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On Super Bowl Sunday, a Rally By and For Women

By Karl Vick
LOS ANGELES -- Her husband having attended to the city's Latino east side on a visit last week, Michelle Obama on Sunday headlined a rally that captured the essence of LA's west side, where power and glitter reflect constantly on one another.

At Pauley Pavillion on the UCLA campus, Caroline Kennedy introduced Oprah Winfrey, who introduced the candidate's wife, who led Stevie Wonder to the microphone, after stumbling on steep stairs.

"I was so busy looking at Michelle the next First Lady that I kind of lost my head," Wonder quipped, before taking out a harmonica and leading the crowd of 6,000 in a melodic riff on the candidate's name.

First Lady of California Maria Shriver brought up the rear in a special guest appearance, entering to a cheer almost as big as the one that greeted Oprah's grand entrance to Aretha Franklin's "Think."

As she told it, Shriver's enthusiastic endorsement was a surprise even to her.

"I wasn't on the schedule," Shriver said. "I thought to myself when I woke up this morning, there's no place I should be but right here today."

The wife of Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said she arrived from a horse show, where her daughter had told her "'Mommy, if you think you can help, if you think you can change just one person, if you think you can make a difference, then go.'

"So I am here today as woman and as a Californian," Shriver said. "And I believe that elections are a lot like love. They're made up of moments."

There were several in the rally, overwhelmingly female and called on 24-hour's notice on Super Bowl Sunday. Winfrey came out swinging, confidently brushing back at critics of her involvement. She drew whoops by quoting women who called her a "traitor" for not supporting Hillary Clinton.

"I'm a free woman, and being free means you got to think for yourself," Winfrey said. "I'm just following my own truth and that truth has led me to Barack Obama."

"I'm not telling you what to think," she added., "I'm just telling you to think."

She came back even sharper to those who claim she supports the Illinois senator because of his race. "Don't play me small," Winfrey said. "I'm not voting for Barack Obama because he's black. I'm voting for Barack Obama because he's brilliant."

Michelle Obama worked the crowd impressively and at length, blending her own biography and her husband's into a stump speech that focused on economics and education.

But while her tone was as evangelical as the candidate's, Michelle Obama spent as much time and passion describing the shortcomings of contemporary society as invoking the inspiration her husband summons in the name of overcoming them.

"We need to fix our souls," she said. "Our souls are broken in this nation. We have lost our way. And it begins with inspiration. It begins with leadership."

If Shriver said the thing she liked best about Obama is that "he's not about himself. He's about us," the candidate's wife did not shy from exploring the implications of the theme.

"He is ready," Michelle Obama said, pushing aside criticism of Obama's resume. "That is not the question. The question is, what are we ready for? Because we say we're ready for change, but see change is hard. Change will always be hard. And it doesn't happen from the top down. We do not get universal health care, we do not get better schools because somebody else is in the White House."

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 3, 2008; 10:19 PM ET
Categories:  A_Blog , Barack Obama , Primaries , The Democrats , West  
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Next: Romney's Monday-Night Plans Up in the Air

Comments

ANDREW! A million thanks to you.

God bless you and your McCain vote as I vote for Obama.

No way am I voting for Billary, so if Obama's not in the GE? I may have to join you.

Thank you for understanding my thoughts above. White guys have NEVER gotten railed for supporting White guys so people need to leave Oprah and other blacks who support Obama -- if not because he's qualified, then because he won a 95% white state with Iowa and like 68% of all youth votes between 18-29 in SC and 1/4 of all white votes across the board there.

Some of you treat blacks like we're only cool with them when they support white people, from what this election has shown me. I thought racism was dead; it's just morphed.

You're right...the fact we're here is a weird sort of progress.

Take care bud.

