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Oprah Winfrey Draws Huge Crowds for Obama in Iowa, SC, NH

Oprama

This weekend's Democratic horserace was all about Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama.

In Des Moines, Iowa, 18,500 people showed up to see Winfrey campaign for Obama:

"In Des Moines, spectators lined up hours early. Cameras flashed in the capacity crowd during Winfrey's speech, which opened and closed to loud applause and was frequently interrupted by cries of 'We love Oprah.' Winfrey said she felt nervous and "out of my pew" as she addressed a gathering hall packed shoulder-to-shoulder in the largest gathering of Iowans in the campaign this year. But she did not hide her political convictions, making an argument for change from the Bush administration other than another Clinton in the White House."

Here is Oprah's Iowa speech:

The Oprama Tour then moved to South Carolina, where the tone turned decidedly more Christian, according to Politico:

"'I give all praise and honor to God,' Obama began. 'Look at the day the Lord has made.' Obama's wife, Michelle, opened the rally with a description of her husband that could, at moments, have been a description of Jesus Christ. 'We need a leader who's going to touch our souls. Who's going to make us feel differently about one another? Who's going to remind us that we are one another’s keepers? That we are only as strong as the weakest among us,' she said, echoing biblical passages. Winfrey also touched on Christian themes that had not been highlighted in Iowa. 'It's amazing grace that brought me here,' she began, adding that she was 'stepping out of my pew' - television – to engage in politics. It isn't enough to tell the truth, Winfrey said. 'We need politicians who know how to be the truth.'"

The duo then made their way to New Hampshire, where 'Oprahpalooza', as many are calling it, was "the most attended political event in recent history," according to the Boston Globe:

"On the weekend before the New Hampshire Primary in 2004, Wesley Clark drew 3,000 with filmmaker Michael Moore. Then the weekend before the general election that year President Bush tried highly unsuccessfully to fill the Verizon Wireless Arena and the next day John Kerry held a 5,000 person rally in the streets of downtown Manchester. The event was also remarkable for its stagecraft. Over 30 television cameras, blaring music, grand, long entrances from both Oprah and Obama with standing ovations added to the idea that something was different about this rally. The crowd clinged to Oprah and her stories. Teenage girls shook like they saw a member of the Beatles when she was introduced to a 30 second standing ovation. But while Obama started strong he also went long -- some 40 minutes -- and some yawns were visible in the audience."

Meanwhile, civil rights figure Andrew Young and former mayor of Atlanta made headlines with an online interview in which he said Barack Obama may be too young for the job.

Young said Hillary had Bill Clinton behind her, strengthening the "machine" that could not only fight off brutal attacks from rivals but also get her elected: "Bill is every bit as black as Barack," and joked, "He's probably gone with more black women than Barack." Said Young: "I want Barack Obama to be president — in 2016...It's not a matter of being inexperienced. It's a matter of being young. There's a certain level of maturity ... you've got to learn to take a certain amount of (expletive)."

Rival candidates did their best to attempt to counterprogram the Oprah juggernaut, with Hillary Clinton enlisting Bill in South Carolina and Chelsea in Iowa, and Edwards holding a strategically-timed conference call:

"[Teresa Wells, a spokeswoman in South Carolina for the Edwards campaign] added that the conference call was held in part because some of Mr. Edwards’s top African-American endorsers are frustrated when they see the news media portray the campaign as 'a two-person race for the African-American vote and we’re not in it.' She said that on the ground they see blacks supporting Mr. Edwards, but that is not conveyed by the media."

Oprah Lends Star Power to Obama in Iowa [ap]

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Comments

  1. Oprama event had some great speeches if this were a civil rights or religious movement, but boy did they lack substance.

    Posted by: Rory | Dec 10, 2007 8:46:55 AM


  2. Andy Young has turned into a corporate hack. he once blocked the rise of John Lewis (Georgia's only dsitinguished member of Congress) for much the same reason he spoke against Obama. When he blocked Young's candidacy for his old Congressional seat, Young was a lackey for the Maynard Jackson political machine. The guy has little real cred.

    Posted by: Rich | Dec 10, 2007 9:05:18 AM


  3. I am so fucking sick of Miss God!!!!! I'd like to vote for a flesh and blood individual -- not an invisible daddy who lives in the sky.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Dec 10, 2007 9:38:09 AM


  4. Mr. Ehrenstein: I am with you on that! I want a president to lead our country not a preacher to lead our prayers. I also someone who actually says something! Senator Obama is still spouting platitudes concerning blues and reds.

    Posted by: JT | Dec 10, 2007 9:53:42 AM


  5. David, good luck on that one.

    All 3 of our top tier candidates have babbeled on about some toothfairy in the clouds, and hillary even touts her constantly attending some senate prayer meeting shindig over the years.

    We are stuck with a leader/ shaman who is going to howl and holler to the toothfairy in the clouds

    I am more worried about mitt romney's speach where he said freedom requires religion.

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | Dec 10, 2007 10:06:57 AM


  6. A bitter primary battle would be stupid for the Democrats and us (Blacks, Latinos, Jews, Muslims, Gays, drag queens, old drag queens, leather queens, etc.) Whether it's Barack, Hillary, John, Chris or Joe... or frickin' Robert KKK Byrd!--it must be a Democrat. I can't take another right-wing nut appointed to the federal bench.

    Posted by: Derrick from PHilly | Dec 10, 2007 10:07:21 AM


  7. I love Oprah.

    I wish she would run for President!!!

    Posted by: Jordan | Dec 10, 2007 11:26:29 AM


  8. Well...I don't know what to make of Obama. I think it is a good thing that Oprah is pushing for his election as she does have a lot of influence. I don't know if Obama is the right candidate, but we have to start somewhere on the left side, the right-winger know exactly how to get people to polls...perhaps, Miss. Winfrey can light a fire under the other side and get them to the polls. I am frightened of the crazy nutjobs on the right side, but remember...Bush got elected twice...not once, why, because the other nutjobs got out to vote. John Kerry wasn't the best choice, personally I would liked to see Howard Dean or John Edwards, but no on got out to vote. Let's go out there damnit and put an end to these assholes who think because the pray to higher power that they know whats best. puhlease!!

    Posted by: Paul | Dec 10, 2007 12:28:23 PM


  9. Obama's too young to be president? Last time I checked, you had to be 35, and he passes that requirement. I love how the Clinton campaign and its extendable mouth pieces continue to push the "lack of experience" theme regarding Obama, while simultaneously revealing their disregard for the Constitution.

    Jerks.

    Posted by: davitydave | Dec 10, 2007 2:18:24 PM


  10. Where was ex-fag/still-fag-but-lyin' gospel swiggin' Donnie McClurkin this time? After all, Oprah is the one who introduced him to Obama in the first place.

    Still say I'll vote for the Rev. if he gets the nomination, but that doesn't mean I have to swallow all this steaming bullshit being served on Miss O's platinum-trimmed china in the meantime.

    Posted by: Leland Frances | Dec 10, 2007 4:36:08 PM


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