Oprah Winfrey, one of the country's biggest rainmakers, will stump for her pal Barack Obama next month in three critical primary states, Obama's campaign announced this morning. The talk-show maven and fellow Chicagoan will appear with Obama in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Dec. 8, and then in Columbia, S.C. and Manchester, N.H. on Dec. 9. The details are still being worked out, but Obama's campaign says the events will be free and open to the public.
Most endorsements in the presidential race induce little more than a yawn, but this one, given Winfrey's tremendous reach and popularity, could help generate excitement for Obama among women voters, a key constituency. Winfrey already hosted a glitzy fund-raiser for Obama in California in September. The upcoming events show that his campaign isn't finished with her yet.
Hillary Clinton's campaign has so far been savvy about countering high-profile moves by Obama with a chess move of its own, so look for her operatives to cook up something comparable. John Edwards brought out his own stars in Iowa last week, Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne.