Either upping the stakes or extending the joke, funnyman Stephen Colbert is throwing his hat into the ring for “President of the United States of South Carolina,” he announced Thursday night on “The Colbert Report.”
Big political news was anticipated after he told viewers he had a “major announcement” the night before.
In a much-publicized survey this week, the Democratic-aligned Public Policy Polling found the comedian gets 5% support, compared with 4% for GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, the former governor of Utah.
On Thursday, Colbert said he was anguished over his political popularity.
“This is a difficult decision. I’ve talked it over with my spiritual advisor. I’ve talked it over with my money. I haven’t yet talked it over with my money spiritual advisor,” he said.
He then brought out Trevor Potter, a former Federal Elections Commission chairman and Colbert's personal attorney. Through a series of questions to Potter, Colbert schooled the audience on the functions of a Super political action committee.
Last summer, as seen on Youtube, the FEC allowed the comedian to form his own Super PAC. On Thursday, he raised the stakes.
“Can I run for president and keep my Super PAC?” the comedian asked him. “No,” Potter said. “You can’t have the PAC but someone can take it over.”
Cue “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, who said that he “would be honored,” to serve as head of Colbert’s Super PAC. He joked that he was hopeful the collaboration wouldn’t derail the duo’s plans for a bagel shop called “From Schmear To Eternity”.
But seriously. Where are the two going with this? While the joke is crystal clear, the political intentions intentions aren’t.
“I am proud to announce that I am forming an exploratory committee to lay the groundwork for my possible candidacy for the president of the United States of South Carolina,” Colbert said.
Speaking to CNN, South Carolina Election Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire said with the Republican presidential primary days away, there "won't even be a way for someone to do that because it's not allowed under the law."
November 1 was the filing deadline for the GOP primary ballot. The ballots have no write-in space, Whitemire told CNN.
So what do you think of Colbert's aspirations? Is this more than an election-year running gag?