MEDIA
05/31/2013 07:14 am ET Updated Jun 01, 2013

Oprah Calls For Background Checks, Immigration Reform During Harvard Address (VIDEO)

Oprah delved into politics during her commencement address at Harvard on Thursday, speaking out in favor of expanded background checks for guns and for immigration reform.

The talk show queen's speech touched on everything from her struggles with the OWN network—which she said had led to the "worst" period of her professional life—to the usual graduation staples of failure, success and growth. In one passage, though, Oprah turned to the state of the country.

She said she had seen an interview that Bill Moyers conducted with David and Francine Wheeler, who lost their child in the Newtown massacre. She said that their refusal to be discouraged about the slow pace of gun reform had inspired her.

"We are better than the cynicism and the pessimism that is regurgitated throughout Washington and the 24-hour cable news cycle," she said, before lending her support to background checks and immigration reform—two big legislative priorities of the Obama administration:

“We understand that the vast majority of people in this country believe in stronger background checks because they realize that we can uphold the Second Amendment and reduce the violence that is robbing us of our children. They don't have to be incompatible.

And we understand that most Americans believe in a clear path to citizenship for the 12 million undocumented immigrants who reside in this country because it's possible to both enforce our laws and, at the same time, embrace the words on the Statue of Liberty that have welcomed generations of huddled masses to our shores. We can do both.

And we understand that people from both parties and no party believe that indigent mothers and families should have access to healthy food and a roof over their heads and a strong public education, because here in the richest nation on earth, we can afford a basic level of security and opportunity."

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