KANSAS CITY, Mo. Patrick Crowe has been promoting Oprah Winfrey for president for years with no attention from the TV diva.
But when her lawyers finally told him to stop it, they succeeded only in drawing the media spotlight to the retired math teacher in Kansas City.
"It's been fun," Crowe said, still unshaven and in his bathrobe at the kitchen table of his home.
He had already done one talk-radio interview and was expecting the phone to ring for another one. The Independent of London also called.
Their interests were piqued because a law firm representing Winfrey sent Crowe a letter dated Aug. 22 demanding that he remove her picture from his Web site and from a book he is selling for $24.97.
The lawyers also are upset that the campaign's toll-free number translates to OPRAH08. It rings to Crowe's daughter-in-law's home in San Diego.
The cease-and-desist letter said those activities were copyright and trademark infringements and stated that Winfrey's company, Harpo, "will continue to protect its intellectual property aggressively."
A spokeswoman for Harpo said this week that Winfrey is on the record as saying she has no political aspirations.
But the Web site remained up Friday, and Crowe is undaunted in his belief that Winfrey would win the presidential election and govern wisely if only she had what he calls "that 'Aha!' moment" and decided to run.
He noted that Winfrey is a highly successful businesswoman, has very high name recognition and is a woman of compassion and determination.
Crowe also sells "Oprah for President" T-shirts but says he is not in this for the money. He said he has poured more money into the project than he ever made in a year as a teacher.
"It has become increasingly serious to me," Crowe said, speaking of his disdain for the Bush administration and its foreign policy.
"I know Oprah can do better than that."
Crowe said Winfrey would win consensus in Washington with her charm, but added "this is not the girl you want to mess with. I think she'd be very good at it."
Crowe said he does not watch Winfrey's daytime talk show "all the time" but tunes in when she tackles a serious subject.
Crowe, a former car wash owner, first dabbled in presidential politics in 1996 by asking people to "vote" for Bob Dole or Bill Clinton through their choice of wash bays.
Now he drives a 1959 Ford retractable hardtop plastered with Winfrey placards that also say "Dr. Phil for V.P.?" Unfortunately, this burst of media attention comes when the Oprahmobile is in the shop.
Oprah has charisma
Oprah's got style
Oprah loves the red, white and blue
And I believe there's problems that Oprah could solve
On Pennsylvania Avenue