Maria Shriver, the first lady of the state of California and cousin of Caroline Kennedy, has endorsed Senator Barack Obama. Shriver made an impromptu appearance at an Obama rally at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion Sunday, where Michelle Obama, wife of the presidential candidate, Oprah Winfrey, and Caroline Kennedy, daughter of former president John F. Kennedy, spoke to an enthusiastic crowd.

“The thing I like the best (about Obama) is that he’s not about himself,” said Shriver from the stage, surrounded by the other prominent women. “He’s about empowering all of us.”

Shriver, wife of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, told the audience she woke up Sunday morning and thought, “There is no place I should be but right here today,” referring to the rally. Shriver then said she told her daughter Katherine about possibly going to UCLA . “She told me if you think you can make a difference, you should go,” Shriver said.

Shriver, whose husband is a Republican and high profile family members are splitting their endorsements between the Clinton and Obama camps, admitted the move was somewhat nerve-racking. “Sometimes when you are following your own truth, your own voice it can be scary,” she said.

The first lady and former television journalist also said the Democratic presidential campaign was at a special “moment” and noted, “California has a primary that’s been moved up, and we are at the epicenter of change…Remember, that so goes California, so goes the nation.”

Shriver ended her comments to wild applause and remained on stage to stand with Michelle Obama, Winfrey, and Kennedy for photographers. Shriver joins Senator Ted Kennedy, Caroline Kennedy, and Ethel Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy’s widow, who endorsed the Illinois senator on Saturday, in publicly supporting the Obama campaign.

Video of the rally can be found at and below.

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.