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Oprah and Babs are OK; Gore is the rock star

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Garrell Hughes
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« on: November 29, 2007, 01:12:54 pm »

Oprah and Babs are OK; Gore is the rock star

November 28, 2007
BY CAROL MARIN Sun-Times Columnist
A former Funny Girl for a former first lady. We're dancing with the stars for sure now.

Singer-actor-activist Barbra Streisand has just jumped with both vocal chords into the presidential primary season by endorsing Hillary Clinton.

"Madame President of the United States," she was quoted in a press release Tuesday, ". . . it's an extraordinary thought."

Streisand, it should be noted, didn't use the now-dreaded word "experience" once. Instead, she cited Clinton's ability to bring about "change."

"Experience" has now become code for old politics. "Change" is code for new, young thinking. And Streisand's wording may be a signal that the Clinton camp has taken too much of a beating on the "experience" issue from Barack Obama to keep banging that particular drum anymore.

Obama, on the other hand, doesn't have a corner on another New Frontier.

But really, Barbra Streisand? In Iowa?

Is that going to stir the feelings of primary voters and caucusgoers? Or do they say, thanks, Babs, we'll stay the way we were?

That, by the way, goes for Oprah, too, who next week hits the campaign trail to stump for Obama. I concede I'm in a distinct minority of my peers but I'm not buying the notion that Oprah Winfrey, magical as she may be in driving book sales or department store runs on her favorite designer purses, is as politically positive a force as she's being cracked up to be.

I'm waiting for Al Gore.

Yes, yes, I remember that back in 2004, right after Gore threw his endorsement behind presidential hopeful Howard Dean, Dean sank like a rock in Iowa. But that was then, and this is now.

Gone is the wooden, former veep who used to be like a match to wet wood.

Today, Gore is both a statesman and a rock star. A crusader, capitalist and conservationist. There he was Monday at the White House, the real winner in 2000, standing next to the guy who got fewer votes but became president anyway.

Gore, with a Nobel Prize, stood smiling beside George Bush. Why Bush was smiling at all is a mystery, what with a war he can't win, recession worries he can't seem to restrain and global warming he can't or won't grasp.

Experience is not a dirty word. And Al Gore is proof. But because he won't run, he can endorse instead.

Gore is an Olympic get extraordinaire.

According to a recent Pew Research Center poll, "one-in-five Democratic and Democrat leaning voters (21 percent) say Gore's endorsement would make them more likely to support a candidate, while just 7 percent say his endorsement would drive them away."

That's a higher positive and lower negative than USA Today/Gallup rates the pluses and minuses of an Oprah endorsement.

And one little bit of irony.

Back when Gore endorsed Dean, he did so in New York's Harlem. That's where Barack Obama will be Thursday night, just down the block from Bill Clinton's presidential office.

There's no indication Gore, who was in London Tuesday, will be jetting in.

Then again, in the wacky world of political endorsements where Larry Flynt, Chuck Norris and Randy Travis have already voiced their presidential choices, what's he waiting for?

Jerry Lewis, Tammy Wynette, Goldie Hawn?

http://www.suntimes.com/news/marin/669969,CST-EDT-carol28.article
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