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Wag the Blog: The Oprah Effect

The three-state tour by Oprah Winfrey in support of the presidential candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) over the weekend dominated political coverage in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina as well as nationally.

Nearly 67,000 people total attended the events (29,000 or so each in Iowa and South Carolina and 8,500 in New Hampshire, according to the Obama campaign, and more than 4,000 volunteers gave of their time.

These mind-boggling stats were provided by the Obama campaign in an email to reporters on Monday. The goal? To prove that the Oprah events weren't simply another celebrity-soaked event in a campaign that has been full of them but rather a real groundswell of support that will give them a leg up come next month. (The Associated Press' Nedra Pickler has more on how the Obama campaign is seeking to turn attendees into caucus goers.)

For this week's Wag the Blog question, we want to know what you think the "Oprah Effect" -- or lack thereof -- will be on Obama's campaign. Celebrity endorsements (or any endorsement, for that matter) tend to be of limited usefulness but is Oprah a figure so revered within popular culture --her stamp of approval made Dr. Phil "Dr. Phil" and she sells books by the millions by voicing her approval -- that she is a game changer for Obama in the three states she visited?

As always, the most thoughtful/insightful comments will be excerpted in their own post later this week.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 11, 2007; 7:25 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Comments

"Has anyone cared to look at the big Republican bucks going into the Obama and Clinton campaigns. There is a reason.


Posted by: afellow | December 13, 2007 09:35 AM
"

I see the right -wing money going to clinton. also fox, which chaps my hide. Elighten me on obama's gop money? Or are you propogating for edwards?

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | December 13, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

"Have you really tried to make sense of his attempts at forming policy?
"

Expand on that. If you do not know his plicies, go chekc them out

http://www.barackobama.com/

Specify your complaints and I wil enlighten you. I take offense to you rassertion. Nobody on this blog reads and listens to more about politics than me. I am for obama. Oprah helps him. See is not the act. She is a sideshow. Don't get cought up in the sideshow. Go to the main tent. Read about his policies then come back with specific complaints. Or take the right-wing propognadist road and attack lie spin and discredit

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | December 13, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Oprah's impact will have an effect on the passive voter, those who don't bother to read but take the word of spin doctors or 30-second Madison Avenue advertisements.

Unfortunately, we have too many passive voters today who don't read the pages and pages of excellent campaign information printed in this and other newspapers daily. Obama may be a fine person, but just what does he believe in? Have you really tried to make sense of his attempts at forming policy?

However, you are talking to a John Edwards' supporter. I have seen this guy up close, talked to him, and this is the real thing. Even Jesse Jackson called him the only candidate in either party with a plan of action.

I was thinking about George Bush Sr.'s action plan for the first Gulf War. In minutes he was able to put together an effective coalition throughout the world. Why? Because he was seasoned. He knew the players. Who does Obama know on the international scene?

Let face it. Everyone likes a new face and sucks up their words for a new vision. Rhetoric goes far in America which is always looking for new heros.

At this point an Edwards-Richardson or Edwards-Clinton ticket is unbeatable in the fall. Anything else hands the presidency to the Republicans.

Has anyone cared to look at the big Republican bucks going into the Obama and Clinton campaigns. There is a reason.

Posted by: afellow1 | December 13, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

"When it comes to the serious business of running the country, Madeline Albright, Robert F. Kennedy Jr, Bob Rubin, General Wesley Clark are the celebrities who count - all strong supporters of Senator Clinton.

Posted by: rrlieberma | December 12, 2007 01:43 PM
"

HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAAHHAHA

Sorry

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | December 12, 2007 6:32 PM | Report abuse

"Like her or not, Oprah Winfrey has built her empire on hard work and integrity. Put her side to side with Bill Clinton, who would you believe?"

Whoa. On point. It boils down to who can you trust. I trust obama. I may be wrong. But who can you trust more than Obama to do what's right for their country? As opposed to one party, or defesne contractors drug companies.

Who will take the power from the corporations and give it to the people? Obama will. Edwards MAY. But Obama WIll, with the support of true patriots. If he gets the nomination, we will see who the patriots are. And who are partisan hack propogandists are.

On point post, miss :)

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | December 12, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Those who underestate the power of Oprah Winfrey do so at their peril. She's far more than a celebrity or a bookseller. Millions of women turn to her for guidance on how to live their lives. That may not sound like substance but it calls to mind a statement she made last weekend: "I'm not hear to tell you how to think. I'm here to ask you to think."

I've frequently rolled my eyes at Oprah but have great respect for her. She takes complete responsibility for her life and tells others to do the same for their own.

Like her or not, Oprah Winfrey has built her empire on hard work and integrity. Put her side to side with Bill Clinton, who would you believe?

Posted by: GordonsGirl | December 12, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I think Oprah helps in two regards: first, she gets people who weren't paying attention to pay attention and second, she slightly nudges her fans--who were predisposed to Obama anyway--into his corner.

Posted by: neduggin | December 12, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

When it comes to the serious business of running the country, Madeline Albright, Robert F. Kennedy Jr, Bob Rubin, General Wesley Clark are the celebrities who count - all strong supporters of Senator Clinton.

Posted by: rrlieberma | December 12, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

I would like to address myself to Judith. Your comments have a strong racial tinge to them and that makes me cringe. Obama and Oprah make me enormously proud to be AMERICAN. Our country has been savagely shredded by the Republicans since 1968. INHO, Nixon, Reagan, and both Bushes are a source of tremendous shame to our country. Both Bushes are oil-industry lackeys. Tom Delay evokes a sense of shame as an American. Both Obama, Oprah, Richardson, Villaraigosa, etc. are proud examples of how far minorities have come in our nation. We still have a long way to go, but what we are witnessing was unthinkable fifty years ago. Every time I see Obama, I see a class act from A to Z. He is the classic wholesome, next-door type, All-American that embodies our nation. Add foreign affairs to the mix and, IMHO, the Republicans would be at a total loss against an OBAMA-RICHARDSON ticket. Our country has to muster up all the internal fortitude necessary and embark upon a comprehensive healing process that transcends politics and strives to cure the most basic component of our country, namely, WE THE PEOPLE.
Richard Cadena
Mexico City

Posted by: RickCadena | December 12, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

I think the Obama campaign has been very smart about the way they have dealt with the Oprah endorsement, which if mishandled could have in fact damaged the campaign.

The polling tells us that voters overwhelmingly don't believe that an Oprah endorsement would make them more like to vote for Obama, but they DO believe her involvement makes it more likely that other people will vote for him.

What does this mean? To me it means that voters recognise Oprah's phenomenal ability to influence public opinion, and generally are themselves well disposed towards her, but they do not think of themselves as the sort of people who vote on this basis.

Truthfully, though, we are all as likely to be influenced in our votes by the trivial as by the significant. This doesn't make us bad or trivial people, it merely demonstrates that people are inclined to read patterns into anecdotes. My Dad, a lifelong Republican is voting for Obama but would never vote Hillary - so I'm inclined to think Obama has a better chance with independants. Intellectually, I know that this is not a valid way of forming those judgement - I should be looking at carefully controlled statistical samplings of the views of independant voters - but intuitively it feels right and somehow that has a stronger influence on me than dry stats.

