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MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) — In a rousing speech in the Republican-leaning suburbs of Atlanta, Oprah Winfrey urged voters on Thursday to make history by backing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams in next week’s election.

 

Winfrey called Abrams a “changemaker” who represents the values of all Georgians.

“I am here today because Stacey Abrams cares about the things that matter,” she said to a mostly female audience north of downtown Atlanta.

Seventy-five miles (120 kilometers) north, Vice President Mike Pence stood alongside Abrams’ opponent, Brian Kemp, in Dalton, and mocked the billionaire media icon as just another liberal outsider trying to impose on Republican-run Georgia.

“Stacey Abrams is being bankrolled by Hollywood liberals,” Pence said, after drawing boos when he mentioned that “Oprah is in town” and noted that actor Will Ferrell was recently in the state for Democrats.

 

“I’d like to remind Stacey and Oprah and Will Ferrell, I’m kind of a big deal, too,” Pence said, adding “a message for all Stacey Abrams’ liberal friends: This ain’t Hollywood. This is Georgia.”

 

The competing scenes — from the candidates, to the audiences, to the headliner guests — underscore the choice Georgia voters face Tuesday in one of the nation’s premier midterm matchups. After Thursday’s dueling outsiders, former President Barack Obama will follow on Friday for Abrams. President Donald Trump will appear with Kemp on Sunday.

More than 1.5 million of the state’s almost 7 million registered voters have cast ballots already.

Abrams would be the first black female governor in American history, and she’s sought the post as an unapologetic liberal trying to draw new voters to the polls and prove that Georgia’s growth and diversity make it a legitimate two-party battleground.

She touts her experience working with Republicans as a state legislative leader, but she doesn’t back down on her promises to expand Medicaid insurance, prioritize public education and push for tighter gun restrictions.

Kemp is a staunch conservative who has embraced Trump and the administration’s hard-line on immigration. He wields guns in his ads and lambastes Abrams as a tool of “socialists” and “billionaires” who “want to turn Georgia into California.”

Both candidates have taken to describing the race as a battle for “the soul of our state.”

For her part, Winfrey sought to cut through the party-line framing.

The entertainment icon, who rarely makes political endorsements, drew cheers when she said she’s a registered independent who was not in Georgia at anyone’s request.

“I paid to come here myself, and I approved this message,” Winfrey said, explaining that she tracked down Abrams’ cellphone number and called her to say she wanted to offer assistance in the final days of the campaign.

She added a note to the throng of media gathered for the event, urging against any reboot of recent speculation that she might run for president in 2020.

“I’m not here because I’m making some grandstand for myself. I don’t want to run. I’m not testing the waters,” she said.

Winfrey blasted attacks on Abrams that she says she saw in her hotel room — Republican ads casts Abrams as “too extreme” and “radical” for Georgia — as “noise” that is “designed to confound you with fear.”

Touting the Democratic nominee’s pitch for Medicaid expansion, “common-sense gun control,” environmental regulations and “keeping families together, Winfrey said Abrams offers “the values that matter to Georgians all over this state.”

“Democracy is not just about our individual rights and concerns and our individual protections,” Winfrey said, “but rather it lives and thrives in making sure that everybody is lifted by the community.”

Winfrey did not mention Pence or the frequent GOP broadsides about “Hollywood” outsiders. But after her speech, in a sit-down interview with Abrams — reminiscent of the 25-year television run of her daytime television show — she noted they were “just two women from Mississippi.”

As a black woman, Winfrey noted her kinship to two groups historically denied ballot access in the United States. She recalled generations of black Americans who faced “lynching … oppression … suppression,” and declared that “their blood has seeped into my DNA” and forced her to the polls.

Then she encouraged women of all races — “sisters … not just ‘sistahs,'” she joked — to remember that they would have been “just a piece of property” with no ballot barely a century ago.

The pitches from Pence and Winfrey clearly fit Abrams’ and Kemp’s respective strategies.

Kemp is trying to extend the Republican domination in Georgia, which hasn’t elected a Democrat as governor since 1998. He’s banking on running up wide margins outside metro Atlanta and holding most of the GOP votes closer to the city. Goosing a GOP base that holds Trump and Pence in high regard is key to the approach.

 

Abrams is looking to maximize turnout among nonwhites, liberal urban whites and just enough whites everywhere else, including a smattering of moderates and suburban Republicans who are disenchanted with Trump — a considerable overlap with the fan base that propelled Winfrey to her billionaire icon status.

___

Martin reported from Dalton, Ga.

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18 thoughts on “Oprah, Mike Pence Support Opposing Candidates In Georgia

  1. I don’t know about anyone else…..but I believe Attorney Cohen’s comments about what Trump said racially when he was in his company. Some of the same things Trump has said in public. For example S….hole countries.

  2. Unfortunately a lot of young people (and even not so young) don’t appreciate nor understand the importance of voting. In many parts of the United States there are lots of people WHO CAN’T VOTE BC THEY ARE HERE FROM OTHER COUNTRIES AND NEVER APPLIED FOR CITIZENSHIP. ‘Oprah is right on point with her message!!

    • Aww u and the big baby in the wh is mad bc Obama spoke truth to power. Something the racist in the wh knows nothing about. That bytch (trump) tells 30 lies a damn day. THe racist in the wh will be debunked on November 6. Watch!!! Get a life, fool.

  3. 45 dumb ass talking about Stacy Abrams isn’t qualified. We already knw he think blks are stupid. But he’s dumb ass damn sure isn’t qualified to be prez. That’s why this presidency is fake a f**k. VOTE! VOTE!! VOTE!!!! Let’s get this done.

  4. Ted Gravely on said:

    Oprah is Oprah. I’m glad to see her and Michael B. putting in the work. Times are critical. I have a promise to carry 6 people to the polls. I hope to get more. VOTE – It matters!

  5. VOTE, VOTE, VOTE. BLUE ALL THE WAY. TIME TO PUT THE RED IDIOTS IN THEIR RIGHTFUL PLACE, BEHIND A WALL. MAC DADDY WANNA BE, YOU ARE THE BIGGEST IDIOT YET.

  6. Nice photo-op for Hollywood celebrities down in GA or as Obama, Palosi, Schemer, Booker (aka Spartacus)
    Harris (aka Rainbow Bright) refer to as “FLY-OVER COUNTRY”

    • Whitey is still lynching blks. Read the article about the lynching that took in sour h Carolina recently. But we will vote bc of the surpression tactics. It should make more ppl vote even more.

      • Bull his drug dealer probably did it for non-payment besides we lynch each other by the thousands every year

    • MariAnne Bolton on said:

      Why do the republicans always respond as if they are still in HIGH SCHOOL – – from the White House occupant on down. Can we ever get a Grown-up response that would bring the debate UP to the level of the Democratic s???

      • WHY do Democrats respond to everything as a matter of RACE?? “vote Rep and black church’s will burn, welfare reform is racist, ID’s are racist (as if blacks are too stupid or lazy to get ID) even Oprah yesterday couldn’t speak to the merits and qualifications of her candidate she had to go back to the time of slavery and lynching’s

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