This Here Be Oprah's Party!

So, you know, that's why I think we should have a threesome... Last week Rev. Al Sharpton said he likes fried chicken , but has yet endorsed Barack Obama. Jesse Jackson has endorsed Barack Obama, but also runs around supporting John Edwards. It's a mad, bad and dangerous world of civil rights endorsements. But who needs Al and Jesse when you've got Oprah, who is poised to take over the Democratic Party?

The New York Times raises a good question: who's campaigning for who? University of Southern California history professor Steven Ross, who's writing a book how celebs influence politics (do they?), tells The Times Oprah is "pitching Obama as part of her self-improvement campaign, saying, essentially, that he will improve your life and improve the nation." Which is true, essentially she's giving a little Barack Obama under the seat to every member in the audience today.

"While the moment is political, it will test whether Ms. Winfrey's life philosophy -- be true to yourself! be grateful every day! transform your life! help others! stay positive! -- translates to the political arena. Does her formula work beyond the Oprah bubble? Can she translate her powers of suggestion -- for a book, a hairstyle, an attitude toward life -- into votes?"

In other words, great for Oprah fans, but will it work for Obama?

Oprah's promoting may work for book authors, but may not work for politicians says former William Gray, a democrat from Philadelphia: "Oprah may be shocked in this first foray into the political waters that her personal popularity doesn't rub off on Obama," said Mr. Gray, who is supporting Mrs. Clinton. Endorsements can bring money and news media visibility, he said, "but Oprah can't turn Obama into Oprah."

Says who?

The Oprah Party Wants You [NYT]

Look Who's Cool On Obama [NYP]

Photo Credit: Harpo Inc.


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