Oprah to host Obama fundraiser



Hat tip: Huffington Post/Los Angeles Times-photo courtesy of AP

Invitations have been sent out for what promises to be a must-attend event for much of California’s Democratic elite, particularly those in the entertainment industry: a Sept. 8 fundraiser for Barack Obama at Oprah Winfrey’s home in the Santa Barbara area.

In the best tradition of Hollywood, the e-mail touting the afternoon gathering doesn’t mince words, promoting it as no less than “the most exciting Barack Obama event of the year anywhere …” And the invite urges haste in responding, saying: “Please get back to us soon before it sells out.”

Getting in the door costs $2,300 — the maximum individual contribution for the primary season. But, as is usually the case at such high-profile shindigs, there are incentives to gain a little extra face-time with the candidate.

Those who can tap friends and relatives for contributions to Obama’s presidential campaign that total at least $25,000 gain entree to a VIP reception; those responsible for at least $50,000 in donations make the cut for a VIP dinner.

The workers at the Santa Barbara airport best rest up before the fundraiser; we’re guessing the tarmac there is going to be packed with private jets.

As The Times’ Tina Daunt wrote in early June, Hillary Clinton — bolstered by Steven Spielberg’s decision to endorse her presidential candidacy — appeared to have beat back an early challenge from Obama for supremacy among the Hollywood crowd. But the Oprah event signals that the Obama camp is not going to cede ground without a fight, which Daunt will report on in Wednesday’s print edition.

Oprah endorsed Obama, who she got to know through their mutual home bases in Chicago, back in the spring — the first time she had ever officially embraced a White House contender. At the time, she told CNN’s Larry King, “I haven’t done it in the past because … I didn’t know anybody well enough to be able to say, ‘I believe in this person.’ ”


21 thoughts on “Oprah to host Obama fundraiser

  1. You will recall that Oprah all but endorsed the Gubernator in California too using her show to provide a humanizing platform for him the same way she did for the Shrub in 2000. Steadman Graham, a close friend of hers, is a principal partner in a PR and fundraising firm with the notorious Armstrong Williams — Graham-Williams is the name of the firm, I think. They’ve done fundraisers for Tommy Thompson, and I believe they did one for Cheney in 2000.

    The bottom line here is that Barack, Oprah and the Gubernator all belong to the celebrity party. The rich and famous, as the saying goes, are not at all like the rest of us. Lest there be any doubt, I don’t mean that in a good way.

  2. dblhelix

    Did not know about the relationship b/t Graham and Williams. Googled a bit and found this interesting nugget:

    In September 2003 the Graham Williams Group sponsored a reception for Bush administration’s African-American appointees, co-inciding with the Democrats Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual convention. Williams denied that the timing was deliberate. “It just happens to fall at the time of the CBC. And everybody is coming to our event to celebrate the president’s appointments and his continuing contributions to black America.”

    The current role of Stedman in the company is unclear. Stedman, who is the boyfriend of Oprah Winfrey, was referred to in September 2003 article as Armstrong’s “partner” in the Graham Williams Group

  3. “The rich and famous, as the saying goes, are not at all like the rest of us.”

    While the peasant class in this country has a long history of worshipping that group, against all logic. Bruce Dixon, you are always on point!

  4. Kelley

    Stedman is a Republican. And? So we should be wary of Stedman’s girlfriend throwing a fundraiser for a brotha? Please. I wonder if you all sit around and scrutinize Clinton fundraisers like this.

  5. Mr. Bruce,

    You are absolutely right. I have always liked and admired Oprah. I just finished reading how she bought a caddy for the parents of James Byrd, Jr-the brotha that was dragged to death by his so-called redneck, racist friends.

    Oprah is nothing if not compassionate. I admire her giving spirit. I just have to question her support for Obama. Her track record in support of “Ahnold” in Cali is important and instructive. He wasn’t what California needed and neither is Obama what America needs.

    Americans don’t need to be let off the hook for their racist hegemony of this planet and we sho’ don’t needing whitefolks hitchin rides on the racial amnesia express about America’s past.

  6. “I wonder if you all sit around and scrutinize Clinton fundraisers like this.”

