Sunday, May 13, 2012

When O + O = Zero!

Good Day Readers:

Had to smile recalling how Oprah publicly waxed poetic when she learned Barack Obama had been elected President. Listening to her one would have thought this was the greatest event in American history since the invention of canned beer.

Clare L. Pieuk
Michelle Obama's 'jealousy' and 'resentment' lead to rift with Oprah
How two of America's most powerful women grew to despise each other

By Edward Klein
Sunday, May 13, 2012
NO LOVE LOST: According to 'The Amateur" a new book by Edward Klein, Michelle Obama was unhappy that the president had begun treating Oprah like one of his most trusted advisers.

In his new book, “The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House,” journalist Edward Klein reveals how even former friends and political allies of the president have become frustrated with his remoteness and bungling of crises. Klein, former editor of The New York Times Magazine and frequent contributor to Vanity Fair, interviewed numerous members of Obama’s inner circle. In this excerpt, he explains how even celebrity backer Oprah Winfrey was shoved aside.

Shortly after the 2008 presidential election, Oprah Winfrey traveled to Washington, DC, to nail down an interview for O, The Oprah Magazine with Michelle Obama. Oprah expected the president-elect and his wife to give her a reception fit for visiting royalty, and for the occasion, she took along Gayle King, the magazine’s editor-at-large and her constant companion.

More than a year and a half had passed since Oprah announced that she was throwing her support behind Barack Obama in his primary race against Hillary Clinton. The endorsement had represented a calculated risk for the queen of daytime television. It was one thing for her to recommend a book or launch the career of Dr. Phil, but it was quite another for her to back a political candidate.

As it turned out, a sizable chunk of her audience took offense and stopped watching her show. No sooner had Oprah hit the campaign trail, appearing beside Obama at one primary rally after another, than her personal favorability ratings began to slide, falling from 74 to 66 percent. Her unfavorable ratings suffered an even worse fate; they jumped from 17 to 26 percent.


Was the sacrifice worth it? As an entertainer and businesswoman, Oprah had suffered a setback. But she felt proud that she had been instrumental in electing the first black president of the United States, and she believed that she had earned a place in the president-elect’s brain trust. Two economists at the University of Maryland, College Park, estimated that Oprah’s endorsement netted Obama 1,015,559 votes and decided the primary election.

During the early weeks of the presidential transition, as Obama stitched together his new White House team, he appeared to embrace Oprah as one of his trusted advisers. When she phoned, he dropped everything and took her call. They huddled over strategy. Of all of Obama’s unofficial White House advisers, Oprah had unparalleled access, input, influence, and power.

However, by the time Oprah and Gayle landed in Washington a month after the election, Oprah’s relationship with the Obamas had come unglued.


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