The Real Reason Dr. Oz's Political Run Could Land Oprah In Hot Water

Cardiothoracic surgeon turned controversial television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz stunned the masses on November 30 when he announced his run for United States Senate in Pennsylvania. "During the pandemic, I learned that when you mix politics and medicine, you get politics instead of solutions. That's why I am running for the U.S. Senate: to help fix the problems and to help us heal," he famously declared in an op-ed piece for the Washington Examiner. Enter: the infamous comments he made on Fox News Channel's "Hannity" wherein he likened reopening schools to "an appetizing opportunity" and one that "may only cost us 2 to 3 percent in terms of total mortality." Following his claims, the backlash was swift and Oz promptly walked back his comments, issuing a tweet that he had "misspoke."

Alas, his new political aspirations could spell big trouble for legendary talk show host and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey. But why exactly? The answer just might surprise you...

Oprah gave Dr. Oz his start

Oprah Winfrey has often been credited for giving Dr. Mehmet Oz his own platform — a charge even Oz, himself, doesn't deny. "I invented life-saving devices, trained young surgeons to save lives, and expected my days to be measured by countless people helped. But many patients came too late without appreciating their power to prevent chronic disease. I started changing this reality by leaving the safety of my medical practice to become the health expert on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' and, ultimately, the host of my own TV program," Oz penned in his public bid for Senate via the conservative news platform Washington Examiner.

Per the Sacramento Bee, Oprah featured Oz on her show over sixty times before giving him the keys to his own project, "The Dr. Oz Show." But that's not all — she also featured him on the highly coveted list of "Oprah's All-Stars," among the ranks of clinical psychologist Dr. Phil and financier Suze Orman, per HuffPost. Think: "Oprah's Favorite Things" but personified. Shortly after, Oz was known far and wide for his famous albeit sometimes controversial medical advice. 

Time will only tell whether or not Oz will actually snag a seat in the Senate but should Oz take home a W in the 2022 Pennsylvania Senate race, Oprah might have some serious 'splaining to do.

Oprah has a clear effect... on politics and everything else.

While it remains to be seen whether or not Oprah Winfrey will endorse Dr. Mehmet Oz's bid for Senate (though we highly doubt it) we do know that Oprah is no stranger when it comes to riding hard for her chosen candidates. Case in point: Oprah's endorsement of Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential election. 

According to economists Craig Garthwaite and Timothy Moore, Oprah's public allegiance to the then-candidate afforded him an estimated 1,000,000 additional votes, arguably sealing his fate. "This is like being endorsed by Walter Cronkite," professor Joel Aberbach told the Los Angeles Times. "If I had to pick a nonpolitical character to endorse me, it's hard for me to think of anyone I would rather have on my side," Harvard University associate professor Matthew Baum added. "It's not just star power," he said. "What she has is an enormous reservoir of credibility and trust with . . . exactly the people Obama needs to reach out to."

Still, some of Oprah's fans weren't too thrilled with her political endorsement...

Oprah's popularity waned amid her endorsement of Barack Obama

Oprah Winfrey first announced her unwavering support of Barack Obama in May 2007 during an appearance on CNN's "Larry King Live." "I think that my value to him, my support of him, is probably worth more than any check," she famously told host Larry King. But as reported by Politico, shortly after the grand public endorsement her popularity among the nation took a serious nosedive. 

The reason for Oprah's waning popularity was clear: many of her female supporters took major issue with the talk show host pledging allegiance to a man when there was a female still in the running... Hillary Clinton. Nevertheless, Oprah soldiered on. "I thought long and hard before stepping up and out into this because it feels like I am stepping out of my pew and I know that no matter what you do, you're going to be criticized," she wrote in a statement via ABC News. "So, I weighed it. What is the cost for me doing it? Am I going to lose viewers? I made the decision that I have the right to do it as an American citizen and I am doing this because I feel it is the right thing to do at this time."

If we know Oprah like we think we know Oprah, we're willing to bet she's able to take the heat... and then some.