October 25th, 2007
10:10 AM ET
7 years ago

Comedy Central: Colbert presidential run is legal

Comedy Central says a Colbert presidential run would not violate election laws.

(CNN) – OK, so it’s not exactly the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. But could it be the Lawyers Who Stole Election Night for Stephen Colbert?

The Comedy Central host's bid for the presidency may be fake, but very real election laws could mean the comedian's "candidacy" in South Carolina may never actually happen.

Questions have been raised whether a Federal Elections Commission ban on corporate sponsorship of candidates would apply to Colbert. His show on Comedy Central is owned by Viacom and sponsored by Doritos.

There’s no issue yet because, real or not, Colbert’s not officially a candidate. He hasn’t submitted petitions to make the ballot anywhere, though he says he plans to run as both a Republican and a Democrat in his native Palmetto State.

Though, as The Ticker has reported, the State parties may prevent him from appearing on both ballots simultaneously.

But the "truthiness" of the federal statutes may not take away all the fun, anyway.

A Comedy Central spokesman said the network believes the candidacy would be within the rules.

"Based on the law, prior rulings made by the Federal Election Commission and advice of expert outside counsel, Comedy Central is very comfortable that the network, 'The Colbert Report' and Stephen Colbert are operating well within federal campaign election laws," the spokesman said.

– CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk


Filed under: South Carolina • Stephen Colbert
soundoff (114 Responses)
  1. james,baltimore,md

    I never get what you are trying to say. I personally think the time for jokes especially who will be the next president is over!

    October 24, 2007 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  2. Daniel

    Rasmussen actually polled this race and released the results this morning, finding Colbert at a stunning 12%, taking more votes from the Republican than the Democrat!

    October 24, 2007 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  3. Frank, San Francisco CA

    Way to go Stephen! Mr. Colbert – whose greatest qualification is that he was born in our Capital Washington DC, the birthplace of democracy – has the strength and experience to lead our nation best.

    COLBERT '08

    October 24, 2007 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  4. Mike, Hubbard, Ohio

    I know that these no talent comedians make all of their money every four years because they get to poke fun at people who actually have the brains and intestinal fortitude to get an education and a real job, but I wonder if Mr. Colbert, or Mr. Maher, or Mr. Stewart or, God forbid, Mr. Rosie O'donnell, could, actually, have an intelligent and substantive discussion on any of the issues that will face our nation in the next four years – or even identify who represents them in Congress or their state legislature – without, of course, the ability to pander to an extremist constituency or even a studio audience who are there because they couldn't get tickets to Letterman. Faced with that situation, I doubt anyone would be laughing. Go home, Steven. The run for the Presidency is for grown ups.

    October 24, 2007 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  5. Rurik, St. Paul, MN

    I wish I COULD vote for Colbert. He's way more honest than any of the cretins running for the DFL or especially the GOP.

    October 24, 2007 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  6. Jordan, Dayton, OH

    CNN, I realize that this is REALLY IMPORTANT news and all, but where's your report on Hillary Clinton being caught manipulating voters by telling them exactly what they want to hear and then turning around and telling others the exact opposite. She does this all the time, and she's been caught this time.

    http://blog.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2007/10/24/post_148.html

    "Clinton Slips Social Security Questions:
    Tracking Hillary Clinton's views on Social Security is becoming a full-time job. Over the past two months, she has been tantalizingly explicit in her views, deliberately vague about what she thinks, publicly steadfast in saying she doesn't want to talk about specific ways to ensure solvency and privately willing to share her thoughts when the situation has suited her."

    October 24, 2007 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  7. Doug, Seattle, WA

    Mike, from Hubbard, Ohio said:
    "I wonder if Mr. Colbert...could actually, have an intelligent and substantive discussion on any of the issues that will face our nation in the next four years – or even identify who represents [him] in Congress or their state legislature"
    Apparently you've never actually watched The Colbert Report. The man has sat down and personally interviewed dozens of current and former lawmakers in the "Better Know a District" segment on his show.

    Colbert is hilarious. It takes real wit, intelligence, and a sensitivity to national issues to write the material his show covers in a single night – let alone five nights a week. What's so wrong about bringing a little humor into a process that is overly serious as it is.

    October 24, 2007 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  8. Max, Boston, MA

    Joke or not, this is actually a pretty interesting cog that forces us to think about the laws and standards we've been putting into place.

    October 24, 2007 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  9. Bob, San Francisco, CA

    Aren't most of the candidates under corporate sponsership? Don't the corporations/big business pretty much call the shots for their puppet-on-a-string political leaders?

    October 24, 2007 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  10. Mike, Mesa Arizona

    First of all, James of Baltimore, needs to learn how to write a sentence. Second, the time for jokes about the Presidency won't be over until the joke of a President we have in office, is out of office. Third, Mike of Ohio seems a bit jealous of people who can make a living using their brains, and is a good example of why Ohio, is sadly Ohio.

    GO Colbert!

    October 24, 2007 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  11. John, San Antonio, Tx

    I agree with Mike from IL, and to Frank from San Francisco: the birthplace of democracy was in Greece.

    October 24, 2007 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  12. Ken, Heyworth IL

    I'm writing him in. It's not a wasted vote to send a message to the two evil entities dedicated to stalemating our country until it dies.

