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Oprah Winfrey introduced one of her favorite things people at what the NY Times called "the largest spectacle of the campaign cycle" - the Oprah for Barack Obama rally in Des Moines, Iowa. Winfrey said, "For the very first time in my life, I feel compelled to stand up and to speak out for the man who I believe has a new vision for America," and told the audience of 15,000 said, "I am here to tell you, Iowa, he is the one. He is the one!"

Winfrey, who was introduced by Obama's wife Michelle, also said:

“If we continue to do the same things over and over again, I believe we get the same results...When you listen to Barack Obama, when you really hear him, you witness a very rare thing. You witness a politician who has an ear for eloquence and a tongue dipped in the unvarnished truth...

There are those who say that Barack Obama should wait his turn. There are those who say that he should take a gradual approach to presidential leadership. But none of us is God. We don’t know what the future holds, so we must respond to the pressures and the fortunes of history when the moment strikes. And Iowa, I believe that moment is now.

Obama thanked Winfrey, noting, "For her to take the risk of stepping out of her comfort zone is extraordinary and it's a testimony to her courage and her friendship." While he's trailing in the national polls, Obama is leading Hillary Clinton in Iowa and with about 60% of women voters in Iowa, the Oprah effect might be powerful. PR strategist Leslie Gaines Ross told the Post, "Obama is being Oprah certified, and that's like getting the Good Housekeeping seal of approval," so the Post made this funny cover.

2007_12_hilchel.jpgAnd Hillary Clinton was campaigning in Des Moines as well - with daughter Chelsea in tow. The Clinton campaign decided to unveil the former First Daughter in context of campaigning yesterday to counter the publicity showered on Oprah.

She asked voters to support her mother and even said to one undecided potential voter, "Is there anything I can tell you that would put you over the edge for my mom?" Clinton's mother Dorothy Rodham was also campaigned in Iowa, and the LA Times reports her events were more "personal" and had about 100 to 150 people.

The Iowa primary is on January 3. Winfrey and Obama are headed to South Carolina and New Hampshire. And recently, Obama had breakfast with Mayor Bloomberg; the Senator from Illinois left a $10 tip on the $18 bill.

Photograph of Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama in Des Moines, Iowa by Charlie Neibergall/AP; photograph of Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, also in Des Moines, by Paul Sancy/AP