PORTSMOUTH, New Hampshire — Marianne Williamson warns “we are in peril today.”
That was one of the messages Wednesday from the best-selling spiritual author, lecturer and close friend and counselor to Oprah Winfrey. Williamson launched a presidential exploratory committee in November.
The likely Democratic presidential primary candidate spoke to an overflow audience at RiverRun Bookstore, her first public stop on a three-day swing through New Hampshire, home of the first-in-the-nation presidential primary.
“I think there’s great peril to our democracy and if we’re not careful, there’s great peril to the possibility of human survival over the next 100 years,” she told the crowd jam-packed into the small bookstore on Daniel Street. “But I also believe equally in the great possibilities.”
“I started an exploratory campaign in mid-November to see what kind of support and interest there might be. And I received enough positive energy to make me feel I should take the next step,” the likely long-shot White House hopeful said in an interview.
According to MarianneforAmerica.com, that next step may come Jan. 28, when she makes an announcement in Los Angeles.
Williamson, 66, gained fame after her first book — “A Return to Love” — became a bestseller and was featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1992. Overall, she’s published 12 books, including four New York Times number one bestsellers. She’s also known for her philanthropic work, including setting up HIV/AIDS centers and founding Project Angel Food in Los Angeles. She’s also an activist, supporting racial justice and feminist causes.
She unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2014, launching an independent campaign to succeed retiring Rep. Henry Waxman of California.
Williamson took aim at President Donald Trump’s administration as she spotlighted the environment.
“Today, our Environmental Protection Agency is headed not by world class environmentalists but by ex-oil company and fossil fuel company executives,” she said. “The current Environmental Protection Agency has gutted the Clean Water Act, gutted the Clean Air Act, and even overturned a ban on pesticides that we know are harmful to a developing child’s brain.”
On health care, she said “the only reason we don’t have universal health care in this country like in every other democracy is because the health insurance companies would only let us go so far.”
She lamented “we have millions of American children, ladies and gentlemen, who go to school every single day at schools that do not even have working toilets.”
Among those in the crowd was Neil Sattin of Portland, Maine.
“I wanted to hear Marianne’s message,” he said. “I think that no matter what, she has important information to add to the conversation. The points that she’ll raise and the way that she raises them, because she’s so articulate and well informed, she will raise the level of discourse for sure in the political arena.”
Sattin said he’d “absolutely” support Williamson if she ran for the Democratic nomination.
Alyssa O’Mara of Nashua, who’s volunteering this week for Williamson, said “when I heard that she was putting her name out there for the bid, I felt like this was a person that I could get behind. I believe what she’s saying. She’s very intelligent.”
Williamson said she’s discussed her likely White House bid with Winfrey, who in November said she didn’t want to run for president, ending months of speculation.
Asked if Winfrey would back her bid, Williamson said “Oprah will support the person that she feels is best for the job and I’m sure she, like everyone else in the United States, will be spending the next year listening very deeply to everyone who is running.”
Williamson was also scheduled to speak Wednesday at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, at Rivier University in Nashua on Thursday and at Yoga from the Heart in Laconia on Friday.