Oprah introduces the shoulder she cried on
CHICAGO – Oprah Winfrey has introduced her talk-show audience to the mystery man on whose shoulder she wept during President-elect Barack Obama‘s election night victory speech.
“I only saw the back of his head,” Winfrey said of her teary moment caught by TV cameras and flashed repeatedly around the world as she rested her head on the shoulder of a man standing in front of her in a sea of people.
At the taping of Friday’s show in her Chicago studio, Winfrey brought the man — former Reuters reporter Sam Perry — up from the audience for a face-to-face hug.
“We were in the moment,” said Perry, who told Winfrey that her runny mascara did not stain his suit coat.
Perry, who lives in Northern California and worked as communications director of the Obama Silicon Valley campaign office, said his cellphone started vibrating the minute the picture hit the airwaves, with friends from several places around the world “telling me that I was standing with you.”
But Winfrey said earlier this week she didn’t know who he was but was grateful for “Mr. Man” lending her a shoulder.
As to his moment of fame, Perry said, “people were staked out at my house yesterday as well and it just seemed like … we had a moment where the ‘stand up for change’ manifest in this election” was “taking over from Joe the Plumber,” a reference to the “everyman” from Ohio toasted by John McCain during the campaign.
Winfrey said the crowd was packed in so tight Perry’s was the only shoulder to lean on anyway — and she asked him for permission before she did.
The Chicago Sun-Times said Perry is a consultant and is active in E2, a group that advocates good environmental practices for the business community.
Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young. Oprah Winfrey awaits the arrival of Barack Obama at his election night rally in Chicago, Nov. 4, 2008.