From the 2004 Democratic Convention:
“In no other country is my story even possible.” — Barack Obama

On Oprah, aired Oct 18:

“…values transcend party.” — Barack Obama

Today Oprah officially ordered Barack Obama to run for president and the nation to vote for him. America: your marching orders have been issued. Oprah has spoken. Resistance is futile. Also: Clintons — watch out. Obama didn’t answer Oprah’s direct question whether or not he was going to run for president. Yet there followed this exchange

Oprah: “If you ever would decide to run within the next five years, would you announce it on this show?”
Obama: (nervous laughter) “I don’t think I could say no to you.” And also: “Oprah, you’re my girl.”

Here’s some real proof that Obama ain’t nobody’s fool: you just don’t mess with Oprah.
Future First Lady and working mom Michelle Obama:

“In my view…I want the next president to be someone who understands what it means to be a father and a husband and is contributing. Because I don’t think he can represent those values for us as a nation if he can’t do it in his own house,” Michelle says. “Whoever [the president] may be.”

The thing people seem to like about Barack Obama is the same thing they liked about Bill Clinton: he’s a regular guy who just happens to also be pretty smart. He says he paid off his student loans with proceeds from Dreams From My Father — “That’s what happens when you don’t have a trust fund.” It’s hard for a regular middle class American not to relate to that. He’s got a couple of funny, charming lines such as: “I’ve got relatives who look like Bernie Mac and relatives who look like Margaret Thatcher.”

Oprah joked that she was hurt that Obama wouldn’t use her private jet when she offered it. Yet he says it’s part of his personal challenge to himself to not get too far from regular people. So he flies commercial.

On the issues:

Early on in the show, Obama took a strong stand on the war: “I think the facts were massaged and manipulated to make the case for war.” He discusses his new book The Audacity of Hope and the concept of using empathy as the focus of politics rather than focusing on power, especially when it comes to issues like education and healthcare.

To Oprah’s credit, she and Obama spend a lot of time talking about Darfur and the need for the U.N. and U.S. to take responsibility. He sounds a mite Clintonian and wingnuts notice it too.

The question some might be asking: is Obama’s triumphant book tour and the implications it engenders one of the reasons Mark Warner might have re-considered whether 2008 was the right year to run for president? Certainly Oprah’s strong, unambivalent endorsement of Obama after struggling to remain neutral in recent elections could give Obama a leg up on any candidate. If nothing else, I bet he’s about to be selling a mighty load of books shortly after Oprah’s confession that she was up late reading it.

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