October 25th, 2007
10:10 AM ET
10 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. Julie, PA

    I don't know if anything can force the system to change, but at least this may help expose the hypocracy of the "real" candidates. If Colbert gets just one delegate, I think he's beaten the politicans at their own game.

    October 25, 2007 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  2. Julie, PA

    I'm so tired of listening to people in these blogs that are tired about hearing about Colbert. So don't read it. Really, there is plenty to see, do, and read without having to click onto information that you don't care about. So do something else. Please.

    October 25, 2007 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  3. Mike, Hubbard,Ohio

    Thanks for the english critique, Chris Haynes. I'll let Strunk and White know that you don't approve.
    By the way, Chris, let me get a six-inch, honey-wheat with turkey, ham, tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, cucumbers, and mustard. Not the meal, just the sub. Give my best to Aunt Bea, NC.

    October 25, 2007 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  4. pat huntington ny

    But for John Stewart, Colbert would be nothing...

    October 25, 2007 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  5. David, South Point, OH

    I like the idea of Stephen Colbert running for President. A friend and I are going to circulate petitions to have him on the ticket in Ohio!

    As for the guy who is upset at Colbert–the US Constitution allows anyone born in the US and of the required age to run for President–deal with it. But then again, you probably support Bush's desecration of our constitution.

    Colbert's "candidacy" is about showing the "real" politicians that they don't seem to care about issues that face real Americans. Nothing is being done about health care, the war in Iraq, the balooning deficit, etc. People in the US are fed up, I believe, with both parties.

    Colbert '08!

    October 25, 2007 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  6. Alan Buffington Costa Mesa California

    Why not Colbert? As a favorite son, and comedian, he has better debate skills than any of the candidates. There is no doubt he could tear apart the facade of spin out there in the world and bring truthiness and laughs for all! And this world needs more laughter and truthiness.

    October 25, 2007 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  7. Steve, Kansas City Missouri

    From Larry Craig hating his own kind, to Mr. Foley running the office that is supposed to catch people like himself, to Dick Cheney shooting a man in the face and not being able to crack a smile without killing a kitten, to President Bush's inability to form a complete sentence, to Mr. Brown's inability to manage anything but horses but being given an important post anyway, to Rick Santorum (need I say more), to John McCain's "straight talk", which appears to be straight up the president's..... alley, and you have a problem with Colbert? The current administration has turned the very idea of politics into a laughing stock, from the very idea of wasting tax dollars on the whole Schaivo thing to the whole gay marriage "issue", which is only an issue because those against it are fighting their own gay urges. It is a sad state this country is in when we have to come up with numerous reasons why we are fighting a losing battle against a nation that had nothing to do with the reason this whole thing was started for, and yet can stand up to the terrors giving children health care or fighting poverty would thrust upon us.

    October 25, 2007 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  8. Maryann - Orlando, FL

    Wayne A. Clark – that was an awesome post, and you expressed all the great reasons to vote for Stephen! Well done!

    And Mike in Ohio, and Paul in Tampa, et al.....I can sure tell who the Republicans are here! No sense of humor at all, which is surprising since our Republican president is SO hilarious!

    October 25, 2007 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  9. Robison in CT

    Stephen Colbert and his show have some of the best social commentary out there.

    His show is very funny and it's a breath of fresh air. He's already a success in this election because he's successfuly made fun the deeply flawed system that we use to elect our officials.

    He's not going to spoil this election for anyone, so everybody should relax.

    I wish we had Colbert and Stewart around when Nixon was president.

    October 25, 2007 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  10. Jim, White City, KS

    What's the problem, last time I checked he Consitutional requirements that have to be meet Stephen Colbert met them.

    So what are you afraid of, did you ever hear of a Presidential Canidate from the 70's by the name of Pat Paulson.

    So if you are disatified with what on the Republican ticket and unimpressed with whats on the Deomocratic ticket or just a radical at heart, go ahead and vote for Colbert, he couldn't do any worst than what we have now.

    October 25, 2007 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  11. Cynthia, San Diego, CA

    Clearly Mike, in Hubbard Ohio has never listened to Steven Colbert – Colbert is one of the smartest (and funniest) people out there – you just have to listen to him once to realize he has a true broad range of knowledge and understanding of the issues – I would have his child, but in that he is also a strong Catholic, I guess that wont happen.

    People who do not know what they are talking about should not be critical, lest they show their ignorance on the subject.

    October 25, 2007 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  12. Dottie, Council Hill OK

    Bravo, Wayne Clark! Do you write material for 'The Colbert Report'? If not, you should. The people that take exception to Colbert's campaign of 'truthiness' just have no sense of humor and don't seem to get the seriousness that belies his candidacy. He is at least bringing attention to the farce that we call elections in the US.

