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Oprah for Obama

CustomoprahlklWhat is the value of Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement?

It wasn’t much of a surprise that Oprah Winfrey officially endorsed Barack Obama on “Larry King Live” on Tuesday, as she has been hinting at it for quite some time.

But as any author knows, her support can go a long way. It could help Obama make inroads with women, where Hillary Clinton has been making strong appeals, especially to younger professionals who see her as an inspirational figure. Mother Jones’ Jonathan Stein blogs, “If Obama uses Oprah to chip away at Clinton’s base amongst women, it’s over. Obama should just start campaign for re-election.”

That’s overdoing it a bit — it’s one thing to recommend a book; it’s another to back a candidate. But it is notable that up to now, Winfrey has never endorsed a presidential candidate, even though her show has been a whistle stop in recent elections.

“I know him personally,” Winfrey tells King. “I think what he stands for, what he has proven he stands for, was worth me going out on a limb for. I haven’t done it in the past; I haven’t felt that I knew anybody well enough to be able to say I believe in this person.”

She also tells King that she believes a black man can be elected president.

“I believe he can,” Winfrey says. “I believe a black man can and I believe he can.”

She did say that “because I am for Barack does not mean that I am against Hillary, or anyone else.”

She hasn’t contributed to Obama’s campaign yet, but noted that because of campaign contribution limits, “I think my support of him is probably worth more than any check I could write.”

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