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Oprah Winfrey role in a Barack Obama White House

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WASHINGTON---As the odds are improving that Barack Obama will win the White House two weeks from today, there is speculation over what role pal Oprah Winfrey will play in an Obama administration.

A blog in the Financial Times
guessed--with nothing but vapor for back up-- that Winfrey would be tapped to be ambassador to England.

I disagree that's what Winfrey would do for a President Obama. Nevertheless, I'll indulge.

Winfrey no doubt would have some "role" in an Obama White House because she is an important international figure who has a close connection to Obama and wife Michelle. But at least in the first years, I would guess she would not be formal or full time anything. Why?

*Ambassadors or other high level appointments need Senate confirmation, which would be a cinch. But ambassadors have to file extensive financial disclosures and I can't image Winfrey---head of a privately held entertainment empire (Harpo Productions is headquartered in Chicago) willing to do that at this time.

*An ambassador can't operate in total control of the press. Winfrey runs a tight press ship right now. Winfrey recently tested Obama's rather situational claims of transparency regarding fund-raising for his presidential campaign when she would not allow a pool reporter to be present at a fund-raising event in Chicago where she spoke. Now the event was not built around her--and a pool reporter was present for other speakers--but team Obama bowed to Winfrey's demands and closed her remarks to the press.

*Winfrey would throw a lot of people out of work if she closed her show down a few months from now. Anyway, she's got contracts to produce the show for at least through 2010.

*So what job would be right for Winfrey? I could see her as a special international envoy. Short term appointments like this do not require financial disclosures. I could see her leading a domestic commission already in place (there are scores of them) that deal with health, education, etc. or some special task force created by a President Obama.

If and when she took an ambassadorship, I can't see England. An easy embassy would be a waste for Winfrey. I could see her at the United Nations. I could see her someplace in Africa. She has great interests in South Africa, running a school for girls there, albeit one that has been ensnarled in a bit of controversy.

I could also see her as a special Obama administration "lobbyist" Congress, sending her in on an ad hoc basis to help move a particular piece of legislation. She would be a powerful ambassador for Obama on Capitol Hill.

5 Comments

Great,Obama and Oprah. A couple of former COCAINE ABUSERS representing the people of AMERICA. Nice...

Dear "haha", apparently you're clinically brain-dead, because otherwise you'd know that we've had a "former COCAINE ABUSER" as President for the past eight years.

Sorry that you didn't post my comment. Your ill-intent will be delivered back upon you. You have an opportunity to be about something better and you chose to say, "no thank you". You cannot "play God" and not expect to get your hands slapped for impersonating Him.

This is the most important election of the past 40 years. The republican agenda has left this country nearly in ruins as the ultra-rich have skimmed money off the top of the economy. The middle-class has truly dwindled, and as retirement packages have shrunken, it will continue to do so. It is a terrible shame. We need a real significant change. A revolution of sorts. We cannot allow the same regime to continue. Obama can provide a change. In the end, he is one of us. Even if you don't agree, go and vote your candidate.

This is the most important election of the past 40 years. The republican agenda has left this country nearly in ruins as the ultra-rich have skimmed money off the top of the economy. The middle-class has truly dwindled, and as retirement packages have shrunken, it will continue to do so. It is a terrible shame. We need a real significant change. A revolution of sorts. We cannot allow the same regime to continue. Obama can provide a change. In the end, he is one of us. Even if you don't agree, go and vote your candidate.

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Lynn Sweet

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

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on October 21, 2008 9:34 AM.

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