So, in terms of the Oprah influence, the campaign has been careful to always say that they don't expect anyone to change their vote based on her say so. However, they are using her name and influence as a way of getting people along to events, encouraging them to donate, and stimulating them to volunteer. It's ridiculous to say that anyone should vote for Obama because Oprah likes him - but an undecided voter who likes Oprah is going to listen to what she has to say, come along to her event (which they did in droves last week), and at least think twice about her candidate. The cumulative effect of this is that at least some voters who were leaning another way will wind up voting for Obama in the end. Did they change their mind "because of her"? Ultimately, yes.

But it would offend them to suggest this is what is happening, because they see themselves as making voting decisions for more "serious" reasons. So it's delicate, but so far the campaign has handled it very well, in my view.

Posted by: karinjr | December 12, 2007 7:33 AM | Report abuse

1. On paper the Oprah gambit (as it will forever be known in the annals of American political history) looks brilliant as a tactic to undercut Hillary's base among women.

The only problem is that Oprah's true megaphone is her television show. *That's* the vehicle that publishers want to hook into (with the "book club", etc).

I'm not home early enough to know if she has endorsed Obama on her t.v. show or not (I don't think she has). I would think that would probably make a bigger splash than the rallies.

2. As a woman who occasionally enjoys Oprah as a "guilty pleasure", her endorsement got my attention (for a a few minutes, right after dinner and before I took a look at the bills and my kitchen remodeling project) -- but that's about it. Then again, Obama has never been my first or second choice. I'm still waiting for a first tier candidate who is anti-amnesty on immigration, pro-withdrawal from Iraq, pro-civil liberties, and fiscally conservative. To all the Paulites out there: notice I wrote *first tier*.

3. If I were the Obama campaign, I'd try to use her a lot more closer to election day. Her personality could be enough to fire up some voters for a "get out the vote" type event.

Posted by: heartlandmoderategal | December 11, 2007 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Wow, this goes to show that this presidential election is nothing but a popularity contest, not on what Americans need to focus on.

Posted by: kiwircwb | December 11, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

The question isn't how big will the bump be for Obama. I think Rich Harwood has it right when he asks, "Now what, Oprah?": http://www.theharwoodinstitute.org/ht/d/Blogger/pid/185

Posted by: ericuus | December 11, 2007 6:36 PM | Report abuse

The typical reacton to the non-Obama supporters will be:
I got to see Oprah!!!
Wait, Barak who?

Posted by: ctown_woody | December 11, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

If Oprah does for Obama as she has done for tearjerker books about abused women, it will mean that a good number of Americans have turned into lemmings.

Posted by: femalenick | December 11, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

In Oprah's support of Obama, I heard nothing of substance, no mention of his policies, only how she feels about him. People may buy a book or a face cream based on how she feels (if they don't like it just put on a shelf and forget it) but actually go and vote for someone a month or more from now? No one who was looking for substance will be moved and feelings are fleeting.

Posted by: bjwl43 | December 11, 2007 6:17 PM | Report abuse

judithstocks writes " Obama is not electable and he is woefully inexperienced. This country will not elect a man of color. And Winfrey has a school in South Africa and is now supporting a black man. You bet she's color blind. What flagrant hypocrisy


Experience got us into Iraq. Sound judgement which Obama has will get us out. To not vote for someone because of skin color is racist,stupid & ignorant. Are you supporting Hillary because she's a white woman judithstocks? Can you see how ridiculously silly that sounds? Now try this..maybe just maybe Oprah is supporting Obama because she believes him to be the best candidate. BTW..for the record celebrity endorsements mean nothing to me..I make up my own mind.

Posted by: mazd273 | December 11, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is a good Senator. She'll make a great successor to Harry Reid in which capacity she can work to put President Obama's and the country's programs in place. The democratic party is fortunate to have so many able leaders as we enter the watershed year 2008. I'm sure Joe Biden will do wonders as Secretary of State or Vice President.

Posted by: rich5 | December 11, 2007 4:59 PM | Report abuse

"It's yet another post by a Hillary supporter that contains no actual reasons to vote for Senator Clinton, just a series of attacks on her opponents. Very convincing.

Posted by: Blarg | December 11, 2007 03:08 PM

"

yOU ARE, BY YOUR ACTIONS. cLINTON talks act's and plays politics like a republcain. So I'll call her one. Her support is driven by republcains who are disillusioned with their CULT. Can't say I blame them. By choosing Clinton you are choosing bush. No change, more of the same.

America wants change. If the republcains or moderates do not hear that, or fail to listen due to racism stubborness or what have you, why should the other side care? If the republcains say "screw the left, they're terrorists". Why should I fear of pity you? Can I recipracate?

Remember how you ran the country gop and moderates. Remember how you treated the least amoungst you. i don;t want to hear any complaining when the tables have turned. Eventually, they will. Maybe not now, but one day.

You better stop dividing the country GOP and moderates. When the unity movement the left is implaying you are coming across as obstructionist, bribe taking, fascist cowards. Fear the future gop.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | December 11, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Why is everyone getting so excited and worked up over Oprah's endorsement of Obama. The fact remains he is still an inexperienced candidate who has NO CHANCE of winning the presidency. This is all hype and our countries infatuation with celebrity. If I had any thoughts of supporting Obama, (and I don't) Oprah has dispelled any and all of them with her admission that in the past she has voted Democrat and Republican. (I quess you could call her a "Republicrat".) She obviously has no allegiance to a particular party and I wonder if she has even voted in the past. GET over it folks! Most of the people who came to the rallies came merely for the spectical of the whole affair, and spectical it was. Why should we listen to Oprah any more than someone else who might actually care about what happens to the average citizen. I don't see her using her celebrity to push for universal healthcare or dealing with the homeless situation that you see in virtually every major city you visit. Since she has such a bully pulpit she should use it to foster real change and not this catchy slogan that Obama's handlers have come up with.

Posted by: floyd.lewis | December 11, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I took a friend to see Obama last night in L.A. She has been a strong Edwards supporter. Oprah was not there - she did not need to be. This was the Gibson Universal Amphitheater which seats about 7,000 - it was packed. The crowd was exrememly diverse, with about a 60/40 balance college-aged to middle-aged and older. We were among the latter. Johnny Resnick of the Goo Goo Dolls introduced Senator Obama. Do we care what Johnny Resnick thinks? NOT AT ALL! But we are not asked to and none of you are being TOLD what to do or who to vote for. Anyone who balks at a celebrety endorsement is just being childish.
Obama is an amazing speaker, as we already knew. But I have never seen a "politician" so humble, intelligent and comfortable in his own skin. His personna is Every Man.
My friend came out feeling like Obama might be the better choice when thinking of the bigger picture and our place in the world. He is someone who could affectively speak with hostile nations and find reason and compromnise - no small feat!
Oprah is a wonderful portal for those who have not heard him speak. So in that way, she will help his campaign. The portal is to the future of our country, and Obama is the future that we need right NOW.

Posted by: sheridan1 | December 11, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

The Oprah effect will be felt through its effect on women voters, who are on the fence. It will make many like Obama more and it keeps Clinton on her toes and maybe her heals in gaining the women vote. I have heard Mark Penn speak about women voters and how they are key target for Clinton, if Obama splits the women vote or wins it Hillary is toast.

