Oprah blocks bid to make her President

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Could the first lady of daytime TV become the first citizen of the United States? One fan of Oprah Winfrey certainly believes she could and is behind a burgeoning campaign to persuade her to make a run for the nation's highest office.

The problem for Patrick Crowe and his "Oprah for President" campaign is that Ms Winfrey - at least so far - seems less than enthusiastic about swapping the interviewer's couch for the Oval Office. This week it was revealed that lawyers for Ms Winfrey have sent a "cease and desist" letter to Mr Crowe demanding that he stop using the name Oprah in his campaign and stop reprinting copyrighted photographs of her in his book, Oprah For President: Run, Oprah, Run.

Mr Crowe, 69, a former teacher from Kansas City, Missouri, is convinced that Ms Winfrey has the qualities to make a perfect president. "I believe that if she ran she would change the face and heart of American politics. It would never be the same again," he enthused.

"She has serious compassion, she can build teams, she can lead. She has done things, she has accomplished things. She is a doer. Just look at what she has done for [the victims of] Hurricane Katrina. Just look what she has done for books: one recommendation from her and a couple of days later that book is top of the New York Times best-seller list. She is a person of influence."

Mr Crowe, who has largely supported Democratic party candidates, believes that once there is a sufficient groundswell of support Ms Winfrey, 52, could be persuaded to change her mind. "In this country we call if drafting a candidate," he said.

Mr Crowe says he has spent more than $60,000 (£32,000) of his own money on his campaign. And as unlikely as his suggestion may sound, there may be something more to his idea than pure fantasy. A poll which was carried out earlier this year for Fox News found that 24 per cent of the public believed Ms Winfrey would "make a good president". She compared favourably to Arnold Schwarzenegger on 11 per cent, Senator Ted Kennedy on 23 per cent and the real estate mogul Donald Trump on 11 per cent.

Yesterday there was no comment from Ms Winfrey's Chicago-based company, Harpo, whose lawyers sent the letter to Mr Crowe.

The letter warned: "Ms Winfrey has not granted you the right to use her name for commercial purposes, including to sell [your] book via the website and via a [freephone] number". It said that using the celebrity's name "falsely implies that Harpo or Ms Winfrey sponsor or endorse the website, the campaign website or the book, when in fact there is no such endorsement or affiliation".