While Ms. Winfrey is making it no secret that she has Sen. Obama's back, her mentor, Dr. Angelou, publicly endorses Sen. Clinton. As a result, much is being made about the significance race and gender are playing in these presidential primaries.
ANGELOU: To say where we are today...we are in the throws--and I love the word--in the throws of finding out who we really are…how courageous we really are…how intelligent we really are. Sometimes we’d rather bear the ills we have rather than fly to others, and we know not ours. Sometimes we will vote for the same people our families voted for knowing very well that it hasn’t served us very well.
SOLOMON: You have worked with the great champions of civil rights…
SOLOMON: Malcolm X…
SOLOMON: -- as you say…Martin Luther King. Now there’s a very good chance Barack Obama, a Black man, has a very good chance to become the President of the United States...that Dr. Maya Angelou would see this as the fulfillment of one of the great civil rights dreams, and yet you’ve advocated for Hilary Clinton.
ANGELOU: Yes…I don’t see that as a contradiction in terms. That is to say that I have advocated for the best person. And I admire Mr.…uh…Sen. Obama. I admire him. But I also believe in going out with whom you came in with. Mrs. Clinton has earned my respect, admiration, and even affections over the last twenty years. When she was the wife of the Governor of Arkansas, I liked her then. She came into Arkansas with a fresh voice. And she didn’t try to talk down to anybody. She didn’t try to appease anybody by what she thought they wanted. She was herself. And when she stood up in the after having become a kind of joke, and she stood up. She didn’t argue, she didn’t shout, she just stood up like a woman. I thought, hmmm…If decided to run for anything, I would back her.
SOLOMON: In America, can you take out gender and race from the equation? Or are both of those movements—both of which you’ve been so intimately involved with—crucial factors to consider?
ANGELOU: I’ve taken them out.
SOLOMON: But how can you?
ANGELOU: Well, I’m an intelligent person. I don’t have to follow what is done by other people. I have intelligence and so I act intelligently. What I do, is I don’t say of Ms. Clinton that she is a woman so I support her. No, no, no. I meant she is a full human being so I support her. I support her because I admire her. I admire what she has been…and been to people in our country. Her dreams about health for all Americans are really notable.
SOLOMON: I wonder if you’re old friends, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, were sitting here and they looked at you and said, ‘We’ve finally have a presidential candidate….’ What would they say to you?
ANGELOU: I think they would say, ‘Good on you, Maya Angelou!’