CNN's Chris Cillizza on Oprah Winfrey Speech at Golden Globes: 'You Can Close Your Eyes and Imagine That Speech Being Given in Iowa'

January 8, 2018

CNN political reporter and editor at large Chris Cillizza on Monday compared TV talk-show host Oprah Winfrey's speech at the Golden Globes the prior night to a presidential candidate's speech launching their White House bid.

Winfrey fueled speculation on social media that she will run for president in 2020 after delivering a speech at the Golden Globes when she received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement. She spoke about the #MeToo movement and the need for an independent press.

CNN reported Monday that Winfrey is "actively thinking" about a 2020 presidential run, leading network host Brianna Keilar to lead a panel on Winfrey's White House prospects. Keilar asked Cillizza what he thought about her speech and the enthusiasm it has sparked among many liberals.

"I was a little taken back in how—you could close your eyes and imagine that speech being given in Iowa, let's say, or as a campaign kick off," Cillizza said. "Particularly the end, there's going to be a moment—yes, the audience is getting into it."

Iowa is where the first caucuses are held for presidential primaries, leading many potential candidates to visit there early in election cycles.

Winfrey's speech led celebrities, journalists, commentators, and political operatives to call on her to launch a White House bid, including Brad Anderson, who served as Barack Obama's Iowa spokesman in 2008 before running the former president's entire Iowa operation in 2012.

Cillizza praised Winfrey's message but indicated that he is not sold on her just yet, pointing out that she was speaking to Hollywood, not to midwestern voters.

"Now, she's speaking to Hollywood; she's not speaking to Iowa," Cillizza said. "But still, that messaging right now is very powerful."

"Oprah is Oprah for a reason. This is not someone who blunders into things; this is not someone who does not think of what her words and her actions will mean," Cillizza added. "You don't give a speech like that in that moment, with those expectations, unless you know that there's going to be some talk of it."