The media mogul delivered a powerful speech at the Golden Globes Sunday night, almost immediately launching speculation on the topic.
Bringing a room full of Hollywood’s elite to their feet several times during the speech, Winfrey addressed the Me Too movement head on, lighting up social media with the hashtag #Oprah2020.
“It is not lost on me that at this very moment there are little girls watching me become the first black woman to get this award,” said Winfrey as she collected her Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award.
This is not the first time rumors have circulated regarding Winfrey’s presidential aspirations. Political observers compared her speech to then Sen. Barack Obama’s speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
Oprah herself has denied that she’s considering a run for president, but her partner Stedman Graham was later quoted as saying she “absolutely” would if people wanted her to.
For some, the specter of an Oprah presidential campaign raises questions on whether the country needs another big name celebrity with no political experience. But many don’t seem to mind.
“I don’t see her as a celebrity, I see her as a leader,” said West Loop resident Kristine Singer.
“As a longtime Chicago resident, she’d have my vote,” said Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.
According to political veteran Thom Serafin, the bigger question is whether Winfrey would be willing to put herself through a grueling presidential campaign.
“I think she has the ability to educate, the ability to inspire, the ability to legislate. But you have to have the guts and stamina to go out on the campaign trail and take the crap you have to take 24-7. . . She was perfect in that event. She was just perfect. Can she be perfect in Iowa, New Hampshire, in Peoria where Caterpillar is leaving and there are no jobs? Those are questions I would suggest she has no interest in getting into,” said Serafin.
For those who’ve known her from the beginning, like Dennis Swanson, whom Winfrey thanked on stage for giving her a chance on AM Chicago many years ago, the possibility is not that far-fetched.
“I said, are you going to be able to handle success, that is my concern. She said, ‘Do you think I’ll be that successful?’ I said ‘Lady, you’re going to cost me a lot of money but you are going to shoot the lights out,'” said Swanson.
Winfrey finished her speech to a standing ovation.
“A new day is on the horizon. When that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women…and some pretty phenomenal men fighting hard to make sure they become the leaders who take us to the time nobody ever has to say ‘me too’ again,” Winfrey said.
Only time will tell whether an Oprah for President campaign will materialize. If social media is any indication, just the idea of it has sparked tremendous debate. Oprah related posts have reached more than 1.5 million people on ABC7’s Facebook page.
A full transcript of Winfrey’s speech can be found here.