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Obama's IQ Test

Sen. Barack Obama greets the crowd after speaking at an Independence Day celebration in Beaverdale, Iowa. David Lienemann/Getty Images hide caption

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David Lienemann/Getty Images

Here's the story as I recall hearing it. Maybe it's just Beltway legend. If you know better, hit me back with the details.

Hubert Humphrey's running for president. One of his campaign managers runs to him all excited: "Mr. Humphrey, good news. The polls show we've got the intellectual vote!" Humphrey says, "Great. Now how do we get the other 95 percent of America to vote for me?"

Point being: Capturing the intellectual vote doesn't win elections. Intellectuals just buy those CDs full of that funky music they play between stories on Morning Edition.

This is an issue Barack Obama's now facing down. In other words, he's got the Lake Shore liberal vote locked. And, hey, I'm not knocking that. Much as banks don't care where your money's coming from, the Electoral College is all "don't ask, don't care" when it comes to votes. But how does Obama get the votes that matter; votes from real folks and not just elitists?

Well, along comes Oprah to solve Obama's problems. If this woman can sell crappy novels to soccer moms, she can certainly sell a guy like Obama to regular America.

Except...

Oprah's reportedly throwing an ULTRANORMOUS star-studded fundraiser for Obama at her Santa Barbara, Calif., super shack in September. The price at the door starts at $2,300. It's $25,000 to make the VIP reception and if you want a meal with your star-ogling, better be ready to flip 50k OohGottas or be put to the curb.

Wow, what a great way to get in touch with the regular Joes.

Look, I understand politicos gotta make bank. But cloistering with the Hollywood elite is not how you prove you're a man of the people.

If I can be so bold as to give Oprah and Obama a little career advice, how about this: Hold a couple of old-fashioned BBQs on Chicago's south side or up in Waukegan. Price of admission? A can of food to be donated to a food bank. Eat, talk, break bread with real people. Then pass the around the hat and see what you get. Obama and Oprah together? Even if it's just five bucks a person he'd still haul in a mint. And solidify a new base while they're at it. DO THAT FIRST, then fly out to Hollywood and make the bacon.

Barack, if you don't connect with the people who really matter, well, come November you might find you're swilling lattes and listening to some of this.