Posted by: Ramblingman | December 11, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

judithstocks writes: "...Winfrey has a school in South Africa and is now supporting a black man. You bet she's color blind. What flagrant hypocrisy. And the way Obama fawned over her was disgusting..."

Just another little taste of the racism and male bashing by the feminst twits composing the Clinton corps! The fact is, Judith, there are a whole of us nominally Democratic voters (I've never voted for a Republican in my life) that will not only not vote for Clinton, we wont vote for *any* Democartic candidate if you succeed in sticking us with that late over-ripe Thanksgiving turkey of a candidate. Hillary Clinton is a crook, an anti-worker, radical feminstist creep, a disgrace, and only someone with a complete lack of self respect and morals would even consider her for dog catcher, much less President.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | December 11, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

So, to sum up Judith's argument, Obama is a bad candidate because he's black and was endorsed by Oprah. Judith prefers Hillary Clinton, who's a good candidate because...well, look at that! It's yet another post by a Hillary supporter that contains no actual reasons to vote for Senator Clinton, just a series of attacks on her opponents. Very convincing.

Posted by: Blarg | December 11, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

judithstocks writes
"I found the whole circus embarassing and devoid of substance. The same holds true for Striesand. Why don't these people stay home and shut up. My candidate is Senator Clinton and she will sweep Super Tuesday and be the nominee."


Should someone point out to Judith that Barbara Streisand endorsed Sen Clinton, or would that be too much for her to handle?

Posted by: bsimon | December 11, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

plathmann writes
" if voting were as easy as buying anna karenina online or at wal-mart, the oprah effect would be locked up. right now, it's just as unpredictable as attendance at the iowa caucuses."

That's all true. But, I don't think the target audience is people who won't finish anna karenina, to use the book metaphor. Instead, the target audience is the group of consumers who were going to read Catch 22 and convince them to pick up anna karenina instead.

In any case, it will be interesting to see how the polls shake out late this week & early next week. If there's an 'Oprah' bump, it should be most pronounced in SC.

Posted by: bsimon | December 11, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

The day I vote for someone a celebrity endorses is the day I stop going to the polls. Who does she think she is? The Queen of America. NO! So Lady I will never vote for Obama. I found the whole circus embarassing and devoid of substance. The same holds true for Striesand. Why don't these people stay home and shut up. My candidate is Senator Clinton and she will sweep Super Tuesday and be the nominee. Obama is not electable and he is woefully inexperienced. This country will not elect a man of color. And Winfrey has a school in South Africa and is now supporting a black man. You bet she's color blind. What flagrant hypocrisy. And the way Obama fawned over her was disgusting. I cannot imagine 4 years of that family in the White House. What has the man accomplished for the people who sent him to the Senate? Not a thing. If the Obama supporters think the good people of Ohio, Indiana, Nevada, Mexico, Florida, Colordo will vote for him, you are out of touch with reality. The day Winfrey tells me "TO THINK" is the day she can rest assured I will.

Posted by: judithstocks | December 11, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Well said DAve. And that is what Sen Obama is counting on. It can't hurt him, other than with repbuclains and they're not voting for him anyway).

I just like to hear the republcain arguements. Hysterical to me. Anyone else buying the gop line, that this hurts Obama? i don;t get it. I guess the street only runs one way. In 08 we cahgne that. Accountability is back, for politicans, in 08. Now you know why the republcains are dropping like flies

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | December 11, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

The Oprah endorsement has made me rethink my previous position that endoresments are close to meaningless. O is not just an entertainer, she is a category all her own - part businesswoman, part entertainer, part friend, part mentor, part leader to tens of millions of people. I read several comments that suggested that based on her endorsement, people would more likely go to his website and check him out since he has now received the seal of approval from O. But I actually think it goes further. Much the same way people are willing to buy a book just because it makes her list regardless of other reviews or popularity, I think people will "buy" Obama - meaning be willing and ready to vote for him. I heard it described to me like "Given the other choices, what's to lose?" People (mostly women) believe in what O says and trust her judgement. Given the state of politics and the lack of energy surrounding the other top candidates, I would bet there will be many a woman who will vote for Obama, mostly based on O's endorsement. Additionally, I think the fact that this is her first endorsment ever and that this is who she chose to make it on makes it easier for people to get over any reservations they may have on voting for a black man - if O is willing to chance it, so am I.

Posted by: dave | December 11, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Oprah's job was to get people out to hear Sen Obama. Mission Accomplished!If Obama picks up a few more votes because of it,that's icing on the cake. Obama's job was once folks were there to sell them on his campaign,to get people especially women to take a longer look at his candidacy. It is his hope that after hearing his ideas women white & black will lean to an Obama candidacy. After his speech at the Jefferson/Jackson event in Iowa,Obama picked up steam. Bringing in Oprah was a treat to the Iowa female population and may garner additional support. Oprah's appeal may be of more substance in South Carolina. Black fenale support for Hillary is strong in S. C. because of their affection for Bill Clinton. By getting 29K to the football stadium,the majority being black women it gave Obama an audience he may not have garnered on his own. There he was able to make his pitch to black women who may well hold the key to any candidates success in South Carolina.

Posted by: mazd273 | December 11, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

there will without a doubt be an oprah effect. just like the book club phenomenon, there will be a spike in opinion polls. just as publishers sold more copies of tolstoy, so pollsters might get a higher percentage on voters who view obama "favorably." but the spike doesn't necessarily translate into votes.

the convenience of consuming is drastically different from the not-so-convenient civic duty of voting. it's not like oprah tells her viewers things they don't already know: that Anna Karenina
is great book is probably swimming in the back of their minds someplace. they hear oprah is reading it, and they might think to themselves, "hey, oprah's reading the classics, and i should too. now i have a 'friend' [Oprah] who can help me along." they go to their computer and buy it on amazon or barnes and noble, or, they pick up by the check-out at wal-mart or target (places which may not have carried a lot of copies of tolstoy before). thus the oprah effect for publishers.

now, does the same woman (who may not be a regular reader) sit down and read all 800 pages? maybe, but most likely not. regular life (the things we do everyday) gets in the way of reading (something we're excited about doing but can't make the time for) just like regular life gets in the way of making it over to the church or school to vote (something we may be equally excited to do but don't get around to). if voting were as easy as buying anna karenina online or at wal-mart, the oprah effect would be locked up. right now, it's just as unpredictable as attendance at the iowa caucuses.

Posted by: plathman | December 11, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

"she asks Americans substitute her judgment of Barack's so-called wisdom for standard professional credentials"

No. she does not do this. Thsi is a lie. She merly asks for peopel to take a serious look. Unlike the gop, liberals/democrats are not the borg. We are free to vote and endorse we we choose. No loyalty pledges. We don;t need them. It goes agaisnt america.

What oprah is doing is trying to get americans to look past the attacks and smears. The swift-boating. To really look at the issues, not hide from them. When you talk of experiance. What is the poll on if americans think america is headed in the right direction? What is it 10%? So if most americans think politics in america is headed in the WRONG direction, why would you want a poltician endebted to that system? A slave to it.

