Can Oprah Help Obama In Iowa?

barack obama and oprah winfrey side by side CBS/AP

This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.

Oprah Winfrey is going on the campaign trail with Barack Obama next week. Is that a good thing? We'll see.

I've lived in Iowa and go back there frequently.

Plenty of people there will scoff, "Me? I don't pay any attention to celebrities."

Others will be curious, "Oprah? Coming to Cedar Rapids? Holy cow!"

And many others will want to know about the connection: why Oprah, whose personal story is so compelling, whose success is unrivaled, would do something she's never done before -- endorse a presidential candidate.

Oprah is so much more than a talk show host. To appear on her show is as if to be blessed. Ask anyone: "The day I was on Oprah I got calls from people I hadn't heard from in years."

Her viewers trust her. The people and things she values get instant credibility. I wonder if her reach though extends to the White House.

Who you support for president is deeply personal. It transcends friendships, family, religion … maybe even Oprah.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.

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