Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Sweet special: Oprah/Obama in South Carolina moved to football stadium.


WASHINGTON—Demand for tickets to see Oprah Winfrey appear with White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in South Carolina on Sunday is so high that the campaign moved the event to an 80,250-seat football stadium.

The Obama team and is doing away with tickets because of the strong demand and switching the event to the Williams-Brice Stadium, the home to the University of South Carolina Gamecocks. This was the biggest venue the campaign could find in Columbia.

Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said, “We don’t expect to fill the stadium, but we want to accommodate the thousands of South Carolinians who expressed interest in attending.”

Winfrey, with Barack and Michelle Obama start a two-day campaign swing in Iowa on Saturday with events in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. After the South Carolina rally, Winfrey et al head to Manchester, New Hampshire. The Des Moines and Manchester halls have capacities to seat thousands.

From the campaign..
Sustained and overwhelming demand prompts move to larger venue

COLUMBIA, SC – Due to sustained and overwhelming demand, the Obama for America campaign today announced a new location for Sunday’s rally with Sen. Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and special guest Oprah Winfrey: Williams-Brice Stadium at the University of South Carolina. The original site selected, the Colonial Center, does not have the capacity to accommodate the tens of thousands of South Carolinians who signed up to attend the event on the first few days seats became available, and the location is being changed to accommodate all who wish to attend.

The event is free and open to the public, and tickets are no longer necessary for admittance, but people are encouraged to RSVP online at

“This event has injected an incredible enthusiasm in our grassroots base and excited many other voters who haven’t been closely following the primary race,” said Obama for America South Carolina Steering Committee member Inez Tenenbaum. “When we saw folks had lined up in the early morning hours outside of our Columbia office when seats became available, and thousands signed up within hours, we recognized that the Colonial Center was going to fill quickly. The move to Williams-Brice Stadium will allow us to accommodate all of the South Carolinians interested in attending and learning more about why Barack Obama is the candidate who will bring change we can believe in.”

New Location:
Williams-Brice Stadium at the University of South Carolina, Corner of George Rogers Boulevard and Bluff Road, Columbia SC


Fancy that! Oprah is a big draw, but, she cannot compensate for the Democratic primary electorates' increasing perception of Sen. Obama as a foreign policy light weight and not ready for prime time in debate performances. Could the Chicago Sun-Times, with Ms. Sweet as lead moderator, please arrange another debate (prime time) in which the candidates can ask each other questions (for a change) and questions from the public are read by the moderator for expediency, so as to cover MANY topics. Suggested venues, in keeping with Chicago's "Big Money Town" image could be the accoustically perfect Adler and Sullivan's Auditorium of Roosevelt Univ. or the very first movie palace built in the United States, the gloriously restored Oriental Theatre!

To the women and men of America:

My comment is to remind women if they look back before the civil right movement, they were mostly show pieces for their leading man. This applied not only to women of color but to all women. As for the African American women they were basically out of the picture.

The logic as I see it when we raised the standard or respect and opportunity for the African Americans, women as a whole gain from it. So why now it is so important that a woman should take the lead role in the struggle to cross the finish line.

My friend if the African American people have fought and died over the many years for equal rights and justice, should we not help one that was born in the struggle wear the crown.

Women fear not, if we crown Senator Barack Obama as victor in this race you will receive your crown as you did out of the civil right struggle.

Ralph Mizell Sumter SC.

Great move Oprah and Presidential nominee and very serious contender Barack Obama. Let the public meet him and get excited over the most qualified, young, intelligent, new ideas candidate there is on the ticket. Glad many will have the opportunity to see the next president of the United States. This is only the beginning!!

It amazes me that Oprah after all these years has now decided to get involved with politics, now that there is an African-American running for the presidency. If that is not racist what vote for the best candidate, not because of color. She is a woman first, if she wants to be bias then go with her gender first, as woman have been far more persecuted in all races. Her biggest fear should be if he gets elected and does a bad job, maybe devastating considering the turmoil that the States are in right now. He does not have enough experience. She has fought this kind of favoritism all her life, then she concedes to it herself. What's up much for the right to be equal.
If and when, an African-American gets in the Whitehouse, | would only respect that it would be through their own efforts and not Oprah's, I think she should stick to pushing books.

I've seen about 4 hours of Oprah in my life and didn't really enjoy any of them...having said that, something tells me people are under-estimating the effect Oprah is going to have on this race.

