The hype surrounding Oprah Winfrey’s barnstorming for Barack Obama over the weekend appears to have boosted his momentum heading into the crucial Iowa caucuses in early January, but not all political analysts believe a recent flurry of celebrity endorsements will do any of the presidential candidates much good.
What the commentators said
Every candidate is scrambling to tap into Hollywood star power, said Lloyd Garver at CBSNews.com. “Unless you’ve been living in a cave,” you know that Obama has Oprah on his side, but did you know that Hillary Clinton has Barbra Streisand, Rudy Giuliani has Robert Duvall, Dennis Kucinich has Sean Penn, John McCain has Martin Sheen, and Fred Thompson has part-time actor Fred Thompson? Fortunately, “I don't believe many people are going to vote for somebody just because someone who is on television or in the movies says they should.”
The "OprahObamaPalooza" may be "significant," said Mark Hemingway in National Review Online. But Obama may come to regret being associated with some of the snake oil Oprah has peddled in the past. The bottom line is that it is usually "cringe-inducing" to listen to show folk talk politics. And if celebrity stamps of approval really mattered at the ballot box, John Kerry -- darling of Hollywood -- would be sitting in the Oval Office.
Oprah is obviously in her own league, said John Dickerson in Slate. But Hillary Clinton has an endorsement from the one person who can counter Oprah’s fame and popularity with Democrats -- her husband, Bill. The former president has as much star power as Oprah and he will be the secret effort in the “humanizing” of his favorite candidate. And according to a New York Times poll, he’s a “more powerful voter-persuasion force than Oprah.”