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Oprah Winfrey: ‘I don’t have the DNA’ for a presidential run

Oprah Winfrey gives a rousing speech about women's

Oprah Winfrey gives a rousing speech about women's rights and a free press at the Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Jan. 7, 2018. Credit: Getty images / NBCUniversal

In an interview conducted weeks before her Golden Globe Awards speech inspired calls for a presidential run, Oprah Winfrey acknowledged there already had been public support for the idea, and that she was uninterested.

Laughing as she recalled having seen “a cute mug” saying “Oprah 2020,” the media mogul and sometime actress, who turns 64 on Jan. 29, jokes in the new issue of InStyle magazine, “All you need is a mug and some campaign literature and a T-shirt.” Turning serious, she adds that “I’ve always felt very secure and confident with myself in knowing what I could do and what I could not. And so it’s not something that interests me. I don’t have the DNA for it.”

Following Winfrey’s impassioned speech about women’s rights and a free press as she accepted the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Cecil B. DeMille Award on Jan. 7, an outpouring of support for the notion of a presidential campaign sprang up on social media, from entertainers and writers to groups like the National Organization for Women and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

The prospect was spurred by Winfrey’s partner of three decades, Stedman Graham, telling the Los Angeles Times that night, “It’s up to the people. She would absolutely do it.” But Winfrey’s longtime friend Gayle King said his comment was the result of miscommunication. “Stedman says that he thought the reporter said to him would she make a good president and he said absolutely she would,” King told her “CBS This Morning” co-anchor, Norah O’Donnell, two days later on their program.

In the interview, done three weeks before the awards, Oprah told InStyle that “Gayle — who knows me as well as I know myself practically — has been calling me regularly and texting me things, like a woman in the airport saying, ‘When’s Oprah going to run?’ So Gayle sends me these things, and then she’ll go, ‘I know, I know, I know! It wouldn’t be good for you — it would be good for everyone else.’ I met with someone the other day who said that they would help me with a campaign. That’s not for me.”

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