Roland Martin: Oprah could be a kingmaker

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Hat Tip: By Roland S. Martin
CNN Contributor

(CNN) — It’s big news that the goddess of talk, Oprah Winfrey, is throwing a huge shindig for U.S. Sen. Barack Obama at her California estate that is expected to bring in $3 million.

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Oprah Winfrey should go all out in her support for Sen. Barack Obama, says Roland S. Martin.

That is more than what Hollywood honchos Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and others raised in separate fundraisers for Obama and his chief rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton.

No one knows for sure what the effect will be with Oprah backing Obama because she has never thrown her full support behind a political candidate.

The Washington Post made it plain as to her influence on the general public, courtesy of her massive media platform: “the television program that reaches 8.4 million viewers each weekday afternoon, according to the most recent Nielsen numbers. Her Web site reaches 2.3 unique viewers each month, ‘O, the Oprah Magazine,’ has a circulation of 2 million, she circulates a weekly newsletter to 420,000 fans and 360,000 people have subscribed to her Web site for daily ‘Oprah Alerts’ by e-mail.”

Although Oprah is a billionaire, by law, all she can contribute to the Obama campaign is $4,600 — $2,300 for the primary, and if he wins the nomination, he can use the other $2,300 for the general election campaign. Video Watch analysts talk about Winfrey’s influence »

On CNN’s “Larry King Live,” she said that her support is bigger than any check she could write.

Not quite.

Although The Post reported that Oprah is in talks with the Obama campaign about taking an active role — appearing at rallies or cutting campaign commercials — she could instead choose to launch her own 527 political group that wouldn’t have any spending restrictions.

Imagine this scenario: Oprah chooses to create the “O for Obama” 527 group. She then seeds it with $5 million, and plans a series of radio and TV ads touting Obama in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Arizona.

In Iowa, she might shoot a commercial in a cornfield. In New Hampshire, the setting might be outside the state capitol. How about the Geechee islands in South Carolina? And for Arizona, the infamous — only because of its sheriff — jail in Maricopa County.

She could tailor each ad for residents of that state, and flood the airwaves as Obama is doing the same.

Now, the laws says the 527s can’t coordinate their messages with the campaign, and there are other restrictions. But it could be a huge boost to a campaign lagging Clinton in national polls.

You don’t think they matter? Ask Sen. John Kerry. The Swift Boat Veterans launched a 527 group that developed devastating ads that helped derail his message, and the campaign.

Oprah may get some heat for trying to buy the election, but many rich benefactors have used their money for partisan purposes.

The talk show diva has been on record that Obama is the first, and likely last, candidate she publicly backs. If that’s the case, why not simply go all out?

11 thoughts on “Roland Martin: Oprah could be a kingmaker

  1. Denise

    Political differences aside, I can’t hate on this at all.

    Oprah’s generosity is legendary and I’m sure the Obamas are grateful.

    I hope Oprah’s example of never forgetting to reach black err…back isn’t lost on the participants.

    I can think of a few in attendance who need a reminder.

  2. She’s an American citizen doing what she wants to do in the political process.

    She’s no different than George Soros or any other billionaire getting behind the politician of their choice.

    It’s not my money, so I don’t care.

  3. Michael

    Reaching black….lol well said, except Obama is not black, butI guess black enaough for some to vote for him for that reason alone. It will truly be interesting to see how this Oprah backing works out, we’ll have to watch closely and ensure her TV show does not become the Obama show, since that would be illegal…so we’ll see you looks the other way. And of course, it will be interesting to see how the AA community feels about Oprah backing a non AA candidate (Obama). And if she excuses his lack of experience, record and his dismal instincts on foreghn policy. I’m very wary of this, although there is no doubt her PR machine is very powerful. Cool an interesting stuff.

  4. Michael

    Rikyrah…great point, its exactly like Soros backing a candidate, except Oprah is a classy person, Soros is greasy, shitty, america-hating crackpot that has tried to hijack the democratic party. This is refreshing.

  5. Michael, the ‘ black enough’ garbage was never for the Black community in the first place. It was for White folks. Black folks know that, according to the rules of America, Obama is Black.

  6. star1

    I am so glad Barack is running for President. He has my full support. I very proud of Oprah. She is now in a position (that many African Americans will never be in) to assist in making the American Dream a reality. She is smart and intelligent and can think for her self and Lord knows she has the MONEY! In this business: MONEY knows MONEY and influence is POWER! Whatever the outcome of this election — I am happy to say – WE ARE ONE!

  7. Michael

    I don’t this the question of his blackness has anything to do with whites. As the concern over his sensitivity to black issues and the “struggle” continue to be voiced, I repeat what I have always said. He can be sensitive to black issues bevause he is not black, he has never experienced being black and marrying a black woman and having Oprah behind him does not make him black. He is simply, not, by any “rules”. I continue to be concerned that people are so desparate for a dark face anywhere near the oval office that they will simply line up and vote for him for that reason alone, regardless of his politics. This is bad…really bad…he is selling us.
    I surely hope beople can see the trick and get this empty suit to go away.

  8. Michael,

    Black folk, throughout their history in this country, have ‘taken in’ folks because they understand the definition of being ‘ Black’ in America.

    Why is Obama not Black? Because his father was an immigrant? The that means Louis Farrakhan, Shirley Chisholm, and Marcus Garvey aren’t Black either.

    Why is Obama not Black? Because his mother was White? Then, if having a White parent doesn’t make one Black, then we can count out Fredrick Douglass and Booker T. Washington, and how about one of the founders of the NAACP- Walter White?

    I stand by what I said – the discussion of whether Obama was ‘Black’ was NEVER about the Black community. It was for White folks.

  9. Co-sign.

    Except for his recent fame, Obama would be subject to the same crap all of us have to deal with.

    To say blackness has nothing to do with white people is absurd. It has as much to do with external characterization as self-characterization, in the American context. And by black and white standards in America, Obama is clearly black.

    Why am I spending time debating this non-issue?

  10. Michael

    All of you are trying waaay to hard to convince yourself that Obama is a black man in race and in his heart. he is simply not, and it explains why he can’t articlulate what many want to hear. I would rather you be honest and admit that you are supporting him simply because he’s the closest person to being black rather than go to all these verbal psuedo-intellectual social verbal gymnastics in an effort to convince yourself he shares you feelings and views. He can’t, he’s never lived it…but make not mistake, he’s no fool, he knows the best way to get elected is to act blacker than he really is, both in his heart and in his words. You’re being played like a fine violin….enjoy the music……

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