Posted by: goldstate | February 4, 2008 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Before I speak my piece, I must say that I voted for Edwards in our primary (even though Howard Dean thinks my Florida vote should not count in the selection of a Democratic Candidate.) I have great admiration for both HRC and Obama. I think either will do a commendable job. But, I gotta tell ya, reading the comments from Obama supporters makes me lean toward HRC. Where is the hope, the positive message, that you preach? The attacks on Hillary here sound like they came from mean spirited right wing Republicans. Why not just speak for what inspires you about your candidate without tearing others down? This is not a sum zero game. If your message rings true it will be heard and will sway people. Why go out of the way to alienate people who you just might need in the months ahead? And, for the record, to cakemanjb . . . regardless of what you think of Hillary, if you don't have the clarity to note that she is a strong woman you've had your head in the sand for too long or it was not an evaluation but a chance to tear down someone to make yourself feel better. Think people . . . we all want the best America we can have. Even through our differences we should be able to agree on that.

Posted by: skott1 | February 4, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

My Bill Clinton fatigue began in 1996 when he triangulated to the right on welfare reform and terrorism based on a plane crash that was subsequently claimed to be an accident but suspected at first to be a terrorist downing. If Bill had resigned in 1999 after surviving the impeachment , President Gore would have won in 2000 and may have avoided 9-11 and we would never have the Iraq Fiasco. Now that Kucinich is gone, I am supporting Obama since H.R. Clinton has been and will continue to be too willing to intervene militarily as she did in Iraq and Afghanistan and she is still falling for the Bush bunk about Iran last fall.

Posted by: djw3505 | February 4, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

As I read the comments here, I am disheartened by the mean-spirited and toxic comments. What ever happened to smart, political discourse without leveling cute, cynical one liners? This isn't the Leno show. Reread some of the items here. I am a HRC supporter but will gladly support Obama if he is the nominee. After almost 8 years of the horrors of Bush/Cheney, I happen to agree with Michele Obama's metaphoric comment that "our souls are broken." Think Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, secret wire taps etc. With continued sniping between the Obama/HRC camps, we play right into "We may be there 100 years" McCain. Calm down, support your candidate and then get it together to face the Republican machine.

Posted by: Daisy77 | February 4, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

An appeal to Democratic Party voters in caucuses and primaries.

I appeal to all my democratic American brothers and sisters who are voting in the caucuses and primaries to select their presidential nominee. This appeal comes from a person from India, the biggest democratic nation.

Destiny awaits you. The greatest day in American history awaits you. The annals of history wait to be rewritten, provided you choose Hillary Clinton as your presidential nominee. Thus, for the first time in your history you won't have to say Americans never had a chance to elect a woman president. It doesn't end here.

I also appeal to Hillary Clinton to request, choose and declare Barack Obama as her vice presidential candidate. And I also appeal to Barack Obama to accept it in good faith, for better and not for worse. Thus, again for the first time in the history of this great nation you won't have to say we never had a black vice president.

KILL TWO BIRDS IN ONE SHOT! I wonder which Republican combination can challenge such a great duo.

Even in India we had woman prime minister and now president. And prior to as a nation, we had Queens like Rani of Janshi and others. Who have said that women are bad leaders or politicians? Why Americans have to shy away from electing a woman president? I know Americans are good people and they will all unitedly rise up to the occasion to elect a woman president and a black vice president, thus creating a new history in the history of this great nation.

Please pass this appeal to all your American friends without fail and especially to Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton. God bless you all.

GOD BLESS AMERICA.

From:

Ivo Oscar Faleiro.
Goa - INDIA.

Contact: ivofaleiro@gmail.com ; ivofaleiro@yahoo.co.in

Posted by: iofaleiro | February 4, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Find amazing the zeal of the Clinton advocates who do have a tendency to lay a little loose with truth...Like where state Hillary not been "convicted" but went too far in stating she has no "scandal" in past or present..UH, might to do a bit of fact checking before trotting that out more (think Obama's connection to that "slum lord" horrific, How about HSU ? or even Mark RIch RIch or brothers zbsolvement in accepting payments or...well, there IS a long list of QUESTIONABLES, whereas , the best all C's come up with is that one to use as something ominous, need to be held against majorly against Obama...uh, LOL and throw in a GBO too !!!)
For those that THINK somehow, a WOMAN slipped in as USA CIC is going to resonate all over the world ...uh, NOT REALLY for other countries have had such for some time...Thatcher, Bhutto, Mier, Ghandi's daughter and others...What USA is noted for as well around the world, is talking out of both sides, claiming equality available to all but , well , BUT...preferred is White, male, christian, miltary , etc....LOL, lots of lipservice elsewise, but the BUTS stand out and ARE noted as quite full of HYOCRISY IN ACTION, others are NOT ignorring, we only pretend they are !!! Remarkable Dem candidate field, one fem, one black (actually, one half black/white) both professed christian, both with "experience" (thou one gets truly short shrifted and little credit for his experience as not so totally entrenched in DC ) Some absolutely going to vote according to gender or race preferences, MORE will vote to endorse the truly best qualified to move this nation forward and frankly, rather than to continue to replay the muck and mire, it IS time for a new page, to get some new talent so obvious choice if looking for change is Obama but some will indeed prefer to cut off noses in spite of the obvious unfortunately !!!