You show your face. Put more bumber stickers on your car, it may sway votes. He he he. LEt people make their own minds up for once. what are you scared of? if you will not vote for obama, fine. But don't sabotage him. he is our next presidnet. He has done nothing to deserve the attacks lies and smears he gets from the right, AND MODERATES. I hope he remembers when he is elected, and holds no mercy on the fascists. ALtough he is better than that. I wouldn't hold it agaisnt him if he recipracated. Shut down fox, liek fox tried to do to the left. Shut down all the propogandists liek the right did to the dixie chicks rosie opie and anthoney and so on.

Hold no mercy for the fascists. They hold none on him. He must no sumbit to the racist republcains. he must fight them. Their numbers are dying out and are not what they once were. The gop party is not what people perceived it in the past. We see it now. As a result the gop is done. not the libs fault or Obama. It is their own fault. The gop showed it's fascist face 01-06. The american people rejected it. Back in the basement for another 50 years they go. Enjoy your irrelevance. You've earned it.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | December 11, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Oprah is, if nothing else, a very talented and good business woman and judge of character. Her book recommendations have gotten millions of people to read books and think about issues that they would not ordinarily do. Her diets and health recommendations, since she *lives them* herself, have made millions of people healthier. Her show is an oasis of critical thought in the soap opera cow flop field of daytime television. Oprah isn't some bimbo actress or Hollywood insider. People understand that and her support of Barak Obama comes from her heart. Do not discount the effect or consequences of her campaigning for and support of Mr. Obama.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | December 11, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

"Do we accept Barack Obama as president on the authority of Oprah, the celebrity talk show host? "

do you support any candidate based on union endorsements? How about abortion groups or "right to life groups"? Should they not endorse?

Hypocrite gop. If it is not your way all the time you take you rball and go home. You people are just mad because nobody will support your candidates. You got Chuck norris. WHHOOOAA. Chuck norris. he ended his film carrer in the 80's.

I can't blame anybody for not endorsing the gop. Their embarrassed by lack of leadership and accountability. Can you blame them. This is america. LEt whoever endorse who they choose. Stop sabotaging the process republcains with your propoganda. It's sad.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | December 11, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Do we accept Barack Obama as president on the authority of Oprah, the celebrity talk show host? Expertise not in government but entertainment, she is recognized for her talk show and conglomerate-entertainer, producer, and business woman.

Barack is vying for US president, chief government executive and supreme military commander, with legislative but no recognized executive or military qualifications; he is not running for President and Celebrity-in-Chief of the United States of Entertainment.

Oprah speaks personally-a friend and fundraiser for Obama; three years known and three million dollars raised.

Oprah encourages us to substitute Barack's life experience for professional qualifications; character, vision, wisdom, and record as community organizer; IL and US senator suffice. She knows he "is the one," timely and ordained for America.

But does she divine and apply the same hiring standard to pilots, doctors, lawyers, and teachers; unnecessary are professional qualifications and competence, but likable people with life experience suffice? Working in a soup kitchen, voting on a referendum, supporting the local incumbent-it proves competent the FA-18 fighter pilot, heart surgeon, criminal defense lawyer, physics professor, structural engineer...and the next US president!

But she may reply, "That's how people are hired in Chicago; the standard is right for America too!"

Oprah generates a fictitious idealized Utopian savior-president image and identifies it with America; she projects Barack Obama into this image and recommends him as that image; she asks Americans substitute her judgment of Barack's so-called wisdom for standard professional credentials; she attempts to persuade America to accept her judgment in place of reason.

Common standards used to assess professional competence, especially with respect to the powers and duties of the US president, apply to Barack Obama no less than to any; projecting Barack Obama into a fictitious presidential image and recommending him based on it is sophistry.

Posted by: shaunie4u2001 | December 11, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

claudialong - Let me try to expain McCains position on illegal immigration, at least insofar as I understand it. McCain believes (and Mark_In_Austin, a pretty knowledgeable attorney agrees) that children born here are legally U.S. citizens, even though the mothers may have illegally crossed to border to have them here and, even, in some cass merely "claim" to have had them here. Sending their parents back to Mexico amounts to sending these U.S. citizens back to Mexico, raising these children as aliens, "Mexicans", rather than as Amercian's. Mr. McCain, for both this reason and for humanitarian reasons, apparently want to grant a flat out amnesty to the mothers and fathers of these U.S. citizens. Now, whether you agree or disagree with that position, it is honest, forthright, and well though out. Given the fact that we simply cannot trust any other candidates position on this issue, I find it rather refreshing to have someone speak their mind. He and Mrk have even managed to convince me that my position of "deport 'em all" is wrong and would result in a "fifth column" of citizens that owe their loyalty to a foreign government. That ain't liberal or conservative, that's common sense!

care's
You're going to have to go a long ways before you make John McCain do something he doesn't believe in.

Whether you agree with him or not,

Posted by: mibrooks27 | December 11, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Right Nemotoad. Since when did calling a fish a fish become an attack.

In the same sense i call the gop fascists. My words do not make it so. Nor is it an attack. If it looks, acts and smells like a fish, IT"S A FISH. And teh right are fascists. :)

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | December 11, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Dear dyck21005,
If I recall, you are the first lady of a New England state. If not, you are a regular here anyway and always come out swinging on the side of Clinton.

WOMEN OF THE WORLD!! I ask you, is it really the best vote to support a woman who accepts infidelity when it guarantees her political gain? Who is as devoted to cronyism and secrecy as George W. Bush? Who has lied to the press, lawyers and congress to hide embarrassment in some cases, and criminal acts in others? Who believes in Justice for some? Who panders to the black vote but remains hawkish on imigration? Who supports going to war with Iran? Who couldn't be bothered to read the intelligence report before voting to go to war with Iraq?

WOMEN OF THE WORLD!! A man can never be a woman, but he can respect women. He can cherish his marriage. He can love his wife and children. He can fight for human rights and as a minority himself, (in fact a smaller minority than yourselves)and know the rigors of not being the same as the person who holds the strings.

Dyck21005, I also question your claim that ALL the candidates came out insulting and going negative against Clinton. THAT IS A LIE. You, have swallowed a lie. I challenge you to find me a legitimate, false or misleading claim about HRC that came out before her own negative push. Hillary herself went negative first. She went negative FAST. Against her own kind. She did so after falsely stating she was defending herself, but against what? If I say she is the SAME OLD SAME OLD, the WASHINGTON ESTABLISHMENT, the ENTRENCHED OLD GUARD - these are factual statements. They are not attacks. And these are FAR more harsh than what was being leveled at Her Royal Clinton before she started digging up kindergarten essays.

Dyck21005, I don't know who you are exactly, and I certainly don't understand you. I hope you can perhaps take off your blinders and look at who Hillary is and what she stands for - really look - and then vote for who you think will actually take the country to a better place. Vote for that, not for what is or is not between your candidates shaven or unshaven legs.

Posted by: Nemotoad | December 11, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

"Oprah has also saved her political capital for this and is investing it wisely, generating real results for Obama.
"

Great point. I agree. If she came out every four years it may be not be taken seriously. Oprah has been in the publci light for decades, never came out in support of a candidate. Would she risk everything she has for skin color only? I don;t think so. If not why did she not support jesse jackson publically?

Great point. It only makes her, and Obama's, case that much stronger.

Make no mistake. To the obama haters here. They do not fear Obama or Oprah. They may not even fear black people (though I am skeptical). No. they fear change. they liek the status quote. Most of the gop are old people. Wanting to live in 1968 forever. Stuck in the past, and past battles.

