Couldn’t Oprah Winfrey be just the person who could give Barack Obama a boost this weekend?
Carrie Budoff Brown and Jeffrey Ressner of the Politico wonder why she hasn’t been out on the trail for the candidate since before Super Tuesday.
They get the candidate himself to explain why she hasn’t been campaigning for him.
Obama said on the trail in Indiana today, “Oprah’s a dear friend — she’s got a lot of stuff going on, we’ve got a lot of stuff going on. And as I made clear even at the beginning, her endorsement and other celebrity endorsements can be useful in getting people who aren’t otherwise paying attention to politics to engage, and so that was particularly important in a place like Iowa at the beginning of this campaign,” he said. “I think everybody right now knows there’s a big contest going on and everybody’s paying a lot of attention. And in fact the presidential campaign is probably getting more attention than just about anything else, and so the utility of having a celebrity come with us is probably less now than it was earlier.”
Some surveys show that Winfrey’s favorability numbers have dropped since she backed Obama, but the ratings of her show are essentially unchanged.
The idea of getting Oprah out on the trail at this critical moment for Obama also was suggested earlier this week by Noam Schrieber on TNR.com. But it seems to be that it could create a new set of problems for Obama, namely the idea that his campaign is celebrity driven or that he has to depend on a world superstar to bail him out, something that doesn’t display presidential leadership. In other words, it could backfire.