Too good to check: Oprah not supporting Obama publicly in 2012?

Remember this? “When I saw that first episode, I went, ‘Whoa, she is charming and very likable.'”

Dude, I think she’s gone Palinista.

Now as the 2012 election process has officially begun, sources tell me this time around Oprah’s support will be much more private.

“For 2012, much has changed for Oprah. She now has own cable channel called OWN that has been struggling to find an audience — she isn’t going to do anything to alienate them,” a TV insider tells me. “Unlike in 2008, when a drop in ratings didn’t matter as much for the queen of TV, Oprah is now fighting every day to get people to tune into OWN.”…

As my source puts it, “Helping a friend keep the most important job in the world is great, but making sure her OWN network thrives is now her priority.”

There was indeed a sharp dip in Oprah’s favorable ratings in 2008 after she became Obama’s biggest celebrity booster. (It was she, in fact, who ended up dubbing The One “The One.”) But I’ve always thought that backlash was driven mostly by Hillary fans who were angry to see Oprah end up on the wrong side of the would-be first woman president. Don’t forget, her Obama endorsement came early on, in May 2007, just three months after he launched his campaign. She helped put him on the map against the Clinton machine when he was trailing by 40 points. I think conservative fans at the time probably gave her a pass because by the time the general election rolled around, the fact of her status as an O-bot had already long since been digested. But in 2012, with the entire right roiling to beat Obama and Oprah trying to grow a fledgling vanity channel? A vocal re-endorsement really could be dicey for her business. Besides, what good would it do for him to have her at rallies again this time? Democrats will win the women vote with or without her, and independents won’t care what she thinks — at best. Exit quotation: “A December [2007] ABC/Washington Post poll of Democrats found 8% were persuaded by her Obama endorsement, 82% said it wouldn’t matter either way and 10% said her recommendation had turned them off Obama.”

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