Stephen Colbert, the satirical Comedy Central host, has shown interest in potentially making a bid for the White House. On Thursday, he moved one step closer to becoming a candidate.
Colbert declared the formation of an exploratory committee for president of the United States of South Carolina. He turned over his super-PAC to fellow Comedy Central host and friend Jon Stewart.
Though this might seem like a farce, on Tuesday it was revealed via multiple news sources that Colbert placed ahead of John Huntsman in South Carolina, according to Public Policy Polling figures. Leading in the poll, released Tuesday, was Mitt Romney with 27 percent, followed by Newt Gingrich (23 percent), Rick Santorum (18 percent), Ron Paul (8 percent) and Rick Perry (7 percent). Last is former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer, who also trails Colbert, with 1 percent, according to Reuters.
Colbert is notorious for his on-going skit mocking federal campaign laws, particularly that of the so-called super-PACs, a new sort of committee that has the right to collect an unlimited amount of money from corporations, unions and individuals to spend on campaign ads for candidates, as long as it does not coordinate with the candidate or his/her campaign, according to The L.A. Times.
This is the first president election since the Supreme Court's Citizens Untied approved the super-PACs.
As an outspoken critic of GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney, Colbert has repeatedly voiced that he should throw his hat in the ring. He missed the Nov. 1 deadline to join the primary ballot and has not qualified in any other states. The New York Times reported that he might attempt a write-in bid in South Carolina, where he grew up. However, write-in votes are not allowed in political party primaries or for president and vice-president, according to the South Carolina State Election Commission.
Colbert calls his conundrum Indecision 2012.
So this is a difficult decision, said Colbert on Thursday's show. I talked it over with my spiritual advisor. I've talked it over with my money. He then brought on his lawyer Trevor Potter, asking if he could run and still keep his super-PAC. You cannot be a candidate and run a super PAC. That would be coordinating with yourself, said Trevor Potter, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission. He told the host that he could have it run by somebody else.
I wouldn't even want to create the appearance of electoral skulduggery, Colbert scoffed, before inviting Jon Stewart onstage, in hopes that he will be the one to head Colbert's super-PAC. Stewart can run the committee so long as he does not coordinate with Colbert. He also has the right to employ Colbert's super-PAC staff, Potter said, as long as they have no knowledge of Stephen's plans.
Well, that's easy, Colbert said. I don't know what the hell I'm doing.
The L.A. Times reported that Colbert's super-PAC has been raising money since the summer. No specific amount has been disclosed but Colbert wrote down a number for Potter, who replied, That is shocking.
Last year, the Comedy Central host offered to spend $400,000 in super-PAC funds to pay for the GOP primary in order to obtain for naming rights -- we would finally raise democracy to the same level as the TostitosTM Fiesta Bowl and KardashianTM weddings -- and a referendum -- corporations are people, or only people are people -- on the ballot. A state Supreme Court ruling shot down his proposition saying that the state's counties must pay for holding primaries.
Will Colbert run?
The comedic genius has tried to run for South Carolina before. In Oct. 2007 he attempted to get on both the Republican and Democratic primary ballots under the slogan First to secede, first to succeed. But that failed when the endeavor proved too costly and too questionable (the South Carolina Democratic Party refused to put him on their ballot because he wasn't a serious candidate).
Folks, I got hurt, Colbert said Thursday, referencing 2008. I don't know if I can put myself through that again.
However, he closed the show on a hopeful note. I'm doing it! he yelled as colorful balloons rained down on the studio. And with your help and possibly the help of some sort of outside group that I am not coordinating with, we can explore taking this country back. Thank you! God bless you all! And God bless Citizen's United.
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