Oprah Winfrey on Obama: 'This Is Very Personal'

12/09/2007 at 09:45 AM EST

Oprah Winfrey on Obama: 'This Is Very Personal'
Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama
Jason Reed/Reuters/Landov
Oprah Winfrey cheered and praised Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama at a campaign rally in Iowa Saturday, saying it was a personal matter for her to speak out for the first time for the junior senator from Illinois.

"This is very, very personal," said Winfrey at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, CNN.com reports. "I'm here because of my personal conviction about Barack Obama and what I know he can do for America."

For the talk-show host who recommends books and shares her list favorite of things to audiences worldwide, campaigning for a presidential nomination is something she's never done.

"For the very first time in my life, I feel compelled to stand up and speak out for the man who I believe has a new vision for America." She adds, "I understand the difference between a book club and free refrigerators. I understand the difference between that and this critical moment in our nation's history."

Winfrey, 53, who supports the 46-year-old senator in his bid for the White House, described what she thinks Obama will bring to the presidency. "I believe that Barack Obama will bring statesmanship to the White House," she said. "I believe that he will lead with strength, conviction, honor and compassion."

Dubbed as the "Oprah-bama" tour, Winfrey will also appear at rallies in South Carolina and New Hampshire on Sunday. In a bit of counter-programming Democratic contender Hillary Clinton has enlisted her daughter, Chelsea, for campaign stops this weekend in Des Moines.

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