    I have a feeling others may, too – but don't worry, he won't win – there are far too many curmudgeons concerned about our founding fathers rolling in their graves. IMO, they are already. I'm not voting for either clone candidate from NY.

    October 24, 2007 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  13. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    "I wish I COULD vote for Colbert." You can by writing him in as permitted in your state, but this race is far too important to waste a vote as a joke or on a third party candidate.

    October 24, 2007 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  14. BlacksforHillary

    i dont want jokester in the white House.thats all we need,stay out of it,we have enough running and what would you do for Our Country joker it to another war..we have critical times we are living, and i say Go Hillary GO !!!so there !

    October 24, 2007 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  15. Todd, Richmond Virginia

    Hello Mr Hubard, I hate to disagree. Mr. Colbert has a college degree the same as the Gipper did.

    I also suggest you check out John Stewart talking rhetorical circles around two main stream media persona. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFQFB5YpDZE
    Humore takes a huge amount of intelligence. A lack of a sense of humor usually shows a lack of intelligence.

    This election has been a joke for over a year now. Somebody who was known for being on [i]LAW AND ORDER[/i] is a leading candidate for hecks sake. The only thing thats changed is somebody intelligent enough to [i]get[i/] the joke is now running.

    October 24, 2007 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  16. Sara Peta , Mitchell, SD

    Why does this suprise you? The public gets more accurate, sometimes tongue and cheek funny news
    from other sources than the norm mass media. I myself think it is refreshing to see a DARK (haired) HORSE
    trotting from behind. Oh, get that humor!

    October 24, 2007 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  17. Ryan, New York, NY

    I know that these no talent comedians make all of their money every four years because they get to poke fun at people who actually have the brains and intestinal fortitude to get an education and a real job, but I wonder if Mr. Colbert, or Mr. Maher, or Mr. Stewart or, God forbid, Mr. Rosie O'donnell, could, actually, have an intelligent and substantive discussion on any of the issues that will face our nation in the next four years – or even identify who represents them in Congress or their state legislature – without, of course, the ability to pander to an extremist constituency or even a studio audience who are there because they couldn't get tickets to Letterman. Faced with that situation, I doubt anyone would be laughing. Go home, Steven. The run for the Presidency is for grown ups.
    Posted By Mike, Hubbard, Ohio : October 24, 2007 7:10 pm

    Just because their brand of humor doesn't entertain you doesn't mean that their not intelligent. Maher is an Ivy League grad, Colbert went to Northwestern, and Stewart attended William & Mary. I'm willing to bet that by 25, all had accomplished what you have in your life.

    Is there any doubt why Daily Show and Colbert viewers (and I assume Maher ones) are most knowledgeable according to an April 2007 Pew report? In order to get the humor, you have to understand the facts. Sorry you don't understand, Mike.

    The only reason that Steven was allowed the chance to do the Correspondent's Dinner last year was because most were too stupid to realize what he's saying. Fortunately, they got the scolding satire that night. Did anyone catch who did this year's in contrast?

    October 24, 2007 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  18. Chip Celina OH

    Questions have been raised whether a Federal Elections Commission ban on corporate sponsorship of candidates would apply to Colbert. His show on Comedy Central is owned by Viacom and sponsored by Doritos.

    How does being "corporately owned" make him different than the other candidates?

    October 25, 2007 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  19. Jerry

    Mike from Ohio - "people who actually have brains"? Are you referring to Bush? Hahahaha! "...Presidency is for grown ups"? Once again, Bush? Hahahaha! You're sarcasm is great! By the way, whether or not you like Colbert, he is a very talented comedian...but I'm sure that was just a part of your sarcasm.

    October 25, 2007 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  20. Bubba, Swainsboro GA

    How many joke candidates are running for president already?

    October 25, 2007 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  21. Ryan, Columbus OH

    Please, Stephen. Please run. Even if for no other reason than to raise the level of interest for the younger generation. And if the younger generation does get interested, we will be able to kiss the over-conservatism that has created this ridiculous divide within our country.

    October 25, 2007 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  22. Joshua Ludd, Boston, MA

    Dear Mike Hubbard:

    Colbert went to Northwestern

    Stewart went to College of William and Mary

    And Maher went to Cornell

    I'd say they all have a good education.

    October 25, 2007 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  23. Dan, Illinois

    Colbert is great but as a comedian. We need someone who wouldn't be taken as a joke. Please check out Tom Tancredo at http://www.teamtancredo.com. He speaks the truth and cares for the American People. Thanks!

    October 25, 2007 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  24. independent

    At this point, people may very well be advised to find something to laugh about, as opposed to the damage from high blood pressure. The same cartel which has exceedingly destroyed a country that was once ours, offers candidates who are branded either democrat or republican. They are designed to appeal to different masses, so that all the bases are covered. The nation is doomed if we are not able to break from the control of these two, out of control, franchises.

    October 25, 2007 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  25. Ryan, Columbus, OH

    Mike from Ohio – Colbert and Stewart are two of the most intelligent, well-read people on TV today. They could wipe the floor with anyone in a debate – Stewart does it regularly when he gets conservatives on. Colbert does as well in his own way by agreeing with all of the idiotic things they are saying and putting a spotlight on their hypocritical positions. Too bad you just don't get it. Just go back to your safe little world of Rush and O'Reilly. You'll feel so much better about yourself, I'm sure.

    October 25, 2007 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
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