DES MOINES, IA.--Someone in this packed hall here yelled out "Oprah for vice president."
"You want Oprah as vice president?" says Obama. "That would be a demotion, you understand that."
Obama is speaking now, and Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama are sitting on stolls listening as Obama paces the platform. Winfrey seemed to be reading from notes; Obama is not. After all, he's been hosting campaign rallies since February. This matinee performance is extraordinary because Winfrey, who is used to controlling every aspect of her public appearences is making her first-ever political speech.
Obama is thanking Winfrey for coming out for him. She's never endorsed, much less campaign for a candidate.
It was "hard," Obama said, "for her to take the risk of her stepping out of her comfort zone. That takes an act of courage."
Quips Obama, "I sent Oprah an e-mail last night." He says he wrote, "It looks like a lot of people are going to come tomorrow. I guess you're pretty popular."
Obama just called for a paramedic. Some sort of medical situation that seems minor. He quips, "This is what happens" when "people get too excited" about "Oprah."
Winfrey, in introducing Obama, used some elements of Michelle Obama's stump speech. The hall exploded when Winfrey said Obama "stood with clarity and conviction against this war in Iraq."
"We need Barack Obama," Winfrey says.
"I'm here to tell you Iowa, he is the one."