The email from the Obama campaign arrived in my inbox at the crack of dawn.
"OPRAH WINFREY TO TOUR EARLY STATES WITH BARACK OBAMA," screamed the headline.
And yes, goddess Oprah Winfrey will try to do for Barack Obama what she did for Wally Lamb.
I know this much is true: on December 8th and 9th, O will join Obama at events in Iowa, South Carolina, and New Hampshire. All events will be free and open to the public, the campaign says.
While in general I remain skeptical of the power of endorsements (Gore, Bradley and Harkin for Howard Dean, anyone?), especially regarding celebs (Robert Duval for Rudy? Chuck Norris for Huckabee?), O is to millions of American women more akin to the leader of a movement than "just" a talk show host a la Ellen, Rosie, Jay and Dave.
Why is that?
Will O make a difference for Obama?
UPDATE: My brilliant wife — who also happens to be a junior clergywoman at the Church of Oprah — says that if the Obama campaign was really wise, they might have Oprah also come to Iowa the day after the Iowa Caucus — for an event only Caucus-goers would be able to get into. That would increase turnout at the Caucuses for Obama, she suggests. How would you best use the star-power of O?