Posted by: Bozly54 | February 4, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Bottom Line:

Like all of you. I know that health care is the most critical, and important issue facing the American people. Now, and in the coming elections. And like the vast majority of the American people, I want HR 676 (Medicare For All) passed into law NOW! "Single payer, Tax Supported, Not For Profit, True Universal Health Care" free for all as a right. Like every other developed country in the world has. See: http://www.house.gov/conyers/news_hr676.htm

"HR 676:
For church goers: less money to insur. companies and more to the church- lots more.
Srs on Medicare: save way over $100/wk. Because no more medigap, long term care & dental insur. needed. No more drug bills."

But if we the American people fail to bring enough pressure on our current politicians to get HR 676 passed into law before the elections. We will have to identify, and replace all the politicians standing in the way of passage of HR 676. And, I think the best first place to start is with the politicians that blocked the bipartisan SCHIP bills for the kids. Passed by congress twice.

But what about the President. It was Bush after all that blocked the bipartisan SCHIP bill passed by congress to assure more health coverage for Americas kids. So which of the presidential hopefuls do I think will be most supportive of implementing the demand of the majority of the American people to have HR 676 (Medicare For All) passed into law immediately!

We have some very fine presidential candidates who would make good presidents. But none of the top Presidential candidates directly support HR 676, the only true Universal Health Care plan. So I am supporting Hillary Clinton. She is the only top candidate that has ever actually fought for universal health care before.

I have enormous admiration, and respect for Hillary Clinton. She fought a pitched battle against overwhelming odds back in 1993. To prevent this disastrous health care crisis that is now devastating the American people, and America. She fought so hard for the American people that she risk almost completely destroying her husbands presidency. I haven't forgotten her heroic effort. If any Presidential hopeful for universal health care deserves my support, it's her.

Also, if we the American people fail to bring enough pressure on our government to give us HR 676 which we all so desperately need NOW! Then we will need the most skilled politician we can get on our side to broker the best health care plan for the American people that we can get. Though it will be less than we need, and less than we deserve. The politician I think to best do this is Hillary Clinton. The Clinton's are probably the most skilled politicians in American history.

The insurance industry, and medical industry that has been ripping you off, and killing you has given Hillary Clinton so much money because they fear her. They have also given Barack Obama so much money because they fear Hillary Clinton. They think they can manipulate Barack Obama against the best interest of the American people better than they can manipulate Hillary Clinton. There is no race issue with Hillary Clinton. The Clinton's are the poster family for how African Americans want white people to be towards African Americans.

As always, African Americans are suffering, and dieing in this health care crisis at a much higher rate than any other group in America. The last time there was any significant drop in the African American death rate was when Bill Clinton was president.

My fellow Americans, you are dieing needlessly at an astounding rate. In higher numbers than any other people in the developed world. Rich, and poor a like. Insured, and uninsured. Men, women, children, and babies. And we the American people must stop it. And fix it NOW! Keep Fighting!!! Never! give up hope. There are millions of lives at stake. Bless you all... You are doing great!

Posted by: JackSmith1 | February 4, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

While that is all very interesting, "cakemanjb", it strikes me as
1. Entirely a matter of opinion, and
2. Completely irrelevant to what I consider relevant criteria for my choice of President.

I'm more interested in the meaningful overhaul of our healthcare system, a broader participation in our economic prosperity, and a speedy exit from Iraq.
To each his own.

