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Special Report

Did Oprah's Endorsement of Obama Do More Harm Than Good?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Unintended Consequences

It seems there is danger when celebrities get involved in the political endorsement business — even for Oprah Winfrey. The Los Angeles Times and the Politico newspaper report Winfrey's popularity numbers have taken significant hits since her backing of Senator Obama for president.

Winfrey's approval numbers in various surveys have gone from 74 before her endorsement — to 61 in August — and 55 after her appearances with Obama in Iowa and South Carolina.

Her unfavorable ratings for the first time climbed to one in three. A survey of more than a million Americans found Winfrey a distant second to Ellen DeGeneres as their favorite daytime host.

Meanwhile, 82 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents surveyed in December said Winfrey's endorsement did not matter to them at all. Only 8 percent said it would make them more likely to vote for Obama — and 10 percent said it would make them less likely.

Off Mike

Radio talk show host Randi Rhodes of the liberal Air America network has resigned after refusing orders to apologize on air for a profane rant against Hillary Clinton. Rhodes used the "F-word" and "whore" to describe Senator Clinton during a public appearance last month in San Francisco. She had similar remarks for Geraldine Ferraro.

Air America President Mark Green says he demanded an apology — just like others had done from Don Imus and NBC's David Shuster after their inappropriate remarks. Green says Rhodes chose to terminate her contract rather than say she was sorry.

Hit Squad

CNN commentator Paul Begala will be moonlighting as one of the leaders of a group of Democrats preparing a $40 million media campaign to bash John McCain.

The Politico newspaper reports Begala and former conservative journalist David Brock presented their strategy at a dinner Tuesday night in the Manhattan apartment of liberal billionaire George Soros. Begala and Brock call their group "progressive media USA." It is replacing other groups that had failed to raise the money needed for the anti-McCain effort.

Brock says he and Begala need to do the work of a press corps that — in his words — "has fallen down on the job" because it is "in love with John McCain."

Do As I Say?

And finally, Idaho State Senator John Goedde (Geddy) is a sponsor of a bill to increase sharply the fines for motorists who speed through school zones.

So what happened on the day his bill was being debated in the state Senate? Goedde was pulled over by a police officer — for speeding through a school zone.

The Idaho Statesman newspaper reports Goedde was going 32 miles an hour in the 25 miles per hour zone. He says he did not see the flashing lights over the road.

Goedde admits to making a mistake and says he deserves to pay the $141.50 penalty. His bill to increase the speeding fines passed the Senate and the House — and awaits the governor's signature.

FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.