Time to move past that. If they are to scared, they get left in the wind. Change is in the air. The future is now

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | December 11, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

" will not be easy, but I continue to be more in her column than the others....I truly have distrust of all politicians."

you don;t trust politicains yet you are for Clinton? I don;t get it. Enlighten me? Are you an older women? Just asking for personal clarification.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | December 11, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

We see Oprah's "long tail" in interactive marketing everytime she mentions a new product. It increases web traffic, references of her name in email offers, search results and drives sales for those products and others who use Oprah's name even without her permission. It should follow logically she can put butts in seats at political events and draw from two major demographic groups Hillary needs: African Americans and Women. Oprah has also saved her political capital for this and is investing it wisely, generating real results for Obama.

Posted by: james | December 11, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

" m a dedm . but oprah ought to stick to what she knws what she is doing selling products and diets

Posted by: wahhoo1940 | December 11, 2007 01:55 PM
"

lIKE THE DIXIE CHICKS SEAN PENN danny glover tom hanks, and so on and so forth. But chuck norris should voice his opinion. You republcians are funny, hypocrites. Your party is done for a generation. Rather than pointing fingers orry about your party and lack of leadership. Lack of accountability. The gop is done. To attack Barack only makes you look like angry old farts. losing your grip on reality as your party loses power. Enjoy your irrelevance.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | December 11, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

i m a dedm . but oprah ought to stick to what she knws what she is doing selling products and diets

Posted by: wahhoo1940 | December 11, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

"As a recent panel at an IowaPolitics.com Event in Des Moines agreed, the candidate who receives the endorsement (no matter who it is from) still has to close the deal with the voters."

Very true. But, if you look at the state polling numbers (Des Moines Register, Newsweek Iowa), Barack Obama is closing the deal. People are coming his way.

Nationally, he's within 10%, as opposed to 15-25% in previous polls. A loss in Iowa for Clinton, followed by a poorer than expected in New Hampshire (she may win, but it'll end up a lot closer than her campaign wants it to be), and a loss in South Carolina, and Obama goes all the way.

Posted by: cam8 | December 11, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

As a recent panel at an IowaPolitics.com Event in Des Moines agreed, the candidate who receives the endorsement (no matter who it is from) still has to close the deal with the voters.

Posted by: info | December 11, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I would agree that there is a real chance that the Oprah touch can lift Obama in the polls....I am not so sure it will sustain him, though. Although somewhat unique, the Oprah touch will be largely like most other celebrity endorsements or helping hands, and it will be somewhat superficial, and not long lasting. I do not believe Obama is experienced enough to deal with the problems that will be awaiting the next president on 1/20/2009.
I do not find myself drawn to him at all. I also do not believe Edwards is particularly sincere, and will likely be out of this race sooner rather than later. I know all the sordid stories that cast both Clintons as everything from liars and cheats to outright murderers...and I know they have many enemies, and clearly they both have 'honesty' issues ... I don't think anyone should rule out Clinton as being able to win it all, however. It will not be easy, but I continue to be more in her column than the others....I truly have distrust of all politicians. It is a wide open field, however...The Democrats should feel proud that for the first time in history, they have fielded serious candidates that include a woman, a black, a latino, a southerner, and an Alaskan wing nut, not to leave out Biden, Dodd and Kucinich...The Republicans are all just more of the rightleaning white guys in suits that can't be trusted any further than one could throw them...If the Democrats don't capture the White House in next year's election, they will only have themselves to blame....they have never had a better opportunity... not since FDR was re-running, anyway. What an exciting year lies ahead for politicos and voters....it's still anybody's game out there, and it's getting uglier by the day.

Posted by: rhewitt | December 11, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Oprah's already having a huge effect even on the pundits (or "pundints", as she called them). Last night, Chris Matthews called Sen. Obama "Oprah" several times until he was corrected by John Edwards.

Make no mistake, Oprah speaks the language of older white women, and has gained their trust through years of being in their lving rooms on a daily basis, plus she easily transistions into soul-preacher mode when necessary. This is a devastatingly effective tool to chip away at Hillary's base of support, and once she slipped up on the question of giving illegal immigrants licenses, the aura of invincibility was off for good. Oprah is the icing on that cake.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | December 11, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Ms. Winfrey's efforts might not actually backfire among some voters. I found it pretty disturbing that to get into one of these events, the prospective voter had to sign a card with some personal information, including email address and phone number, and pledge (I think verbally) to contact at least 4 people to support Obama.

Both Obama and Oprah are extremely charismatic, but the circumstances I've just listed would be enough to make me personally vote for someone else. (Besides, the primary issue to me is the environment, and there are several candidates with better positions overall.)

Posted by: dcgrasso1 | December 11, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I love Ophah but wonder whether it has become a Black White contest. one of the blurs on the news reference her "seminal moment" but is that saying Mr. Obama is the correct candidate? I vote for the qualified person not the color, gender or religious sentiments, in saying that Mr. Obama is a qualified person but is he the most qualified? Celebrity endorsements don't really influence me.

Posted by: heavenlycharlie | December 11, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

"Oprah Winfrey is much more than a celebrity - she is a cultural icon. Her endorsement will help Obama with two groups he needs to woo away from Clinton - African-Americans and suburban women. "

Right. Oprah helps where obama needs it. African americans and women. We have seen nothing like her celeberty in politics. We'll see if it has an impact of not. But for the right wing clowns to come out agaisnt oprah, that her celebertiy means nothing. They don;t know that. Tv in politics goes back to kenneddy. not much history. The right wing propogandists show their faces. Hopefully they will be gone soon. We can free the airwaves of these fascists. The only thing stopping it is the dying out gop.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | December 11, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Obama 08.

The future is now. Change is at hand. to the racist biots above, What are you so scared of? Chill out.

If she feels so strongly about Obama to risk her empire, he must have something. Would she risk her entire carrer just for a skin color, or is Sen Obama more.

The racists will always have an excuse. There is always justification for racism and fascism, right gop. Take race out of the equation. That was dr king's dream. To not talk about it. "To be judged by the content of their character".

Obama's Character must be pretty good it these are the only attacks they can dig up. That and kindegarten letters.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | December 11, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

The impact of Oprah will depend on any sustained acivity she gives to Obama. Three rallies will be quickly forgotten, but if she continues to appear with Obama, or stump for him, or even continually endorsement him on her program day after day, then perhaps she may have some impact.

This would be along the lines of something like Fox News, just keep pounding away at the same message and people eventually forget that it's opinion. "Of course, Sadaam Hussein ordered the jets into the towers, I heard it on the news."

As for HRC getting continually attack in the press, I think this is due to her being the frontrunner still. Even with polls tightening up, she's still the leader most often, and Obama may be peaking too soon. However, he has been going in cycles; he was hot, then middling, then gave a great speech and was back in the game, then Oprah comes on and he gets some press coverage. The cocern I have with Obama is that I can only read/hear about "a new directions, or new ideas" so much before I want to know what exactly that will translate into as a president.

HRC is still seen as the "safe" choice, you know what she's going to do, she'll be a slightly to-the-right version of her husband. And, only because she has to politically.

Posted by: adriennemichael | December 11, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

AndyR3,

I'll concede the might direct some website traffic. But I don't think that equals votes. And the people she might direct are probably already politically thinking people.

