Sunday, December 9, 2007

Does Oprah's backing help Obama?

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama's no-so-secret weapon joined him on the campaign trail this weekend in Iowa and South Carolina.

Talk show host Oprah Winfrey told a large crowd in Des Moines that she didn't want to tell them what to think but rather to encourage them to think. According to the Des Moines Register:

Winfrey told the screaming crowd that she has voted for as many Republicans
in her life as Democrats. She added that Saturday marked the first time in her
career that she has officially endorsed and campaigned for any candidate,
because "if we continue to do the same things over and over and over again, I
know that you get the same results.

"We don't know what the future holds, so we must respond to the
pressures and the fortunes of history when the moment strikes, and Iowa, I
believe that moment is now," Winfrey said.

Winfrey, a talk show host, is viewed as one of the most influential
entertainers in the world. But her influence on politics is untested and it
doesn't guarantee a windfall of support for Obama.In general, political experts
agree that celebrity endorsements have little influence upon voters.

The exception, however, may be the size of crowds drawn by Winfrey's
appearance who, in turn, hear Obama speak.

But the key question remains if those people will transform into
voters.

A USA Today-Gallup Poll released in October found 8 percent of adults said
Winfrey's endorsement made them more likely to support Obama, while 10 percent
said it would make them less likely to back him.

How do you feel? I still think the freshman Senator doesn't have enough experience to be president, a claim Winfrey doesn't buy:

She said, "experience in the hallways of government isn't as important to
me as the experience on the pathway of life.

"So I challenge you to see through those people who try and convince you
that experience in politics as usual is more valuable than wisdom won from years
of serving people outside the walls of Washington, D.C.," she said.

While that may be stirring, we need only think back to 1976 when an inexperienced Jimmy Carter bemoaned Washington-ways and then spent his four years as president learning on the job. It's a bipartisan rap. Some would also argue that the current president wasn't all that experienced and it, too, shows.

My take is that Oprah's views are entitled to no more credence than anyone else's.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and the founders and CEO of Google support Obama...that should tell you A LOT -- Obama is not perfect but he is the best candidate to UNITE our country and solve the tough problems.