Oprah and Chelsea Hit the Trail

Star power can make a big media splash, but will it actually influence voters?

With the Iowa caucuses less than a month away, Democratic presidential hopefuls called in the big guns this weekend.

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama brought in "America's big sister" Oprah Winfrey to try and rally the support of her millions of fans behind him.

Meanwhile New York Sen. Hillary Clinton's famous family headed out on the trail to show their loyal support, including her husband Bill, daughter Chelsea and even her mom, Dorothy Rodham.

'America's Big Sister'

Winfrey has made a career out of connecting with her audience, and this weekend was no exception. Some consider her the most trusted woman in America.


In Manchester, S.C., she drew a crowd of 30,000. She played to fans' emotions and urged them to "vote the dream," not just to settle for the inevitable.

"What Barack has taught me is disappointment doesn't have to be normal. … Is he the one? I believe he's the one," she declared. Her influence with millions of Americans is so strong that her endorsement could shake up the campaign.

Winfrey's following is chiefly among women and that is where it could hurt Clinton the most. In Iowa, the first election battleground, more than half of the voters are women.

With both contenders in hot pursuit of the women's vote, there couldn't have been a better time for Clinton's family to come out and show their support.


The First Family

This weekend Rodham, Clinton's mom and "buddy," as well as her 27-year-old daughter, each headed out to meet and greet Iowans and talk about Clinton's softer side.

Chelsea often attends her mom's campaign events in New York City, where Chelsea now lives and works, but the trip to Iowa was a rare treat for the campaign.

Chelsea, who's known for being shy, braved the barrage of attention this weekend to urge Iowans to support her mom. "Oh Chelsea! You've grown up, you're so beautiful!" fans cooed at the former first daughter.

With a full-time career in finance, it's difficult for Chelsea to take time off. Unlike many presidential contenders' children who've dropped their jobs to campaign full time, Chelsea has chosen not to give up her own ambitions. She has a serious boyfriend in New York and is intent on trying to keep her life private. Her parents are eager to let her keep it private and have always tried to shield her from the press.

Meanwhile, former President Clinton campaigned for his wife in South Carolina. He touched on similar themes as Winfrey, telling the audience "America needs a new beginning."

In South Carolina 30 percent of Democratic primary voters are black. Winfrey's trip there sought to challenge Bill Clinton's popularity among black and win over support for Barack.

Clinton, who has been nicknamed "the first black president," helped push his wife to the lead in South Carolina. Recently though Clinton and Obama are basically even there. If Winfrey's influence helps push Obama to the front, it will be a crucial victory for his campaign.