O Positive

By STEVEN STARK  |  July 25, 2007

It was the Clintons, way back in 1992, who promised voters a two-for-one couple. But this is the first campaign where the idea has really taken off. It would be impossible, for instance, to imagine Hillary’s candidacy going very far without the considerable backing of her husband, in everything from fundraising to the reassurance he provides (to some) as a reliable figure in a Clinton White House redux. And it may actually be an understatement to say that Elizabeth Edwards has co-billing with her husband, given the considerable publicity she has generated this past month through campaign commercials, confrontations with Ann Coulter, attacks on Hillary, and a wonderful and well-deserved profile on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Which makes it all the more obvious that Obama, surrounded by political power couples, is essentially standing on his own. (His wife, Michelle, though an accomplished lawyer, isn’t a celebrity — nor should she be.)

But if Oprah stays in the fray, she could help even things out on that front. No, she isn’t related to Obama, but that may give her endorsement more credibility, in the eyes of some. And she may be so large a cultural force that her occasional presence on the campaign scene could outweigh that of Bill or Elizabeth.

The FCC “equal time” rule prevents Oprah from doing much for Obama on her television program. (In a related development, fans of Law and Order should be prepared to say goodbye to many of that show’s re-runs when Fred Thompson, a/k/a Arthur Branch, announces his candidacy, since that same ruling prevents re-airing shows that feature the soon-to-be candidate.) But that’s of little importance. Oprah is news whatever she says, wherever she says it. And if she keeps beating the drum for Obama, it could well spell trouble for the other Democrats.

RUDY GIULIANI Odds: 5-3 | past week: 2-1
MITT ROMNEY Odds: 7-2 | same
NEWT GINGRICH Odds: 5-1 | 4-1
FRED THOMPSON Odds: 6-1 | same
JOHN McCAIN Odds: 9-1 | same
MIKE HUCKABEE Odds: 100-1 | 300-1
SAM BROWNBACK Odds: 1000-1 | same
TOMMY THOMPSON Odds: 20,000-1 | same
DUNCAN HUNTER Odds: 50,000-1 | same
RON PAUL Odds: 100,000-1 | 250,000-1
TOM TANCREDO Odds: 150,000-1 | 75,000-1

Odds: 4-3 | past week: same
HILLARY CLINTON Odds: 3-2 | same
JOHN EDWARDS Odds: 6-1 | 7-1
BILL RICHARDSON Odds: 60-1 | 40-1
JOE BIDEN Odds: 85-1 | 65-1
CHRIS DODD Odds: 150-1 | same
DENNIS KUCINICH Odds: 50,000-1 | 25,000-1
MIKE GRAVEL Odds: 1 million to 1 | same

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