ND Expert: Oprah, Obama and “celebrity politics”

Author: Dennis Brown


Oprah Winfreys decision to campaign for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama before the Iowa caucuseselevates celebrity politics in America to a new level, maybe even a previously unexplored stratosphere,according to Robert Schmuhl, professor of American studies at the University of Notre Dame and author of the bookStatecraft and Stagecraft: American Political Life in the Age of Personality.

Schmuhl noted that Winfreys own celebrity is greater than that of Obamas, leaving thepossibility of her charisma and star appeal overshadowing his.

Theres no doubt people listen to her social and literary opinions. Whether her endorsement translates into actual votes is the great political unknown that bears scrutiny.

He added:More than anything, her involvement proves once again the centrality of personality in contemporary campaigning. Television is more than a soapbox. Its the main stage and principal theater, whether we like it or not.

* Note to the media: Schmuhls comments may be used in whole or in part. He can be contacted for additional commentary at 574-631-5128 or * " * rschmuhl@nd.edu * ":mailto:rschmuhl@nd.edu

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