Oprah Winfrey doesn't want to interview Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin until after Election Day, but she's more than happy to use her program to advance a piece of legislation sponsored by Democrat vice presidential candidate Joe Biden.
At the same time, while she spent her entire show Monday discussing child predators and what can be done about them (video of final segment embedded right), she chose not to address another Senate proposal authored by Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) that combines Biden's bill with legislation sponsored by John McCain.
I wonder why.
As The Hill reported Monday, Winfrey is clearly using her couch in a highly-political fashion that might not only help Democrats, but also assist Barack Obama's efforts to get into the White House (emphasis added throughout):
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), spurred on by activists and TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey, is planning round two against his nemesis: Tom Coburn, aka “Senator No.”
Reid’s office has sent word to Senate Democrats that it would like to bring the so-called Coburn omnibus bill to the floor soon, setting up a rematch with the conservative Oklahoma Republican who has often brought the Senate to gridlock.
Think Oprah is aware of these inner-workings? I doubt it:
Coburn won the last round, but this time Reid has Winfrey on his side. The daytime TV star, who draws 44 million viewers weekly, was not seen as much of a political activist until she threw her support behind Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.).
Now Winfrey has squared off against Coburn, who has blocked S. 1738, the Combating Child Exploitation Act.
Winfrey asked her viewers Monday to call and write the Senate to demand their support for the legislation, sponsored by Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden (Del.).
In the end, there's more to this than meets the eye:
Reid bundled the Biden bill with nearly 35 other bills that Coburn has used Senate rules to block into a package known as the Coburn omnibus.
Reid fell eight votes short of moving the package through the Senate in July. In a surprise, Reid’s aides have told fellow Democrats he will try again this week — a mere six weeks after Coburn successfully blocked it previously.
Oprah not only spent her entire show Monday discussing this issue, she now has a link at her website encouraging people to act:
The PROTECT Our Children Act will:
- Authorize over $320 million over the next five years in desperately needed funding for law enforcement to investigate child exploitation.
- Mandate that child rescue be a top priority for law enforcement receiving federal funding.
- Allocate funds for high-tech computer software that can track down Internet predators.
Your U.S. senators will be voting on the bill soon, so it is crucial you contact them immediately.
Despite Oprah's good intentions concerning this issue, her advancement of a bill sponsored by Biden with nary a mention to similar legislation connected to McCain makes her advocacy a tad unseemly.
Coburn agreed with such sentiments as evident in his statement issued Monday (emphasis added):
“Oprah’s viewers deserve to know that Senate leaders have twice objected to passage of the bill she supports. Senate leaders have insisted that S. 1738, authored by Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) and endorsed by Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), only pass if it is included in a package of unrelated bills that addresses less vital concerns such as the interstate commerce of non-human primates. When I proposed de-linking the causes of protecting children and chimpanzees, Senate leaders objected,” Dr. Coburn said. [...]
“Because of these objections, I introduced S. 3344, a comprehensive child exploitation bill that pairs S. 1738 with the Securing Adolescents from Exploitation-Online (SAFE) Act of 2007, a measure strongly supported by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children which passed the House by a margin of 409-2. The Democrat leadership objected, however, apparently because they didn’t want to give the SAFE Act’s Senate author, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), credit for passing a complimentary bill,” Dr. Coburn said. [...]
“I’m concerned that Oprah’s program only highlighted one half of the solution – the half supported by the presidential ticket she has endorsed."
So am I, Senator. So am I.