Posted by: zukermand | February 4, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Barack Obama's secret weapon is one that the Clinton's don't have an answer for. This secret weapon offers America and the world something that the Clinton's couldn't , even on there best day.

As someone that is old enough to remember another time and place in this country when the the American people was looking for a reason to have a sense of pride and the ability to dream big dreams with endless hope and possibilities for a better tomorrow. A young man came onto the world stage and changed this country with his inspiration and hope. The critics said it couldn't be done and he told us , we are going to the moon within 10 years, AND WE DID !

Here we are today decades later and America is once again watching another young man with a unique ability to lift people up with a sense of pride , honor and integrity and the ability to give people a reason to believe again, that our best days are yet to come. Someone that understands that real change comes from the bottom up , and all things are possible with the will of the American people behind you.

The vision of a young man that tells us "we are one people" and YES WE CAN.

Yes Barack Obama is one of them leaders that has the unique ability to break down the walls that divide us , and get us all on the same page as " ONE PEOPLE".

But Barack Obama's secret weapon is one that this country and the world can take pride in , it's one that the Clinton's don't have an answer for because, this secret weapon comes with Honor , Gracefulness , Integrity , Intelligence and the background of life experiences of real every day people.

MICHELLE OBAMA ...............OUR NEXT FIRST LADY

Posted by: cakemanjb | February 4, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

If an article this credulous and effusive ever appeared on this site about a Clinton campaign appearance, I might keel over in shock. (un)Fortunately, I needn't worry.

Posted by: zukermand | February 4, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Remember one thing. It was Bill Clinton's impeachment that gave us 8 disastrous years of George W. Bush. As for HRC being clean, how about Tsu. I can guarantee you that Rezko will not be sleeping in the Lincoln Bedroom, unlike the several scumbags and lobbyists that the Clinton's allowed in. Obama will not be pardoning sleazy allies of his either.

Posted by: tgl88 | February 4, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

To cakemanjb

HRC has not been accused and or convicted of any act of corruption OR even dirty Politics. Mr. Obama is all tied up with Rezko brought property from him. Please lets try and stick to the issues besides your unwarrented hatred of the Clintons. HRC has an in depth knoweledge of the policy issues and how to get legislation passed. HRC has the roledex of World Leaders to get things done Globally as well as Domesically. Obama while a talented orator is not an experienced political leader. Voting for Obama is like putting a first round draft choice into a starting roll before he has learned the play book. If he runs in the general election he will lose and if by chance he dosesn't lose the country will lose because we will have missed the opportunity to have a really bright intellegent and Experienced person in the White House. Yes she happens to be a women. And please don't recite the usually Republican mantra about Bill Sleeping around. Remember that was Bill not HRC. HRC kept her family together despite the horrible visious press, prosecutors and rediculous public opnion like yours. If you want the definition of a smart strong women put HRC picture in the dictionary. My guess you are a male intimatated by a strong women.

Posted by: politicalobserver1 | February 4, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I wasn't surprised about Maria's endorsement. So what? Who cares. Thanks natekng. I was wondering if I was the only thinking this. When Michelle on stage it looks like she is on some type of revival. And, they dare compare her to Bill Clinton. The bulk of the miniorities are behind Clinton. And, Obama has done nothing right from day one. He is so full of it. Look up his history. So far we know he was a buddy of a slum lord and now the story about the nuclear BS. WE DON'T KNOW WHO OBAMA IS..... Our country can't afford to play around.

You know I gotta say this. I know Hillary is the best candidate w/out a doubt. But let's pretend she isn't - she sure as hell can't be worse than Obama. A woman in the whitehouse will ring all over the world. That this country that prides itself on being the leader of equal rights finally has a woman in the whitehouse. GO HILLARY.

Posted by: oliviajimenez711 | February 4, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

What gets me more then anything is the women that think they have to vote for Clinton because she is a women. Hillary is a very poor example of a strong woman.

Maria , Michelle , Caroline ,Oprah

That is what strong woman look like. They do the right and honorable thing , even when its hard and maybe un-popular.

Lets face it , Hillary Clinton divides this country worse then George Bush , and The "CLINTONS" take the word scandal to a whole new level.

If your happy with a House divided and a do nothing congress , i can understand why your voting for more Clinton scandals in the "People's White House".