If Obama becomes the front runner he will get more attention from the press, but his "experience" shouldn't be the issue they intend:

Maybe you can use the stadium for a global warming concert instead. Great way to conserve energy Libs. If this is cancelled due to global warming concerns I wouldn't be surprised. Whatever happened to Carbon Dioxide concerns? All the hot air coming out of the mouths of all these people creates a hole in Ozone, no?

boo to H Arnold. I would like to think that Oprah is getting involved in politics because there is finally someone ruinning for President that she (and others) would not be ashamed of publicly campaigning for. Your comments are really disgusting.

What amazes me is how quickly, shrill Hill supporters are quick to point to racism as the major motivation for Oprah endorsing Obama. did it occur to you that Obama isn't the first black candidate to run for President? If I recollect, last go around, we had Carol Mosley Brown and Al Sharpton run. Oprah didn't endorse either one of them.

Point is Obama is a very compelling candidate, who brings either either a perception of or an actual fresh perspective to presidential politics.

All Shrill Hill talks about is the republican attack machine and her willingness to fight the right wing. She's someone who thrives in adversity. The typical extremist. Obama on the other hand has demonstrated he's a uniter and not a divider, both on the state and national level. The choices are clear for democrats and the rst of the country, wil they prefer the status quo or a positive catalyst for change.

finally, I'd like to mention that on the issue of experience, no candidate on the national stage has presidential experience, the reason being none of them has been president b4. Shrill Hill needs to go sit her behind down and stop trying to espouse experience she doesn't have....

Oprah is endorsing Obama for the same reason I am. He's the best candidate. He also has the best chance to get elected. (Maybe by a landslide)

To H.Arnold, I didn't hear anyone complain about voting for someone because they are white or related or a woman. You sound a bit racist if you ask me. Neither have I heard of anyone question John Edwards experience which I'm not sure is that extensive. Hillary's husband is supporting her because he believes in her, Oprah is supporting Obama because she believes in him, period. Don't be so paranoid, there is nothing to fear but fear itself. No one will be as bad as Bush.

Oprah's campaigning will be a big plus for Obama, adding to his increasing support among women. I'm sure that Oprah will do well in her role supporting and campaigning for him.

She'll do even better if she gives a car to each prospective caucus voter in Iowa.


Politics as entertainment. I suppose the Presidential campaign has unfortunately become like a sport(Rocky music & Chris Matthews cheering Obama on to the fight) and a game show (lightening round debate questions), why shouldn't we have a daytime talk diva added to the mix.
I remember in November of 2005 at the International Emmy Awards ceremony, HIllary Clinton introduced Oprah Winfrey and Oprah asked Hillary, on stage, in front of the audience, if Hillary would do the country a favor and run for President. . . Guess the rock star rise of Obama was more of a ratings booster for her.

OPRAH! Racist? I'm sure that H. Arnold would make a similar 'sexist' assessment if Oprah were stumping for Hillary, but I assume that H.Arnold works for the Clinton campaign. The first commenter certainly does. Hopefully, Senator Clinton fires them too. There's no place for dirty politics in the Democratic primary-leave that to the Republicans.

H Arnold, it is not easy, but try---try real hard to let it go. We have so much work to do as Americans, let's come together and get it done. Barack Obama '08!

I suspect that the Oprah will contribute little to Obama's chances of winning the nomination. No celebrity endorsement has ever moved more than a handful of voters. Once they step out of the role that makes them popular and give political advice to their fans, their influence diminishes. They are not recognized as experts in judging partisan political races. In addition, the celebrity is seen as presumptuous in thinking he/she is qualified to influence large numbers of voters simply by being a celebrity.

Seeing the celebrity is exciting. Large crowds will come to the rally to see the celebrity, not necessarily the candidate. The real test is whether Obama can attract similar sized crowds on his own. American voters retain their independent judgment and will not be swayed to vote for Obama because Oprah tells them to.

The most sexist aspect of Oprah's support is the contention that she will attract a lot of women to Obama's side because she is so popular with women. I do not believe that American women are so politically unsophisticated that they will relinquish their independent judgment and submit to Oprah's say-so.

Oprah is stumping for Barack because she finally has seen someone who see the bigger picture and I think she's all the better for it. Where does it say if your a star you are not allowed to have a political opinion? And where does it say that if your a star your opinion is automatically wrong? Go Obama!!

Many of the other candidates, particularly Mrs. Clinton, are unfortunately "politics as usual". Senator Obama represents a chance for this nation for change we can believe in, and be proud of.

Obama is not a big deal! He has little experience. He just has a good talk. He wants us to believe in him and his program and once he gets in office- Kaboom!

Leave a comment

Get the Sweet widget

More widgets


Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Stay in touch

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on December 5, 2007 3:48 PM.

Sweet special: Ellen DeGeneres talks to Jenna Bush. Jenna wants to meet Chelsea. Transcript. was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet extra: Clinton lead dropping in NH. is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.