Oprah Winfrey shocked a voter in Georgia when she knocked on her door Thursday to ask her if she was voting for gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
Winfrey was canvassing for Abrams before she held a rally for her later in the day, part of a massive get out the vote effort in a race that polls show is too close too call.
But the voter, identified in a video Winfrey posted to Instagram as ‘Denise,’ was shocked to find a billionaire megastar knocking at her door. Exactly where the canvassing happened was unclear but it was before two rallies in the Greater Atlanta metro area.
‘Oh my god,’ Denise said, clapping her hands over her mouth in shock after she opened her door to find Winfrey there.
‘Surprise surprise,’ Winfrey said.
‘Surprise, I am shocked,’ the woman replied, grasping Winfrey’s hand.
‘So I’m canvassing for Stacey Abrams,’ Winfrey said. ‘Are you voting for her?’
‘I am I absolutely am,’ Denise said.
‘Do you have an early voting plan?’ Winfrey said.
‘I do,’ Denise responded in the short exchange Winfrey posted.
Both sides are pushing their voters to vote early in the governor’s contest.
And Winfrey made it clear when she was in Georgia that she was not there to lay the groundwork for a presidential bid of her own.
‘I want to make it very clear to all the press – everyone – I’m not here making some grand stand and I’m thinking about running for myself. I don’t want to run,’ she told the crowd.
‘I’m not here to test any waters. I don’t wanna go in those waters,’ she said, shaking her head and waving her finger.
‘I’m here today because of Stacey Abrams.’
But in Washington, President Trump declined to go head-to-head with his fellow billionaire.
‘I was on Oprah’s last week of her show, Oprah liked me very much. I’ve always liked Oprah. Oprah’s very good,’ he said, after a speech on immigration.
‘But the woman that she’s supporting is not qualified to be the governor of Georgia by any stretch of the imagination.
‘She is not qualified to be governor of Georgia. Take a look at her past, take a look at her history, at what she wants to do. That state will be in trouble quite quickly.’
Speculation about Winfrey as a presidential candidate began after she accepted an Cecile B. DeMille award at the Golden Globes in January, when she called for a time no woman would have to say ‘me too’ again.
But she made it clear on Thursday she was there for the 2018 midterms and, particularly, the Georgia governor’s race, which has exploded into the national spotlight.
Winfrey lent her star power to Abrams’ quest to become the country’s first black woman governor.
Lines wound around the block to see the megastar, who focused her remarks on getting out the vote in a contest that polls show is tied between the Democratic Abrams and Republican nominee Brian Kemp.
And star power has poured into the race.
Vice President Mike Pence was in the state on Thursday to campaign for Kemp and counter Winfrey.
‘I’d like to remind Stacey and Oprah and Will Ferrell, I’m kind of a big deal too,’ he said. ‘This ain’t Hollywood. This is Georgia.’
Former President Barack Obama is coming to Atlanta on Friday for Abrams and President Donald Trump will campaign Sunday for Kemp.
Winfrey came out to a standing ovation at the Cobb Civic Center in Marietta, a GOP-leaning suburb of Atlanta.
‘Georgia you have been on my mind,’ she declared.
Winfrey, in her remarks, stressed no one paid her or asked her to come.
‘I wasn’t asked, I just called Stacy up three days ago. Yes. I didn’t even know her,’ Winfrey said, noting she had to ask around for Abrams number.
She also said repeatedly that she is a political independent who has voted for both Republicans and Democrats.
‘I am an independent woman. I have earned the right to do exactly what I want to do. I’ve earned the right to do what I want to do when I want to do it. I’ve earned the right to think for myself and vote fo myself,’ she said.
She added: ‘Nobody paid for me to come. Nobody even asked for me to come here. I paid for myself and I approved this message.’
Winfrey said she wasn’t in Georgia to campaign for herself but she sounded like a candidate as she rallied the crowd, stressing the importance of voting, talking about the oppression of black voters in American history, and urging people to vote as a way to honor their family legacy.
‘Every single one of us has the same power at the polls. Every single one of us has something that, if done in numbers too big to tamper with, cannot be suppressed and cannot be denied,’ she said.
She said that everyone is equal when they are at the polls no matter the color of their skin, their religion or their sexual orientation.
‘It doesn’t matter when you are there at the polls. What god we pray to, it doesn’t matter who we choose to love. Whether or not we graduated high school or went to college or how much money you have in the bank or whether or not you have a preexisting condition or whether you are elderly or not. Whether you are developmentally disabled. Doesn’t matter at the polls. We are all equal in power,’ she added.
‘We have this incredible opportunity to make history. We have our inalienable right to vote because the place where we are all equal is, where is it? At the polls! I’m here today because I know you know that. I came to remind you of the power. I’m here because I want you to remind others of the power,’ Winfrey said as the crowd roared.
It was a rare campaign appearance for Winfrey, who campaign for Obama but has not been a huge presence in politics despite her influence in the pop culture arena.
Winfrey recounted the history of suppression of black voters as she urged people to go to the polls on Election Day.
‘I’m here today I’m here for the men who were lynched and humiliated and discriminated against and suppress,’ she said.
Winfrey admitted she didn’t take voting seriously until her 20s, when she heard a speech from the Rev. Otis Moss Jr. on how his father was denied the right to vote in the state of Georgia.
The senior Moss went to polling station after polling station, only to be told he was at the wrong one and to go to another location. He was unable to vote before polls closed.
‘When I go to the polls and I cast my ballot, I cast it for a man I never knew. I cast it for Otis Moss Sr., who walked 18 miles one day just for the chance to vote. When I go to the polls, I cast the vote for my grandmother who died in 1963 before the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and never had a chance to vote,’ she said.
‘For anybody here who has an ancestor who didn’t have the right to vote and you are choosing not to vote wherever you are in this state or this country, you are dishonoring your family,’ she said.
‘Honor your legacy and honor your right to citizenship in this, which is the greatest country in the world,’ she rallied the crowd.
She advised the crowd to ignore the campaign ads, which she called ‘propaganda’ and fear mongering.
‘All the vitriol in the ads, they are designed to confusion and confound you with fear. That’s why they are done. They are designed to confound you with fear. They are not designed for people with discernment,’ she said. ‘When you know the right thing and you can feel it, you can feel what is the right thing to do, you can’t be influenced by propaganda and fear.’
More than 1.5 million Georgians already have cast ballots in early voting, according to the Associated Press.
SOURCE: DailyMail, by EMILY GOODIN