    I do actually, as we all should be doing. Let’s scrutinize every single rotten fundraiser of this rotten electoral system. We should accept nothing less than a real democracy…100 percent publically funded campaigns now!

  7. Katie

    My guess is that Oprah supports Obama for the same reason the rest of us do: he’s a start. You “all or nothing” people get on my nerves. You get on my nerves almost as much as my white friends who say, “I’d vote for Barack if I thought he had a chance, but Americans are just not ready to elect a black man for president.” OK. So, I guess we should all just stay home and forget about it.

    At what point are willing to go out on that limb? Or give this guy the benefit of the doubt? I see him as the best choice out there.

  8. Katie,

    Most of my readers are with you and I sympathize with them to a certain extent, however, there are people out there like me who a tired of compromise, tired of equivocation, tired of imperialistic tyranny, tired of war, and tired of white America’s racial amnesia. Electing Barack Obama will solve none of those things and if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll agree.

    I sick of taking baby steps, I am ready to take a giant leap toward economic justice, fairness, and a more peaceful world based on generous communal principles. Neither of the Democratic frontrunners will get us there-with possibly the exception of John Edwards, whose campaign is being starved to death by the powers that be.

  9. rikyrah

    Oprah likes Obama personally.

    As for Oprah supporting ‘Ahnold’, it goes back to Maria – she knew Maria, or rather Maria knew her, back in her Baltimore days with the bad hair.

  10. oprah winfrey is racist when else has she gotten involved in politics? not til a black man is running she deserves to rot in hell for her reverse racism i am white and i will be white til the day i die… and all these black people screaming racism shut up… yall are no longer the minority yet yall scream all the time about being a minority yall want all these rights… all these black beauty pageants black tv channels black magazines black college funds what would u do if the white man had what you all had just for white people jesse jackson and al sharpton would be begging for some white man to kiss his ass… the black population is a disgrace to the free world kill them all

  11. Jeffrey Scott Callicutt,

    You should know better than to use an offical University of Memphis address to make threatening and racist comments for all the world to see and hear. I will deliberate for the next several days whether or not to report what you’ve done to the University’s office of Student Affairs. While I have not read the University’s code of conduct, I am pretty sure this steps way over the line. In the meantime, continue your cross burning and goose stepping to the Nazi flag.

  12. rikyrah


    Gotta love that tracing element, don’t ya?



    Snitch, SB.


  13. 😀

    Skep, you haven’t… but I have.


    “All users must refrain from the following activities: […] 6. Using computing facilities to send obscene, abusive, threatening, defamatory or harassing messages […] Intentional failure to comply with this policy will result in action which may include suspension of user privileges or other disciplinary
    action, including suspension or expulsion from the University or terminiation of University employment. In addition, violations may
    result in referral for prosecution by local, state or federal authorities.”

    It’s available here: http://search.memphis.edu/cs.html?charset=iso-8859-1&url=http%3A//saweb.memphis.edu/judicialaffairs/pdf/csrr.pdf&qt=%3CANY%3E+%2Btopic%3A1576431504%2C+topic%3A1576431504-0+OR+topic%3A1576431504-1+OR+topic%3A1576431504-2+OR+topic%3A1576431504-3+%7C%7C+conduct&col=&n=2&la=en

  14. jeff

    i ask u to take any likelyhood of my name off or face legal action i have sent u numerous emails explaining this and i will not hesitate to file suit against u for contribution to a criminal act and slander and defamation of character

  15. Louis

    I am very proud of Ms. Winfrey for standing behind and supporting who I consider to be a great and powerful African American. Senator Obama was a graduate of a very prestgious law school and was top in his class. In the past there have been African Americans who ran for President, but in my opinion they were not qualified to run this country. I am an African American and I’m going to vote for Senator Obama, not because he is African American, but I believe he would be a great leader of the United States. So Ms. Winfrey I applaud you and your support of Senator Obama. I truly wish I could afford to attend the fund raiser, but I am just an ordinary working-class guy, but for those who can afford it, I wish they’d leave huge contributions and support who I’d like to see as our NEXT PRESIDENT, Senator Barach Obama or shall I say all heil President Barach Obama. Has a nice ring to it doesn’t it?

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