2003 he thought it was a great idea. He knew nothing had changed fundamentally in Saddam's WMD status yet he wanted to go in thinking it would be so easy. Well, Obama knew exactly what would happen. He had the intelligence to see the country for what it truly was and the intelligence to see what would happen if we invaded. He had to courage to speak out against the war when it was unpopular and he had the common sense to know that it would cost us too many lives and too much treasure. I'll take those traits of Washington experience any day. But let's look at elected legislative experience between the three front-runners on the Democratic side shall we? John Edwards – six years U.S. Senate. That's it. No substantive bills AUTHORED or passed. Hillary Clinton – seven years U.S. Seante. That's it. No substantive bills AUTHORED or passed. Barack Obama – 11 years state and U.S. senate. Sweeping ethics reform and childcare bills AUTHORED and passed in Illinois and a nuclear non-proiferation bill co-AUTHORED and passed in the U.S. Senate. So I'd say Obama has plenty of experience and more than stacks up against his two top opponents.

    December 10, 2007 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  22. Lynda, Olympia Washington

    Obama is great at talking about hope for the future. He can be inspiring. However, our country needs much more than an inspirational speaker to fix our issues. We need someone like Hillary like her or not, that will stand up to the tyrants around the globe.

    The times require someone who is willing to come to the table and negotiate yet not give the table away as a good faith gesture.

    I would ask those that support Obamba if they are supporting him because they like him or because they really believe he has the skill and knowledge to do more than inspire us with speeches?

    December 14, 2007 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
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