Winfrey made her first foray on the campaign trail last weekend, lending her celebrity-appeal to U.S. Sen. Barack Obama in a swing through Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, and drawing a total of 70,000 people, some of whom wore buttons that read "Oprah for VP" and waved signs that read "Oprah + Obama (heart)."
But not every Oprah fan is overjoyed about the star's leap into the political fray. Some believe her appearances could backfire, alienating viewers and angering fans.
Already, daytime devotees have lashed out on Oprah.com message boards. "OPRAH IS A TRAITOR!!!!" screamed one message. "In bad taste," declared another. "I will never watch your show again," wrote a third.
Indeed, Winfrey's step into the often-bitter world of partisan politics is a risky move for a woman who has carefully crafted her image to appeal to a broad and diverse audience. With shows about "favorite things," and her "angel network," Winfrey has long been a uniter — a woman who has transcended race, class and political divides — and brought women together with feel-good, mass-appeal slogans such as "Live your best life!" Now, her endorsement has shaken her fan base and threatened to splinter her viewership along partisan lines.
Some irate fans argue that Winfrey should continue her longtime support of women by endorsing U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton.
Others contend the talk-show host should remain nonpartisan.