Oprah Tells Obama 'No' for Obamacare Help
Sunday, October 20, 2013 04:27 PM
By: Sandy Fitzgerald
Celebrities may be lining up to push the president's healthcare insurance plan, but Obamacare will not be getting any Oprahcare any time soon.
Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey, who went all out during the 2008 presidential election to help President Barack Obama win the White House, is spurning the Oval Office's advances when it comes to promoting the troubled Affordable Care Act, wrote best-selling author Ed Klein in a New York Post piece Sunday.
"The story of why Oprah has changed her tune and gone AWOL on ObamaCare goes well beyond mere gossip," wrote Klein, author of "The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House."
"It speaks volumes about the convergence of celebrity and politics under Obama and about a president who thinks nothing of using and then discarding his most loyal supporters."
In fact, Klein says a close advisor of Winfrey's reported the media mogul gave the White House an "immediate, flat-out, unequivocal no" when she was invited to the White House in August to discuss publicizing the president's health care plan.
White House adviser Valerie Jarrett had phoned Winfrey in August to invite her to the White House to meet with a host of other stars, including Amy Poehler, Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys to meet with Obama to discuss publicizing the law.
Winfrey instead sent a lower-level representative from one of her talent agencies. As the president's healthcare plan has turned into the train wreck its Republican opponents have been calling it all along, the woman who brought millions of votes to Obama's first presidential campaign has not lifted a finger to help him out.
Klein said Winfrey is still feeling snubbed because she did not get the unfettered access she expected to the Obama White House when she was stumping nationwide for him. While she campaigned heavily for him in 2008, giving her first-ever presidential endorsement, she backed away for the 2012 race, saying that she was too busy launching her new cable network, OWN, to join in the campaign.
"What was not reported was that, in return, Oprah was promised unique access to the White House if Obama won," Klein said. "She’d get regular briefings on initiatives and a heads-up on programs to give her material for her fledgling cable network, OWN."
A source close to Winfrey told Klein that there were big plans, and a team was put together to come up with proposals that would benefit them both, but nothing happened, and OWN has struggled since its debut.
"Oprah sent notes and a rep to talk to Valerie Jarrett, but nothing came of it," the source said. "It slowly dawned on Oprah that the Obamas had absolutely no intention of keeping their word and bringing her into their confidence.”
And while Winfrey has claimed she is too busy to become involved in politics, she did find time to host a recent huge fundraiser for Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who ended up winning his state's Senate seat this past week.
Winfrey's friends protest that the first lady of talk shows is on the outs with Obama and his wife Michelle. They note that Winfrey called the first lady after the 2012 election to congratulate her, and that Michelle Obama invited her to dinner with the family. But that dinner hasn't happened.
“Oprah was hoping there would be a genuine change in the atmospherics,” a friend told Klein, “But there hasn’t been. Clearly, she is being rebuffed at the level of Michelle and Valerie. And, just as obviously, President Obama hasn’t interfered on Oprah’s behalf.”
Klein noted that in "The Amateur," the first lady is jealous of Winfrey and furious that her husband was seeking her advice.
“For her part, Oprah doesn’t like being with Michelle, because the first lady is constantly one-upping the president and anybody else around her,” an Oprah advisor told Klein. “Oprah has struck back by banning the Obamas from her O, The Oprah Magazine."
Editor's Note: ObamaCare Is About to Strike Are You Prepared?
The advisor said that Oprah is "hurt and angry...she knows how to hold a grudge."