The Oprah Factor

Illinois Senator Barack Obama has apparently opened up a big lead over Democratic rival Hillary Rodham in the race for the Democratic presidential nod; the latest Des Moines Register poll indicates his support is strongest among female voters, the heart of Hillary’s support base.

Chalk it up to the Oprah factor. Since the queen of daytime talk has thrown her support behind Sen. Obama, he’s been surging. Although celebrity endorsements typically carry little weight at the polls, few celebrities are as selective as Oprah, who has rarely actively endorsed or campaigned any candidate.

Still, the heartland had grown accustomed to giving Oprah’s picks consideration in the book-buying decisions, car-buying decisions, even her advice on platform beds and more. Has Ms. Winfrey now garnered the influence to become a king-maker and, in the process, a potential queen-toppler, by favoring Senator Obama over Senator Clinton?

It’s an intriguing question that could swing the Democratic nominating process away from the Clinton machine. Considering former Bush advisor Karl Rove has even jumped on the bandwagon, offering Obama advice on how to topple Queen Hillary, we can be sure the 2008 fireworks have only just begun!

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