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Oops, Oprah obligingly opts out of opulent Obama observance

August 14, 2008 | 12:24 am

Oprah Winfrey, one of the country's largest celebrities who knows it, has decided to skip the spotlight at her man Barack Obama's big acceptance speech on the Denver football field during the Democratic National Convention in two weeks.

The top daytime TV talk-show diva is reportedly afraid she'd draw away some of the natural luminescence of his nomination event that officially starts the fall's general election campaign against presumed Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain, who'll be nominated a week later in St. Paul.

TV daytime talk-show host Oprah Winfrey hosts a political rally for Illinois senator Barack Obama in Iowa during the primary/caucus season

Oh, Oprah will surely be there, according to her friend and co-worker (well, actually, employee) Gayle King. But the boss of her own media empire intends to blend in with the expected crowd of 70,000+. Good luck with the blending part for that billionaire.

She wants to leave the stage to her fellow Illinoisan, King maintains, whom she campaigned for so vigorously during the early primary season. Her hosting a Hollywood fundraiser at her California home, and her celebrity involvement in packed Obama rallies in Iowa and South Carolina, which he won, and New Hampshire, which he lost, helped raised millions, attract priceless publicity and thousands of newly-motivated campaign volunteers.

But Winfrey's sudden shyness in Denver may also have to do with the fact that she and her No. 1 show apparently paid a price in popularity for taking such a prominent political stance starting last year, as the Ticket has reported here and over here and over here and also here.

Many of her millions of female fans, who've made her rich and successful over the years, apparently disagreed with Winfrey's decision to get involved in partisan politics for the first time and/or to back Obama over the first serious female candidate for a major party's presidential nomination, Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Winfrey, who's an even bigger backer of Obama than Tom Hanks, Jane Fonda or Phil Spector, still plans to be on Invesco Field when Obama accepts the Democratic presidential nomination the night of July Aug. 28, King told "Entertainment Tonight," but with no stage role.

"Oprah has not been asked to introduce him, is not expecting to be asked to introduce him and I would doubt that she would want to introduce him,'' King said. "She thinks this is his moment. I know that she is planning to be there."

So will King. She's an editor-at-large of O, the Oprah Magazine, and also hosts "Oprah & Friends" on XM Satellite Radio's Channel 156, which will broadcast from the Democratic convention in Denver.

Our friend Mark Silva has some more details over at the Swamp.

--Andrew Malcolm

Photo credit: Associated Press

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