The women I know who (probably) watch Oprah, and who are NOT politically thinking people, are unlikely to vote - let alone check out a candidate's website.

At best, they might pay attention during the general. By then, it's too late.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | December 11, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Its free media, (we are talking about it now, and so is everyone else), and she is trusted by women, gives Obama more creditability with woman who would of not given him a second look.

Posted by: sjxylib | December 11, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I think Oprah will give Obama an immediate bump which will be gone by the time of the caucus and primaries except possibly in SC.

The New York Times poll today asked the question will Bill Clinton have a positive effect on your vote for Hillary and 44% responded yes. Will Oprah Winfrey have a positive effect on your voting for Obama and 1% said yes.

I think that Oprah may have gone over the top. She was preaching and she may have turned off a lot of other voters who weren't at the rallies.

I would love to hear the conversation between Oprah and Maya Angelou who has commericals running for Hillary in SC today. I think if we continue to trust the people of Iowa and NH to make these early decisions for all of us we have to trust that they won't be swayed by an Oprah endorsement.

The other issue no one has raised with Oprah and I wish someone would have the guts to do is who are the Republicans she has said she voted for. Which Republicans, especially in Illinois or Maryland where I think she has voted over the years could support the agenda of an African American woman. That goes to the issue of what is Oprah's politcal agenda and how does Obama fit into it.

Maybe it would be better to listen to those who have spent time in the corridors of power, and not the Hollywood corridors of power, like John Lewis, Julian Bond, Ron Dellums, and others who see Barack Obama as just not ready for prime time.

The New York Times finds that most of the Democratic electorate agree with that. It will be interesting to see what the people of Iowa and NH finally decide. Someone supported by Oprah or someone with the experience and ability to get things done now. I agree Obama is the dreamer but then it seems to me that most of his dreaming has been about how to advance his own career. His record doesn't show clearly in anyway what he has done for anyone else.

Posted by: peterdc | December 11, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Oprah Winfrey is much more than a celebrity - she is a cultural icon. Her endorsement will help Obama with two groups he needs to woo away from Clinton - African-Americans and suburban women.

I believe that Senator Clinton's support is shallow for a number of reasons. Much of it, especially from African-Americans, is simply Bill Clinton nostalgia. Name recognition counts for a great deal at this early stage of the campaign. She still has very high negatives in all polls. The country definitely wants change after 8 years of incompetence and poisonous partisanship. Senator Clinton represents "Back to the Future" more than real change and her nomination would only exacerbate partisanship.

Obama has already shown a gift for reaching people that hasn't been seen on the US political scene since Robert Kennedy. Oprah's seal of approval will resonate with African-Americans supporting HRC due to Bill's popularity. Obama is still very new on the scene and suburban women who have been attracted to him but are not quite sure about this new figure could be swayed by Oprah. Should Obama win Iowa, finish at least a close second in NH and then win South Carolina, I would expect HRC's lead in the polls to evaporate.

Posted by: jimd52 | December 11, 2007 10:28 AM | Report abuse

The Oprahmania effect is most definitely overhyped. How many of the crazed Oprah fans that showed up for the events will even vote in their primary/caucus, let alone vote for Obama.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl | December 11, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

I'm surprised anyone would ask about an Oprah effect. Oprah is just honest. People listen to her because of that honesty. I did not see Oprah telling people what to do (as I do certain conservatives on radio and TV). She will certainly have an effect in getting some people to look more closely at Obama. Not everyone, because we live in a very diverse country and there are lots of different views. However, Oprah may have enough effect to shift the balance further in Obama's favor.

It's hard not to notice the Clinton's lead had been narrowing during the last couple months, mostly in favor of Obama. That seems to reflect a general response of voters who are looking closely at the candidates positions prior to the Caucases and Primaries. As people begin to closely compare candidates, perhaps she is not the one Democrats will flock behind, even with all her connections. That shift started before any Oprah input. In my opinion, Oprah just accelerates that closer examination of Obama.

I am amazed by some comments on this blog that indicate people are upset by her efforts. The claim that it is time for a woman to be President are misplaced. We have only one choice for President, let's make sure it is the right one, not a sexist one. Smearing Obama and Edwards because they are males and saying they are attacking Clinton because they want to keep her down and a woman out of the office is the type of political rhetoric we just don't need. They are doing exactly what candidates should do -- contrasting their platforms with their opposition. If I have seen real negativity it has been from the Clinton camp as her poll numbers have fallen.

Posted by: PJW5552 | December 11, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse

bsimon, I completely agree. Oprah is a master salesman, and the technique you reference is exactly the right approach.

JD

Posted by: JD | December 11, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

'Could you imagine going back to Clinton years of polarlization'

yes, thank god that gw bush came along to unite us, he's a uniter, you know, not a divider. i'm so glad that we all can join hands and sing kumbaya together, like one big happy family.

Posted by: drindl | December 11, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

-----CLINTON SLEEZE FATIGUE WILL INVIGORATE GOP, DISPIRIT DEMOCRATS AND SINK DEMOCRATIC TICKET-----

-----EDWARDS/RICHARDSON TO WIN-----

It is possible that Senator Clinton is the best candidate. However, even though many may like the policies that Senator Clinton proposes, they should also consider her record, just as Senator Clinton insists.
.
The last Clinton Administration, when faced with the fact that protection rackets where assaulting, torturing and murdering people with poison and radiation, chose to avoid its responsibilities to incarcerate the criminals and to protect the citizenry.
.
Instead, they made a deal with the criminal gang stalker protection rackets to leave them alone and to consequently abandon the citizenry.
.
Do we want a President who sells out the citizenry for votes?
.
Do we want a President who sends a "crime does pay" message to society?
.
Would you vote for a President who signed nonaggression deals with the KKKlan or the Nazi party? Gangs that torture with poison and radiation are much like the KKKlan and Nazi Party.
.
We do not need a sellout President. We need a principled leader President.
.
If you are one of the few who do not know what the above refers to, do a web search for "gang stalking" to see the tip of the dirtberg. Please do it before you decide to reply to my post. Here let me make it easy for you: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22gang+stalking%22.
.

Posted by: avraamjack | December 11, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

'OK Claudia, I think my 'ugly soul' needs to move you to Rufus-land.'

I just don't beleive sodomizing black men with a splintered mop handle is an answer to our country's problems, JD. Or that it's funny, either.

Posted by: drindl | December 11, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I was at the Oprah/Obama Rally in Columbia, SC, and I think that the greatest effect of the event will be to give those SC African-American primary voters that really like Obama--but until now have been hesitant to say they will support him because they see a black man as "unelectable" in a majority white country--the confidence to begin to show their support for him, volunteer, recruit others and mobilize for his candidacy.

Many black SC voters that I spoke with casually were hesitant to say for sure that they supported him before the rally, but--after actually hearing him and Oprah--were proud to say they liked him--they really liked him. The most striking moment of the rally for me was when Senator Obama said that every time someone tells him he should wait, that he can't do something--it just makes him want to do it even more. There was a thunderous eruption from the crowd--many of the black men stood up and shouted with a kind of pride I rarely see in their faces. It felt like the SC audience really started to see themselves in Barack Obama for the first time.

