6:20 P.M.: The Porter Sanford Performing Arts Center has cleared out after Oprah Winfrey’s second and final campaign stop for Stacey Abrams. Click here to read the full report of today’s events.
And if you’re curious about what Brian Kemp and Vice President Mike Pence were up to today, you can read that here.
We leave you with a video of U.S. Rep. John Lewis dancing to “Happy.”
Congressman John Lewis dancing to “Happy.” (I think they may be stalling a little.) pic.twitter.com/U9C9s8rExn— Tia Mitchell (@TIAreports) November 1, 2018
4:40 P.M.: The second event has begun. Check on the AJC’s Facebook live stream here:
4:01 P.M.: We’re back! The second event will likely be similar to the first. It’s scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. here at the Porter Sanford Performing Arts Center in Decatur.
It looks like in-between her appearances Oprah did some neighborhood canvassing for Abrams. We aren’t sure she was knocking on doors, but we did find video on her Instagram.
1:24 P.M.: We just ended here. Audience questions allowed Abrams to focus on her platform, such as Medicaid expansion, spending on public schools and transportation. She also said she plans to work with Republicans where she can.
“The Republicans haven’t been all bad,” she said. “Gov. Deal and I worked together on criminal justice reform, on education, on transportation.”
Oprah then asked about Abrams’ writing career, she has penned suspense novels using a pseudonym. Abrams said she started writing in college after a breakup and enjoys creating characters who face danger around every corner.
“I love reading. I love writing. I love storytelling … Those who survive it fall in love,” she said.
Oprah was surprised when Abrams said she watches a lot of TV, including shows like Black-ish and Atlanta’s own Greenleaf (of course it airs on the OWN network). Oprah also seemed impressed when Abrams said the last dishes she cooked for herself were risotto with peppers and sausage and chicken romano.
Abrams asked Oprah a question about facing her fears and Oprah jokes that it was a much heavier question that about TV shows.
After both ladies left the stage, the Abrams remix of the song “WIN” by Jay Rock began playing. Listen here:
1:07 P.M.: Oprah asks Abrams about being in debt and what that taught her. She answered: “Debt doesn’t mean you are a bad person. It doesn’t mean you’re not responsible. It doesn’t mean you’re not a good person.”
Just today a new Kemp ad dropped bringing up Abrams’ debts.
Oprah also asked about how Abrams, a child of ministers, has seen her faith tested during the campaign. She said it has been difficult at times.
“My parents are pastors, and sometimes they have had to pray for me,” Abrams said. “... When you know who you are and know whose you are, it is hard having someone tell a lie about you. It is difficult to meet meanness with kindness.”
Now, questions from the audience.
Oprah asks Abrams about her debts and what it has taught her. @ajc has covered this (IRS/student loans). Abrams says “It doesn’t mean you’re not responsible. It doesn’t mean you’re not a good person.” pic.twitter.com/OILEwvE0k1— Tia Mitchell (@TIAreports) November 1, 2018
1 P.M.: Oprah and Abrams are seated in cushy chairs on stage. Oprah comments that they are two girls from Mississippi and Abrams admits it’s kind of surreal to meet her.
“I’m having a little out of body experience,” she said. “But it’s fun. It’s awesome.”
Oprah asked about why she decided to run for governor and she talked about the decisions that the person in the role gets to make. She mentions Stand Your Ground as an issue that started in Florida as an example.
Abrams also gave a shout-out to her parents, who are in the audience. She forced her to volunteer when she was a child and taught her about public service.
Oprah just asked about the vitriol in the public discourse now, and Abrams is telling a story about lighting a candle at a synagogue this weekend as part of a memorial service after the Pittsburgh massacre.
“Part of getting past divisiveness is being authentically yourself,” Abrams said.
12:50 P.M.: More Oprah quotes:
On voting by Nov. 6: “we have this incredible opportunity to make history. We have an inalienable right to vote because it’s the one place we’re all equal. Where is it? It’s at the polls.”
“I’m here because I want you to remind others of the power.”
To the media, she said she is here for Abrams only: “I don’t want to run.”
About honoring her ancestors by voting: “I refuse to let their sacrifices be in vain.”
To women, not just “sistas”: “Vote your values. Vote your conscious.”
Now Abram’s is coming. Looks like they’re setting up for a Q&A with Oprah. Crowd chants, “And you get a vote!”
Oprah talks about honoring her ancestors by voting. “I refuse to let their sacrifices be in vain.” pic.twitter.com/zUqOYk26Ox— Tia Mitchell (@TIAreports) November 1, 2018
12:42 P.M.: Some highlights from Oprah’s speech thus far:
“I’m an independent woman I have reserved the right to do exactly what I want to do.”
“Nobody paid for me to come here. Nobody even asked me to come here. I paid for myself, and I approve this message.”
About what she said to Abrams when she called and asked to campaign for her: “I’ve been watching you and you just keep a’coming on ... You keep standing strong for the values that matter to me and the values that matter to Georgians all over this state.”
“This land was made for you and me. That’s not just a song, that’s the truth.”
“Every single one of us has the same powers at the polls.”
Oprah said she told Abrams: “I’ve been watching you, and you just keep a'coming on.” “You keep standing strong for the values that matter to me and the values that matter to Georgians all over this state.”— Tia Mitchell (@TIAreports) November 1, 2018
12:30 P.M.: There were cheers and “Sarah” chants when Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Sarah Amico entered the room.
And there were some jeers when the announcer accidently began reading from the wrong script. She started talking about early voting in DeKalb County, where Oprah is campaigning with Abrams this afternoon.
But right now we’re in Cobb. The crowd let her know and she now is working from the correct script.
Also, the soundtrack was jamming. Songs by En Vogue and Beyonce, for example.
Anyway, it looks like the show is starting now with Oprah right off the bat.
Also a hat tip to @sillyauntie on Twitter for tipping me to a tweet about Mayor Bottoms’ knee injury.
12:07 P.M.: Doors opened around 11:30 a.m., and the line wrapped around the Cobb Civic Center quickly dissipated. But there is a cluster of a few dozen people at the door who say they received confirmation emails but found out upon arrival their names weren’t on the list for entry.
Among them is Marietta resident Laveth Reese. She and her son have already voted for Stacey Abrams, and now she is hoping for a chance to see her share the stage with Oprah Winfrey.
Lucky for Reese and others, there seems to still be some empty seats in the auditorium. So they may still get in.
Finally, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms just arrived to big applause. She is using a single crutch so she must have a little injury.
When I parked, the line was wrapped around the building. But doors opened soon after, and it’s down to a couple dozen folks crowded at the entrance hoping to get in. Program supposed to start at 12:30. pic.twitter.com/QpyRmc0RoY— Tia Mitchell (@TIAreports) November 1, 2018
ORIGINAL POST: Unable to get tickets to see Oprah Winfrey in person on Thursday as she campaigns with Stacey Abrams?
Well, this is the next best thing. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will have live coverage all day from both events in Marietta and Decatur.
Check here for updates starting around noon.