Oprah Winfrey opened the high iron gates of her highly guarded estate here Saturday to raise more than $3 million for White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), his biggest single-day haul ever, in a fund-raising spectacle rarely seen in U.S. politics.
"I haven't been actively engaged before because there hasn't been anything to be actively engaged in. But I am engaged now to make Barack Obama the next president of the United States," a source said Winfrey told the crowd just before the concert, starring Stevie Wonder.
Introducing Obama, Winfrey said that "nobody can stand in the way of destiny."
"It's unbelievable," said Illinois state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias as the Great Gatsby party scene unfolded before him on Winfrey's meadow under a gorgeous sky. Real celebrities mingled with Obama's best donors and bundlers rewarded for their fund-raising efforts with a star-studded afternoon.
Stevie Wonder performed for guests, who included Sidney Poitier, Forest Whitaker, Chris Rock, Cindy Crawford, Jimmy Connors, Linda Evans, Dennis Haysbert and many others. Will Smith, Jamie Foxx and Halle Berry also were expected, though it was unclear if they were in attendance. The media were barred from the fundraiser.
"I call my home the Promised Land because I get to live Dr. King's dream," Winfrey told her guests, a source inside recalled Winfrey saying. "I haven't been actively engaged before because there hasn't been anything to be actively engaged in. But I am engaged now to make Barack Obama the next president of the United States."