3 February 2008, UCLA, Los Angeles, California, USA
We can vote as we believe. And we can do that because that is what the struggle was for. That was what the struggle was for. You know, after Iowa, there were some women who had the nerve to say to me, "How could you, Oprah? How could you? You're a traitor to your gender."
That's how I feel. I was both surprised by that comment and insulted. Because I've been a woman my whole life, and every part of me believes in the empowerment of women. But the truth is, I'm a free woman. I'm a free woman. I'm a free woman. I'm a free woman. And being free means you get to think for yourself, and you get to decide for yourself what to do. So, I say I am not a traitor. No, I'm not a traitor. I'm just following my own truth, and that truth has led me to Barack Obama. Oh, yeah. The truth has led me to Barack Obama. And I, too, look forward to the day when I will vote for a woman for this office, and this election has proven that that is possible.
But for me, when you have a man like Barack Obama, who says, as Toni Morrison said, did you all see what Toni Morrison said? Toni Morrison says, "In thinking about the strength of the candidates," I'm going to quote her here. She says, "I stunned myself when I came to the following conclusion, that in addition to keen intelligence, integrity, and a rare authenticity, Barack exhibits something that has nothing to do with age, experience, race, or gender, and something we don't see in any other candidate.
That something," she said, "is creative imagination. Which, coupled with brilliance, equals wisdom. And wisdom is a gift. You can't train for wisdom. You can't inherit wisdom. You can't learn wisdom. You can't get wisdom in the workplace. Barack Obama has the gift of wisdom."
And then, this election has just brought out the best in folks, 'cause I heard from some narrow-minded folks who said I was just voting for him because he was black. And I say, that too was insulting to me. Don't play me small. I'm not that small. I'm not that small. Don't play me small. I would never vote for anyone based on gender or race. I'm voting for Barack Obama not because he's black, I'm voting for Barack Obama because he's brilliant.