    October 25, 2007 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  13. Mark, Shreveport, La

    This is what our veterans risked their lives and spilled their blood over?


    This joke, that is stealing media coverage, is happening at a time when our brave soldiers are being killed and injured on foriegn soil. How is this joke resloving that issue?

    I'd love to see Colber be interviewed by the parents, wives, and children of soldiers who have died in Iraq or Afghantistan. I'd love to hear how he'd turn their loss into a joke!

    October 25, 2007 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  14. Steve, Sumter SC

    He wants to run? That's fine in fact, that's an American ideal! Just let him run on his own dime, not mine! He has zero chance of winning but that doesn't stop anyone else. Go for it, pay for it!

    October 25, 2007 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  15. joseph, austin, tx

    You're so smart all this time I thought the birthplace of democracy was in ancient greece, and the whole time it was actually philly.

    October 25, 2007 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  16. Go Colbert! Hamden, CT

    Colbert is refreshingly soft-spoken, intelligent and thoughtful. Check out his interview on NPR's Fresh Air. Listen to his interview on 60 Minutes.

    I'm an Independent, no party affiliation, and I hope he gives it a true run. True politicos have lost the plot when it comes to what Americans really care about or need.

    October 25, 2007 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  17. Terry, El Paso, TX

    I have read that many younger adults watch Bill Maher and Stephen Colbert as a source for news, rather than watch network or cable news. Of course, there are a lot of other people who watch Fox News, who are like Maher and Colbert in that they just make up stuff and present it as if it were true.

    I watch Colbert and Maher, occasionally, though just for laughs.

    The true jewel of the airways is The News Hour with Jim Leher, where issues are discussed in some depth by interviewees on all sides of the issue. A lot of people who don't like it when the truth might change a previously held opinion also don't like The News Hour. Also, a lot of people don't like it when it takes more than a sentence or two to understand something.

    I was shocked to learn that there are actually people who do not watch the news or read the news. Of course, those people are not posting anything here.

    October 25, 2007 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  18. D. Stressner Kansas City MO

    do the laws forbid you putting in animals as political hopefuls? i would like to see a donkey against an elephant, please

    October 25, 2007 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  19. Cory, Middleton MA

    Mike from Ohio
    It looks to me as the people have spoken and you're wrong. Stop watching fox news it's bad for your health and it makes people think you're ignorant. If O'Reiley had some balls he'd have Colbert on his show again to discuss his candidacy, maybe this time giving him a chance to speak instead of blowing more hot air out his ass.

    October 25, 2007 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  20. matt

    LET COLBERT RUN! He should be able to spice things up a bit. He's a lot better than the real thing – i.e. Mitt Romney.


    October 25, 2007 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  21. Kevin, NY

    Hey Mark in La,

    I would love to see Bush interviewed by the parents, wives, and children of soldiers who have died in Iraq or Afghanistan. I'd love to hear how he'd justify their loss.

    October 25, 2007 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  22. Chris S raleigh

    Stephen Colbert IS NOT RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT...his persona is. There's a difference here. The outcome can only be entertainment. How could you take this literally? It's irony and satire.
    I'm a dem but I disagree with Colbert's choice...i think he just set himself up for irrelevancy...bit off a little too much here...and may potentially distract and god forbid draw votes from his audience's real candidates.

    October 25, 2007 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  23. Cedric, Atlanta GA

    Mike, you are dumb. I'm a process engineer for BASF. Also, I watch and enjoy both Stewart and Colbert. So no more Subway jokes, because you are either mad that you are not as funny as Colbert...or you just work at a rival sandwich shop.

    October 25, 2007 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  24. Neil, Farmington Hills, MI

    Mike, Hubbard, Ohio:

    Yeah and still we elected Bush. Well, $600 billion in Iraq war that was started on INTENTIONAL misleading inteligence (so much for inteligence). Forecasted to cost $2.6 trillion.

    $600 billion, thats pretty much half of our nations debt. Half the reason Dollar is going down. More than half the reason oil is so expensive.

    So much for inteligent poeple which right education and background running our country.

    Hey this way I rather take Colbert as our President. By the way I think he is pretty smart. Being a comedian isnt that easy too. Try it sometime.

    October 25, 2007 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  25. Josh, Oronogo MO

    Dear Mike Hubbard:

    Did you see John Stewart tear Tucker Carlson a new one on Crossfire? It was awesome. Stewart is a little to far out for me, but you still have to appreciate his intelligence. If guys like Colbert and Stewart were debating we would at least get honest (not interest group minded) answers.

    October 25, 2007 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
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