The presidential campaign of Democratic Sen. Barack Obama is starting the week $3 million richer, after a star-studded fundraiser hosted by Oprah Winfrey. The event—held at Winfrey’s sprawling California estate—turned out to be the biggest money-making event in Obama’s political career.
The billionaire talk-show star and media mogul said she had never involved herself in politics before, but that she would do everything she could to help Obama win. “When you have been called,” Winfrey reportedly said, “no one can stand in the way of destiny.”
Obama knows that tapping “the power of Oprah” is his secret weapon, said John McCormick and Christi Parsons in The Chicago Tribune (free registration). His appearance on Winfrey’s show has already “widened his path into the world of pop culture,” and Winfrey plans to let him tap her jealously guarded brand by attending campaign events and making TV ads. This is a woman capable of turning “obscure writers into best sellers.” Just imagine what she can do for Obama.
Obama actually has a chance to win the nomination now that Oprah is on board, said Bob Ray Sanders in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. But even if Winfrey’s star power isn’t enough to make him “America’s first African-American presidential nominee,” the Democrats can’t win without him on the ticket.
Oprah is just the type of person Obama’s campaign trying to win over, said Lynn Sweet in the Chicago Sun-Times. Yes, the talk-show queen is "one of the most influential women in the United States by virtue of her wealth and moral authority.” But she’s also someone who has never participated in presidential politics before—she hasn’t even voted in a primary since 1988. This is exactly the kind of person Obama’s campaign is trying to get “jazzed up” about politics.