Is Stephen Colbert Seriously Running For President?
Comedy Central news anchor Stephen Colbert announced his bid for president on Thursday, leaving many television viewers and political watchdogs wondering, "Is he serious?"
In a word, no — but as one political news pundit put it, he's making a serious point.
With former Massachussetts governor Mitt Romney having tied up wins in both the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire primary, Colbert threw his name into the pile, arguing that handing over the Republican presidential nomination to Romney was like agreeing to an arranged marriage. “I am proud to announce that I am forming an exploratory committee to lay the groundwork for my possible candidacy for president of the United States of South Carolina,” Colbert said in front of a live audience on his late-night faux news show The Colbert Report.
While everyone knows that there is no United States of South Carolina, Colbert was making a point about the large amount of campaigning going on in what happens to be his home state. He was also spurred on by a recent Public Policy Polling survey that found him polling ahead of Jon Huntsman, Jr., who finished third in the New Hampshire primary and has been campaigning heavily in South Carolina.
The fact is, even if Colbert wanted his name on the ballot for the January 21 primary it is already too late, nor does South Carolina allow write-in votes. But that's not stopping Colbert from "running" by pouring money into the state via the superPAC he created — a way for him to call attention to the crooked injustice of campaign financing. A SuperPAC, as Colbert pointed out earlier this year, is an independent expenditure committee which wins unlimited fundraising ability by legally sidestepping ineffective laws designed to cap candidates' campaign spending.
As former Federal Election Commission chairman Trevor Potter spelled out for him while a guest on the show, Colbert coud not be a candidate and run his superPAC, so in order to run he must hand over the reins of the PAC to someone else. But who?
Enter Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show and a producer of The Colbert Report, who agreed to take over control of Colbert's PAC so the money could be funneled to his campaign. After renaming it, "The Definitely Not Coordinated with Stephen Colbert Super PAC," Stewart, Colbert and Potter then joined hands and ceremonially pledged: "Non-coordination!"
The mocking of the official non-coordination versus the obvious work-around continued in the press, as news has broke that Colbert's SuperPAC has been buying up air time in South Carolina. "Stephen and I have in no way have worked out a series of morse-code blinks to convey information with each other on our respective shows," Stewart said in a press release, according to CBS News.
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