Also, many of those who had supported Senator Clinton until the rally told me they had done so because they thought Bill Clinton could "take care of business" for her if they were put back in the White House together. Strange, I know--but I'm just telling you what I heard.

Many of SC's African-American voters are just now beginning to realize that the rest of the country is looking at Obama in a way that no African-American candidate has ever been looked at. It's just now happening. I think Oprah's confident stand in front of those 29,000 rally attendees was that of a strong, trusted--but apolitical African-American leader--someone who is not in it for her own political gain, and someone who doesn't need any help from anyone, saying--yes, it's ok to believe that this could happen. It's ok to believe that we could finally elect a black person as President of this country. It was very powerful and everyone there was really paying attention. I don't know anything about Iowa and New Hampshire because I wasn't there.

Posted by: fiddle25 | December 11, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I suspect the Oprah effect will be more significant than people predict. Oprah did far more than just endorse Sen Obama; she asked people to think hard about who is the best candidate. On the surface, yes, she's saying "Here's the guy I support, I think you should support him too." But she actually did something slightly more subtle. She as a person who has established enormous respect from a large segment of the population. Then she turned around and showed potential voters similar respect; rather than just saying "I like him, you should too" she said "Here's why I like him, I think if you take a look at all the candidates, you'll pick the same one I did." I think that subtle difference - the reminder to voters that they can make a difference & should make up their own minds - will produce far more votes for Obama than a plain old endorsement would.

Posted by: bsimon | December 11, 2007 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Dyck, what is it with Hillarylanders and their over the top screeds with all these caps.
I also notice you all type the exact same screed on all these sites. Do you all work off a script prepared by the clinton campaign or what?
I guess the term, Hillbot is true. Now go and drink some more of your kool aid.

Posted by: vwcat | December 11, 2007 9:23 AM | Report abuse

This is not just an endorsement it was a stamp of approval. Oprah said she has not done this ever. She also said she has voted in the past for Republican candidates and Democratic candidates. I share her concerns that this great contry is heading in a wrong direction. What we need most is change and a United States of America. Could you imagine going back to Clinton years of polarlization that has created what we now call "The Red States and The Blue States"? We need two people in the race - Mike Hucabee or Obama.

Posted by: aajo3 | December 11, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I think Oprah is much more than mere celebrity endorsement. She is very important to women across the country.
However, no one votes according to anyone's endorsement. Politician or celebrity.
I laugh when the press goes crazy over some establishment politician endorsing Hillary like it will sway voters. It simply does not.
what Oprah does is bring out women who did not pay attention to Obama because they were supporting Hillary due to name and gender. This gives Obama a chance to reach out to them and maybe change their minds.
Or undecideds who Obama can make his case to them.
I laugh at these surveys that ask if Oprah influences their vote. Of course not. She was never there to do so. She was the attraction to bring people in. Obama's job was to sway them.

Posted by: vwcat | December 11, 2007 9:17 AM | Report abuse

OK Claudia, I think my 'ugly soul' needs to move you to Rufus-land.

Sayonara.

Posted by: JD | December 11, 2007 9:14 AM | Report abuse

'My take on Rudy is, he'd protect the country best from terrorists, breaking off a mop handle and giving them the Abner Louima treatment. '

exactly the problem with folks like you and Rudy, JD -- mindless brutality. when in doubt, torture someone. you'll feel better. that was beyond crude, it was disgusting and a true window into your ugly soul -- and how rudy would run this country --as a brutal dictator. no one could possibly be worse, no one would divide the country more, especially racially, no one would be more likely to start needless, deadly wars, no one would be more likely the gut the constitution further.

and as for terrorism, he doesn't have a clue -- he put the emergency response headquarters in the onlybuilding in NY that had already suffered a terrorist attack and was most likely to be hit again--just so he'd have a place near City Hall to tryst with his mistresses.

and sorry -- it may be illegal immigration you're against -- but a whole lot of redstaters are against IMMIGRATION period. whether legal or not, they take jobs americans could be doing--there's a tremendous groundswell of anger about globlization, outsourcing, trade deals, etc. you Wall Street 'c's are about to fracture with your social counterparts this time around.

Posted by: drindl | December 11, 2007 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Chris,
The "Oprah effect" has the potential to have a big impact-- I say "potential" because (as noted) Oprah is not just a celebrity but one whose attention elevates whatever she happens to favor. A book featured in her Book Club becomes a bestseller; performers vie to be on her show as much as they do on the Tonight Show.
We don't know what the political effect will be yet because the exact nature of Oprah's taste-making success hasn't been tried in politics-- at least, not in recent memory or in so high profile a fashion.
My guess is that people inclined to respond to Oprah's appeal might already be inclined to favor Obama, and thus the amount of *change* she inspires may turn out to be minimal. However, even a few percentage points in the right place may make all the difference. Even if she only sways a few percent of the public, it could be enough to give Obama the momentum he needs.
And even that possibility can't be something the Clinton camp is eager to game out.
thanks for the question!

Posted by: dbitt | December 11, 2007 9:11 AM | Report abuse

The impact may leave a crater, Judge.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 11, 2007 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Claudia, I'm not a big fan of Rudy's previous immigration stance. (and let me coach you on something - the problem little-c conservatives - as Colin calls me - have, is with *ILLEGAL* immigration; I want people from other countries coming here, I just want them to sign the guestbook first).

I don't see any candidate out there who's perfect in my eyes. My take on Rudy is, he'd protect the country best from terrorists, breaking off a mop handle and giving them the Abner Louima treatment. (ok, maybe that was a bit crude, sry to any girls reading this...)

I spent 10 yrs in Northern NJ outside NYC during Rudy's reign, going there often - I would never have believed someone could clean up that hole, balance the budget, wring out corruption, and pull it out of the nosedive Dinkens put the city into.

Posted by: JD | December 11, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Chris,

As a person that witnessed the event live in Manchester, I have to confess to you that I have never seen such an excitement in the campaign trail before.

Oprah is not a celebrity but a power house that made a case on why we should take a look at Obama. Not only did Oprah give a powerful speech but Obama top it by brining the whole audience to their feet.

I went into the arena as a casual Obama supporter but left with a full conviction on my selection. I think "He is the one"

Posted by: gbuze007 | December 11, 2007 8:59 AM | Report abuse

It sure Hasn;t hurt him. Just the media attention alone is worth millions in free advertisment. In the end, he will have to make the Final Sale, and I believe he will. I bet all of those people who stuffed millions into Clinton Inc. are feeling a little blue/depressed about now.

Posted by: vbhoomes | December 11, 2007 8:57 AM | Report abuse

JD-- you really think Rudy would be good? What do you think of this?

"Giuliani strongly supported a guest worker program supported by President Bush and said during a newly interesting appearance on Meet the Press the following: "There isn't a mayor or a public official in this country that's more strongly pro-immigrant than I am, including disagreeing with President Clinton when he signed an anti-immigration legislation about two or three years ago, which we got some amendments of to protect the rights of immigrants."

He's more strongly pro-immigrantion than any public official in the country, you see. He 'strongly' supported a bush guest worker program -- just like McCain is being pilloried for now. He's to the left of Bill Clinton on it--and he wants SPECIAL RIGHTS for immigrants.

Do you agree with this position?

