Kansas City man persists in quest to get Winfrey into White House

Saturday, September 23, 2006

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Patrick Crowe says he is having a blast promoting talk-show icon Oprah Winfrey for president.

Winfrey's lawyers are not.

Crowe has been unofficially campaigning for the first lady of daytime TV for years. The Kansas City man's Web site, www.oprah08.net, comes complete with a campaign song and volunteer sign-up. The campaign's toll-free number, which rings to his daughter-in-law's house in San Diego, translates to OPRAH08.

The retired math teacher even sells "Oprah for President" T-shirts and drives around in a 1959 Ford with placards that say "Dr. Phil for V.P.?"

But his unflappable support has recently drawn the ire of Winfrey's lawyers, who sent Crowe a letter on Aug. 22 demanding that he remove her picture from the Web site and a book he is selling.

The cease-and-desist letter said Crowe's zeal has crossed into copyright and trademark infringements and that Winfrey's company, Harpo Inc., "will continue to protect its intellectual property aggressively."

But Crowe is persistent. The Web site remained up Friday, and he has been fielding requests for radio interviews.

"It has become increasingly serious to me," Crowe, who opposes the Bush administration and its foreign policy, told The Kansas City Star for a story Friday. "I know Oprah can do better than that."

Crowe believes Winfrey could bridge partisan lines with her charm but added "this is not the girl you want to mess with." He also noted Winfrey's business acumen, widespread name recognition and reputation as a woman of compassion and determination.

A spokeswoman for Harpo said that Winfrey has gone on the record as saying she has no political aspirations, but Crowe said he is confident that all it will take is "that 'Aha!' moment" to make her change her mind.

"I think she would be good at it," he said.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: