Obama Owes Her Big Time

Winfrey's endorsement gave candidate huge boost, especially during primaries

By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 6, 2008 2:07 PM CST

(Newser) – As an early backer of Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey may have made the difference in the close primary contest against Hillary Clinton, Jake Tapper writes for ABC’s Nightline. One statistician estimates Winfrey—whose choices for her book club, for example, have an astronomical impact on book sales—delivered between 400,000 and 1.6 million primary votes for Obama. She laid low for the rest of the campaign, but now that he's won, expect a more open role.

For her, it was just another reason to be ecstatic as she lifted her freeze on political discussion on her TV show yesterday, bounding on stage waving an American flag and wearing a "Hope Won" T-shirt.  Winfrey acknowledged that her viewers might not all share her enthusiasm: “Trust me, I know,” she said. “If it had turned out differently, we'd be doing the show today from Northwestern Hospital with a drip.”

Oprah Winfrey waits with Stedman Graham at the election night party for President-elect Barack Obama at Grant Park in Chicago, Tuesday night, Nov. 4, 2008.
Oprah Winfrey waits with Stedman Graham at the election night party for President-elect Barack Obama at Grant Park in Chicago, Tuesday night, Nov. 4, 2008.   (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
In this Dec. 9, 2007 file photo, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., reacts as Oprah Winfrey introduces him to the crowd at a rally in Manchester, N.H.
In this Dec. 9, 2007 file photo, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., reacts as Oprah Winfrey introduces him to the crowd at a rally in Manchester, N.H.   (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)
Oprah Winfrey speaks at a rally for Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., in Columbia, S.C., Sunday, Dec. 9, 2007.
Oprah Winfrey speaks at a rally for Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., in Columbia, S.C., Sunday, Dec. 9, 2007.   (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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