The Oprah Effect

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

oprah_obama.jpg

hide captionStumping for Obama.

Source: Joe Crimmings Photography

It's been interesting to see the reaction to Oprah's latest stumping for Obama. Mary Mitchell wrote in the Chicago Sun-Times, "Oprah Winfrey may be just what Barack Obama needs to push him over the top in South Carolina." Her fellow columnist at the Sun-Times, Richard Roeper, had an interesting take: Don't underestimate the Oprah effect!

If Oprah went on her show tomorrow and said the ultimate key to inner peace is to pretend you're a dog instead of saying hello when you greet other people, you wouldn't get through your day without somebody greeting you with a "Woof! Woof!" while sniffing your ankles.

On the flip-side, Stanley Crouch wrote in the New York Daily News,

In the end, I doubt that she will get that many black or female voters to give Clinton the hot-potato routine. Obama's campaign should not overestimate her influence. Oprah is persuasive and she is powerful, but it is unlikely she can convince many primary voters that it is worth rejecting Clinton and embracing Obama.

We'll talk with NPR's Ken Rudin, and with NPR's Juan Williams on the show today. The big question on the table: Will there be an Oprah effect among democrats, particularly among black voters?

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I am a middle aged white male. Is there a bit of racism in the assumption that I won't vote for Obama because he's black?
Maybe I'm like many black folks in that I'd like the best person for the job!

Sent by tom benzoni | 2:25 PM | 12-12-2007

On the issue of whether average or poor black Americans can relate to Barack Obama, what about how Barack Obama devoted years of his life in poor streets in Chicago? (and how would Hillary be a representative of such a people)?

Sent by Laura Sciortino | 2:34 PM | 12-12-2007

Re: Senator Obama's opportunity to be U.S. President: We need to begin to look for "an American President" not a white person, not a black person, not even a Democrat or Republican. It still amazes me that with 300 million people in our country, we only have two to three people to choose from for the leader of our country. Senator Obama's newness is just what we need. I don't need experience if it's merely taking us where we've already been. Thanks for your time.

Sent by Hiawatha Bouldin | 2:39 PM | 12-12-2007

The reason Obama is so popular amongst non-blacks is because he IS new. The Democratic establishment has been unwilling or unable to stand up to Republicans for a decade now, even when they have a majority in Congress. Why should anyone support this record of failure? Why vote for Hillary (for instance) when she has proven repeatedly that she'll roll over and play dead at the first sign of Republican resistance?

Sent by John Lester | 2:39 PM | 12-12-2007

I am disturbed by Juan Williams' transparency regarding his political leanings when he is a guest commentator. A careful listener can always extract his opinions from his reporting and today's program was another example of his editorializing "between the lines" suggesting that Hilary is his choice in the democratic field. Please ask him to be more discreet or find another person to fill his position.

Sent by Jane Hollander | 3:38 PM | 12-12-2007

Has anyone else noticed how uncomfortable Mrs. Obama looked during the Oprah events. In every view I saw of her, she looked as if she had a stomach ache.

Sent by JKB | 9:27 AM | 12-13-2007

I have always found it interesting that the Clintons are so popular in the Black community. In 1997, a year after President Clinton signed legislation ending "welfare as we know it," 37% of welfare recipients were African-American. His reform negatively affected many in the African-American community, as it hardly addressed important concerns that would enable many welfare recipients to maintain their participation in the workforce, including increased wages, childcare, and transportation. Barack Obama, on the other hand, worked as a community organizer on the streets of Chicago, making sure the underrepresented had their voices heard. These points are often ignored when the "Barack vs. Hillary" issue is discussed.

Sent by Jillian Weinberger | 11:31 AM | 12-13-2007

oprah i look for a jobs can find one please help me find i go to can pay for my school cause do no money i can pay for my bill i think kick me out

Sent by navila pierre | 9:59 PM | 2-10-2008

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