The Oprah Effect

There’s been a flood of stories about the details of Oprah Winfrey’s fund raiser in Montecito for Barack Obama on Saturday — who will be there (Halle Berry, Jamie Foxx) and who will perform (Stevie Wonder).

But the bigger question, being asked by all, is will it matter?

Certainly, it will moneywise. It is expected to raise an additional $3 million for the Obama campaign, putting it atop all of the Hollywood fund-raisers this year, and there have been many.

But can she — as many outlets wonder — turn viewers into votes?

That is the big if. Celebrity endorsements traditionally mean little to campaigns, other than drawing donors to fund-raisers and the curious to campaign events. Precious few voters are actually swayed by a celeb’s nod, or are at least too embarassed to admit it.

Oprah is on an entirely different level. She is not just a celebrity, but a figure of influence. Whether books or charities, she has proven that she has the touch of gold.

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