Oprah Endorses Obama
TV megastar gets warm welcome on icy day in Iowa
Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama with special guest Oprah Winfrey during a rally at Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire, December 9, 2007. (Photo: ©Jemal Countess/WireImage/Newscom)
At the Hy-Vee Hall in downtown Des Moines, Iowa, it's 12 degrees outside and freezing rain. But that's not stopping Iowans from bundling up and facing the ice to see TV megastar Oprah Winfrey endorse Senator Barack Obama for President.
One way to avoid the bitter cold was to use the sky walks between parking lots and buildings. Thousands crowded the overhead walkways to get to the event. More than 18,000 free tickets were handed out.
Winfrey took the stage to screams of "We love Oprah!" and a burst of camera flashes. She began by talking about her TV talk show and Oprah's Book Club. She also mentioned how nervous she was. This is the first time she has ever endorsed a political candidate.
"There are times that I even worry about what happens to our country," Winfrey said. "That is why for the very first time in my life I feel compelled to stand up and speak out for the man who I believe has a new vision for America."
She talked about failing schools and the need for education reform. Throughout her speech, Winfrey kept asking the audience the question "Are you the one?" As she came to the end of her talk, she asked the question a final time, and proclaimed, "I believe in '08, I have found the answer. . . ." Then she pointed to Obama and said, "I'm here to tell you, Iowa, he is the one."
As the Senator from Illinois came onstage, people stood on their chairs, cheering and shouting, "It's time for change!"
As the crowd calmed down, Obama talked about how much alike he and Winfrey are. They both started out as nobodies who wanted to make a difference. Now they have both become somebody, he said.
He discussed issues such as education, poverty, health care, energy, war, terrorism, and global warming, just to name a few.
"Instead of waiting 10 years to raise the minimum wage, I'll raise it every year," he promised voters.
He said that within 16 months of becoming President, he would bring the troops in Iraq home.
On education, he said he would make sure every child in the U.S. has a chance to learn.
"Most kids in America are two to three grades behind," he said.
A teacher in the audience was especially excited about his stand on education.
"If anything, we need a President who understands that teachers are valuable," she said.
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