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. Anonymous

    Why is this any different than Fred Thompson on Law & Order, which is sponsored by any company advertising during the show?

    October 25, 2007 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  2. Sarah, Minneapolis, MN

    Almost wish I could move back to South Carolina so I could vote for him.

    October 25, 2007 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  3. Actual Human, Phoenix, AZ

    Mark from Shreveport – Would you expect Bush or any current presidential candidate to sit down and be interviewed by the families of dead troops? Colbert in the South Carolina primary is not intended to resolve the war in Iraq, your cause-and-effect thinking is very skewed.

    I would consider voting for Colbert simply because the Dem/Rep choices are severely lacking in quality. If he would part with his religious leanings it would be even better.

    October 25, 2007 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  4. Dave C - South Jersey

    Mark, maybe he would pull the soldiers OUT of Iraq? Ever think of that? lol...of course you didn't.

    October 25, 2007 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  5. Ryan, Boston

    More crack reporting from the Clinton News Network...

    October 25, 2007 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  6. Dan, TX

    Go Colbert! If he's polling 12% that tells us more about ourselves then anything. What do polls mean!??

    12% think he is the best candidate? Let's see the head-to-head matchups!!!

    October 25, 2007 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  7. Robert, Shelton CT

    Better than Giuliani, at least Colbert (satirist) knows what he is talking about and is knows what is going on in this country, even though he may joke about it, what does Giuliani have? 9/11 can't keep saving your butt from facts and humility.

    October 25, 2007 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  8. Paul, Ashburn VA

    The reason that Clobert is doing this joke rather than Stewart is that if Jon Stewart were to run, he would be in serious danger of winning, and there is such a thing as taking a joke too far.

    For anyone who dismisses the comedy central team's knowdge of political events, or their journalism, go back and watch the show. Watch the various candidate interviews from last time around. Pay attentention to what Jon has to say to other, more serious, journalists. Watch them interview foriegn politicians. Most of all, watch Jon's post 9/11 speech.

    Jon in particular has enjoyed the shelter of being on comedy central, especially when he came on after battlebots, but he doesn't use that shelter as an excuse to stay in easy territory.

    October 25, 2007 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  9. The Wood Wizard L V, NV

    Anyone who would cast one vote for this person is an idiot! Ultimately would be a vote for anyone of the contending nominees. This guy is a joke.

    October 25, 2007 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  10. ronnie - knoxville, tn

    good – i know thousands of libs are stupid enough to vote for him

    October 25, 2007 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  11. ronnie - knoxville, tn.

    Addendum To Wayne in Rock Hill

    brevity is the soul of – something, let's say, getting your point across

    October 25, 2007 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  12. matt, philly, pa

    The more I read about people who like to comment and run in the political arean, the more I'm reminded of the movie "Idiocracy"...bad, yes, but with certain elements of truth. And some posters on here just bolster the notion that this nation is, in fact, being watered down more and more by idiots with big mouths and access to TV coverage.

    October 25, 2007 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  13. Robert, Vivian, LA

    Has Colbert advocated ending the war in Iraq? If he does, he may receive consideration. If he makes the issue into a farce, he should be pilloried!

    I'm against the war, but I realize it's not a joke.

    Anyone know what his view on the war is?

    October 25, 2007 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  14. Richard, St. Paul, MN

    Finally! A well-educated candidate who isn't in bed with corporations and corruption! It must be a dream, but I don't want to wake up to the third-world America that Bush and his neo-con cronies have worked so hard to reduce our great country to. Way to go, Stephen! Give 'em heck!

    October 25, 2007 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  15. Amanda Young Birmingham,AL

    I hope Colbert's runs and wins!

    October 25, 2007 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  16. Cable King Pittsburgh PA

    Big Deal! So another comedian aspires to the Presidency.

    October 25, 2007 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  17. Michael Sheridan, Grand Rapids, MI

    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?
    Posted By Mark, Shreveport, La : October 25, 2007 10:48 am

    When nearly 100% of the media coverage of the 2008 campaign consists of gossipy reporting about who uses the most hair gel (probably Romney), who's up in the polls, and how many times each of the Republicans mention Hillary Clinton in a debate, it doesn't take Stephen Colbert to make a joke out of that coverage.

