The NEWSWEEK 50: Oprah Winfrey

You can look at Oprah's year in two ways. On the business side, she proved—at last—that she's mortal. Her empire (the talk show, the magazine, etc.) has taken a hit in the pocketbook, though whose hasn't? But she's flexing her muscles in a much bigger arena: politics. Pundits are still debating what impact she had on Obama's victory, but when she endorsed him in late 2007 Hillary was the front runner—and he won the Iowa caucuses. Whatever the Oprah effect, she was front and center in Chicago on election night and will be again for the Inauguration. She's denied that Obama is giving her a job, but we know she already has his ear. (Story continued below...)