But if you want to see our elected leaders come together and actually get something done for this country , I HAVE ONE WORD FOR YOU.

OBAMA

Posted by: cakemanjb | February 4, 2008 4:48 AM | Report abuse

Goldstate - I don't agree that Obama's the best candidate in the race but thanks for pointing out the inherent racism in those who think that a black could only support Obama BECAUSE he's black. I'm a white male who supports McCain, so it would be just as accurate to accuse me of voting along racial/gender lines. It's sad how much of this racist nonsense is going around in this election, though I guess the very fact that race is an issue is in someways a sign progess, at least.

Posted by: andrew23boyle | February 4, 2008 4:25 AM | Report abuse

You cynics on this board are morons.

Unless you're slamming Chuck Norris - White Male - for supporting another White Male, Mike Huckabee, don't get racial with Oprah for supporting a 1/2-White-1/2 Black guy for president who as just as or more qualified than all others in the race.

As far has Hillary goes? Bill's got her covered, for better and mostly for worse.


Posted by: goldstate | February 4, 2008 3:58 AM | Report abuse

OWWW!! My SOUL! I think it's broken! I wish a bunch of women would get together and try to find a way to fix it!

What a bunch of sentimentalist tripe! We're so far away from the issues that we're discussing how to mend an etheral metaphysical concept whose very existence is open to question.

I wonder what would happen if a Republican candidate held a rally for men only? Just being petty there, I know, but I'm still curious.

Posted by: andrew23boyle | February 4, 2008 3:30 AM | Report abuse

Are you kidding me Eden? Corporate welfare is hugely responsible for the economic mess we're in right now and that's thanks to Bush and his cronies. I don't want to change Bush's special interests for Hillary's - they're pretty much the same anyway. I want change I can believe in and that's why I'm voting for Barack Obama. Hard to think of what could be worse than Bush....and it certainly isn't Obama. Eden, if you've been enjoying those Bush tax breaks, if you're part of that upper two percent, then we're coming for those breaks...because you were supposed to let them "trickle down." What a laugh that is...trickle down...the only thing that's been trickling down the last eight years is the economic life force of the middle class. Obama's gonna stop the bleeding.

Posted by: markiebee001 | February 4, 2008 2:32 AM | Report abuse

Fix our souls? Is Michelle Obama kidding? So I guess her husband is the second-coming of the One, the political Messiah to get our souls back on track? If this is not considered sheer arrogance, I don't know what is.

This country is going to the pits, in part, because of the shallow oprahzation/ trivialization of America - which, like fast-food, is destroying our culture with garbage.

Oprah made her billions off of white women, stressing "sisterhood", and now professes she is only endorsing Obama for his brilliance. Brilliance compared to whom, her? If race had nothing to do with it, why did Oprah pour millions of dollars into a designer boarding school for poor girls in South Africa, instead of America, where there are millions of poor, abused, underprivileged children without homes?

It's her money, so I guess it's okay if she feels the need to play "Oprah-Marie Antoinette" and turn out mini-Oprahettes. But she shouldn't lie and package it as if she was the Mother Theresa of African girls. If it wasn't all about feeding her own ego, she could have easily created hundreds of schools all over Africa to educate girls.

The 'race card' which was unfairly thrown at the Clinton's was initially started by Oprah when she went to South Carolina to stump for Obama. From the moment she started speaking in her 'suddenly-acquired' phony Southern accent, she was using the 'race' card to turn the African-American vote away from Clinton.

Oprah knows the effect she has in selling her books, and now wants to add another notch to her belt by claiming she is a president-maker. It's clear she wants a position in the White House...maybe Secretary of Greed.

Posted by: natekng | February 4, 2008 2:31 AM | Report abuse

Barack just lost my vote. Michelle for POTUS!

Posted by: bonsai5966 | February 3, 2008 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Everyone seems to be surprised that Shriver supported Obama today. Shriver is Oprah's buddy so why are you surprised? But here is the thing, Shriver is the first lady of California and if California's economic crisis is any reflection of Obama's Shriver support then our country is in for worse than Bush.

Posted by: edenz21 | February 3, 2008 11:42 PM | Report abuse

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