HEY, OPRAH: YOU IN OR OUT?

Al­lies send mixed sig­nals on po­lit­i­cal fu­ture

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PRES­I­DEN­TIAL BUZZ

As Democrats na­tion­wide en­cour­age Oprah Win­frey to seek the pres­i­dency in 2020, those clos­est to the me­dia mogul are send­ing mixed mes­sages about her po­lit­i­cal in­ten­tions.

Her best friend, CBS News host Gayle King, said Tues­day that Win­frey is “in­trigued” by the idea of a White House bid.

“She loves this coun­try and would like to be of ser­vice in some way, but I don’t think she’s ac­tively con­sid­er­ing it at this time,” King said. “I also know that af­ter years of watch­ing the Oprah show, you al­ways have the right to change your mind.”

On Monday, Win­frey’s long­time part­ner, St­ed­man Gra­ham, told the Los Angeles Times that “it’s up to the peo­ple” whether she will be pres­i­dent, adding, “She would ab­so­lutely do it.”

The pres­i­den­tial buzz fol­lows Win­frey’s im­pas­sioned call for “a brighter morn­ing” at the Golden Globes on Sun­day night in a speech that left some view­ers con­tem­plat­ing the idea of the Demo­cratic Party em­brac­ing a celebrity can­di­date of its own to chal­lenge Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump in 2020.

Even so, for Democrats in early vot­ing states, and per­haps for a pub­lic that largely dis­ap­proves of Trump’s job per­for­mance, the no­tion of a pop­u­lar me­dia fig­ure as a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date is not as strange as it once seemed.

Win­frey’s speech as she ac­cepted the Ce­cil B. Demille award touched on her hum­ble up­bring­ing and child­hood won­der in civil rights he­roes.

But it was her ex­hor­ta­tion of the le­gions of women who have called out sex­ual ha­rassers — and her dream of a day “when no­body has to say ‘me too’ again” — that got some po­lit­i­cal op­er­a­tives think­ing Win­frey might be what the Democrats need. Her ap­peal ex­tended well be­yond her celebrity, some said, cit­ing her com­pas­sion, kind­ness and de­vo­tion to help­ing others as a badly needed change af­ter Trump.

Even Trump’s daugh­ter Ivanka en­dorsed Oprah’s mes­sage, if not a po­lit­i­cal fu­ture, in a tweet Monday. “Just saw @Oprah’s em­pow­er­ing and in­spir­ing speech at last night’s #Gold­englobes. Let’s all come to­gether, women & men, & say #TIMESUP! #UNITED.”

Kevin Win­ter/getty im­ages

Oprah Win­frey arrives with the Ce­cil B. Demille Award in the press room dur­ing The 75th An­nual Golden Globe Awards at The Bev­erly Hil­ton Ho­tel on Sun­day in Bev­erly Hills, Cal­i­for­nia.

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