Posted by: drindl | December 11, 2007 8:52 AM | Report abuse

One of the unfortunate truths about the American political process is that many first form a favorable opinion about a specific candidate early on and subsequently avoid positive information about any other candidate. The "Oprah Effect" should be able to overcome this among certain previously committed voters (regardless of party) and cause them to examine an alternative. In this context the value is that Barack Obama has the ability to charm people with his dialogue, his personality, and his view of America. "To know him is to love him" may be too strong a phrase but accurately describes why the "Oprah Effect" will have an impact.

The size of that impact is another matter.

Posted by: judgeccrater | December 11, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who follows JD's 8:25A off topic cite
may be confused by the incorrect usage of the word "mortgagee". The writer meant "mortgagor", on at least one occasion. The mortgagor is the home buyer, the mortgagee is the lender.

While I generally agree with the article and with JD on the big picture here, I do think that there was room for some "softening" effect, perhaps orchestrated by Treasury, as it was, but led by the institutional lenders themselves. There is
no shame in self preservation - and recovering less interest than one has contracted for is better for the lender than foreclosing, as a financial choice, in many, if not most, cases. If the local real estate market remains stable, the foreclosure route is viable for the lender.
But where whole neighborhoods go down, the lender is wiser to salvage principal and lower interest - because the real estate
i worth less than the underperforming note.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 11, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Ophrah is a phenomenon, a movement. I don't really much watch TV and the celebrity worship in this country depresses me, so I've only seen her show once. But she's different -- I was impressed. She really reaches people, reads them, leads them. She's like aspiration and charisma personified, and as such a powerful spokesperson and counterpart for Obama.

She will also give him major name recognition.

Posted by: drindl | December 11, 2007 8:42 AM | Report abuse

USMC Mike,
I agree with you that a young mom isn't going to vote for Obama just because Oprah said so, but would you agree that a young mom would now take a look at Obama and read his website. If that is all she accomplishes then it has been a huge success, IMO.

(BTW, Oprah never tells her viewers to do something or buy a book she just says "I really like this blender" then when the person who watches the show needs a blender she figures "heck, I'll buy the one Oprah likes." That is why she is so successful.)

Posted by: AndyR3 | December 11, 2007 8:34 AM | Report abuse

AndyR, I heard that in South Carolina's Democrat primary, blacks make up about half of the voters. Huge possible target for Oprah and Obama (or as the whackjob called it above, Oprahbama - LOL - I love this country's mental institutions...)

Good discussion of this on the radio yesterday. They talk about how the avg black voter wants to feel some kind of reassurance before emotionally jumping off the Clinton bandwagon and commmitting to Barrack (and make no mistake, it's Bubba's campaign they're considering - they couldn't care less about HRC).

It will be amazing if this occurs. I guess the past is prologue; the saying goes, the GOP likes to fall in line, the Dems like to fall in love. I'd really like to see Obama get the nom, he seems like such a decent guy (even if a little mixed up policy-wise).

If it turns out to be Obama vs Rudy, the country can't lose (but for completely different reasons).

Posted by: JD | December 11, 2007 8:33 AM | Report abuse

dyck21005, you make our Mike Brooks look like an astute social commentator. I assume most HRC supporters, like our lyle, would disavow your screed pitting "gender" against "race".

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 11, 2007 8:28 AM | Report abuse

I just have a hard time translating Oprah's endorsement into votes. A young mom might trust her book selection, but our political views are typically more personal to us. It does, however, highlight the excitement/energy about the campaign.

Regardless, I doubt most Americans take anyone's opinions with them, even Oprah's, in the voting booth.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | December 11, 2007 8:28 AM | Report abuse

And one more OT: For those who think the recent mortgage bailout attempt by Bush and Wall Street was a good idea, read this guy

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/ContrarianChronicles/MortgageBailoutJustMakesItWorse.aspx

Posted by: JD | December 11, 2007 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Oprah's involvement in the Obama will have a positive effect. Unlike other celebrities, who step out of their movie or music roles to endorse a candidate, Oprah recommends things every day on her show to her legions of fans. They come to depend on her and she has a proven track record at it. Will all 69,000 come out and vote for Obama? No but when the margins in these races are within the margin of error, she could help put Obama over the top.

Posted by: art | December 11, 2007 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Mark, The same thing happens to me all the time, I just try to ignore it.

JD, I do think you are right that it will have the most effect in SC. They say the rally in Columbia, SC was crazy. The other group that this could effect is the suburban "soccer moms" that won the election for Bill Clinton in 92, and 96. In 04 they were called 'security moms', maybe this time around they will be the "Book Clubers".

Posted by: AndyR3 | December 11, 2007 8:16 AM | Report abuse

A MUST READ FOR ANY OPRAHBAMA groupie
http://www.obamatruth.org/

LOOKS LIKE OPRAH AND OBAMA SWITCHED PLACES, OPRAHS NOW RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT? AND OBAMA IS HER CAMPAIGNE FLUNKIE?
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, now as a last ditch effort you throw Dr Kings name at the black voters, now American knows where you stand on race...

SHAMEFUL ACT...I SUGGEST WE ALL TUNE OUT BOTH!!!

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!

Posted by: dyck21005 | December 11, 2007 8:15 AM | Report abuse

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 attract 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!

Posted by: dyck21005 | December 11, 2007 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Off topic, a guest op-ed worth reading:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/07/AR2007120701618_2.html?hpid=opinionsbox1&sid=ST2007120900919

I had a friend [now deceased] on the UT Psych faculty - brilliant, witty, and a really excellent writer - who was by our worldly standard a moderate conservative. By the standard of UT social science faculty, he was far to the right.

This article explains the phenomenon.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 11, 2007 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Hey Brooks, I hate to go OT during a 'wag the blog', but I never got back to you from yesterday's Rudy entry.

When you said, "The genuine issues for liberals are jobs and the economy, universal health care, consideration for working men and women, corporate responsibility, and an allowing individuals to live their lives pretty much unfettered from government and corporate interference otherwise."

I could have written this. If this is truly today's liberal dogma, then count me as a liberal (except for the universal heatlh care part; I prefer the market... OK, I'm almost a liberal. I'll only go to protests and drum circles on even-numbered days....)

Posted by: JD | December 11, 2007 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Andy, your post had not appeared on my computer screen until after I posted, despite the time stamp. This happens often and is sometimes disconcerting.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 11, 2007 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Oprah lining up behind Obama gives black voters the comfort zone they need to emotionally commit to his campaign, leaving the Clinton's. This will have the most effect in SC.

Posted by: JD | December 11, 2007 8:09 AM | Report abuse

It is clear that Oprah is having an effect and that it helps BHO at HRC's expense.

Oprah's is an exception to the "True Rule" that endorsements have little or no effect.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 11, 2007 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Oprah's effect is definitly more than a simple celebrity endorsement. Oprah is the most popular woman in the country, and her opinion is viewed by millions as worth its weight in gold. Will this translate directly to votes? Not really, but it will, as Obama says, create a situation where Oprah's followers will now take a new long look at Obama and I think that if you look at Obama long enough you become very pleased with what you see.

This also will really help Obama with black women, which previously was a strong hold of the Clinton machine. If Obama takes the black women vote from Clinton then it might be the straw that broke the camel's back in January.

Posted by: AndyR3 | December 11, 2007 7:56 AM | Report abuse

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