    When was the last time you saw on CNN (or Fox, or MSNBC) a program devoted to the particulars of each candidate's plan for dealing with the health insurance crisis in this country? How many times have you seen a point-by-point comparison of how each candidate proposes to deal with immigration? Where are the details on what each candidate proposes to spend, and how each of them plans to pay for it?

    If the media were doing their jobs, maybe Colbert wouldn't feel the need to draw attention to the ridiculousness of the process. And he and Stewart would probably both be out of jobs, because it wouldn't be so easy to parody what passes for "news" coverage these days.

    October 25, 2007 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  18. Regina, Leesburg Virginia

    I think its awesome that Stephen is running for president. There are too many politicians who really aren't aware of what normal people deal with in life or think of the consequences or their actions. Stephen's job is to pick apart their faults and poke fun at it on national TV. The man is level headed, he's honest, he's human. I honestly think that if he would be elected president, with the help of good advisors and a lot of studying, he'd probably be one of the best leader's this nation has ever had. I mean, I bet when Ronald Regan ran for president people back then said the same negative things that people to day are saying about Stephen.
    If he is serious about this, regardless of which party he chooses, he has my vote. And of course I'm gonna be hysterical the whole time in the voting booth. The man is just funny.

    October 25, 2007 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  19. Jim Tucson, AZ

    What's wrong with working at Subway? I worked at McDonald's when I was in college. It's that kind of elitist attitude that is ruining the world's perception of the US. Bet Tom gets a little extra spit on his sub because he treats the workers like peons.

    BTW I never spit on anyone's food when I worked a MCD's.

    October 25, 2007 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  20. christian, ashland, oregon

    its nice to see someone who is equally intelligent and spirited running. i believe its crucial that we shift our qualifications which outline the practical candidates. i dont think as much emphasis should be made on all of these ideals which we cant even varify anyway. how can we really get to the heart of matter when we discuss these issues concerning not the nature of the candidate, but what is expected of the candidate? is that the nature of politics? why should any candidate have to prove, or sell anything? the genuine candidate should be enough to win every american. i want a candidate that will make me laugh.

    October 25, 2007 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  21. Mark. Shreveport, La

    I never said I support the war or the president. I think Bush has done a lousy job as Commander in Cheif.

    I support the war in Afghanistan because that is where the 9/11 attacks were planned and the planners were being protected by the Taliban.

    I want our soldiers in Iraq to come home quickly and safely.

    I just think Colbert, running as his comic persona, is disrepecting the sacrifice our soldiers have made and are making for him to have a right to make a joke out of the election.

    Bush has met with the families of fallen soldiers. Has Colbert?

    What would he or his persona say to the families of the fallen soldiers? Would that be a big joke to him as well?

    If there was not a war going on, I would care less about Colbert making a mockery of presidential politics, but as long as soldiers are dying and being injured, I think what he's doing is a slap in the face of those brave men and women and every soldier who died for the rights we and he enjoy.

    October 25, 2007 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  22. Matt H. Nashville,TN

    Joking is not what we need in our government. Are you serious!?! I think we NEED humor badly It'd be better than all the straight edge fools we have right now.Everything they say is taken way too seriously, but with someone like Colbert he has the chance to not get caught up with all the he said she said junk. He'd have to try to pretty hard, I'd give him a try at it.

    October 25, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  23. Jane Murphy, Ripley, New York

    Paul from Tampa: You must not have actually SEEN The Colbert Report, because you clearly don't understand.

    Stephen Colbert is NOT a comedian who tells jokes that aren't funny. He is an astoundingly astute patriot who PERSONIFIES jokes that aren't funny! (Actually they would be funny if they weren't so true.)

    Listen to the things that Colbert's persona advocates. Pay attention to the actual deeds of people currently in power. Wake up and THINK! Is this where you REALLY want our country to be?

    If we the people want to maintain the democracy established by our forefathers, blind trust is a luxury we can no longer afford. We need to see clearly where we are going and who is at the rudder.

    Stephen Colbert is a true hero for his work to encourage the awareness of American citizens. His persona would, of course, be a terrible President; but the profound thinker who is the real Stephen Colbert would probably make a wonderful one.

    October 25, 2007 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  24. