Friday, November 23, 2007

"In Iowa, Christmas shopping, holiday parties, Oprah"

The Swamp (Chicago Tribune's political blog):
If you live in Iowa or New Hampshire, the season of Christmas shopping and holiday parties that starts today is also likely to include a local visit from Oprah Winfrey.

Obama has hinted for months that Winfrey, who has boosted his presidential bid on her TV talk show and in September hosted a fundraiser that reportedly raised $3 million for him, would campaign for him.
He dropped another hint this week in a brief conversation with a big-dollar fundraiser who asked Obama about a potential Oprah campaign appearance as the Illinois senator was shaking hands at a campaign event in New Hampshire.

"First she’s coming to Iowa,” Obama told Ralph Hoagland, co-founder of the CVS pharmacy chain and a major Obama fundraiser, in a conversation overheard by a reporter and published in the Chicago Sun-Times. When asked if that meant the star would not be visiting New Hampshire, Obama replied, "No, no no. We’re just doing it one state at a time.”

Obama evidently spoke prematurely and aides declined to confirm a potential Winfrey visit or provide any details.

But he previously has also suggested Winfrey would make a visit on his behalf to South Carolina, another early primary state that votes soon after New Hampshire.

“I can’t make promises,” he told South Carolina public radio in September. “But I know she has expressed an interest in South Carolina and maybe we can pull that off.”

There are signs other celebrities will be hitting the campaign trail for Obama this holiday season, too.

The Hollywood trade newspaper Variety reported this week that "CSI New York" star Hill Harper, an Iowa native and a contemporary of Obama's at Harvard Law School who graduated one year after the future Illinois senator, plans to campaign for him in Iowa with Desparate Housewives star Alfre Woodard in mid-December.

Variety reported that during a visit to Los Angeles in October he met with a group of Hollywood supporters to recruit volunteers to campaign in Iowa and appear in campaign commercials. The group included Harper, Jamie Foxx, Kal Penn, Sharon Lawrence, Wilmer Valderrama, Laura Prepon, Adam Rodriguez, Jonathon Schaech, Henry Simmons, Kelly Hu, James Van Der Beek and D.B. Woodside, Variety reported.

Another celebrity to look out for is actor George Clooney. He has indicated he would be willing to stump for Obama if the campaign thought it would be helpful.



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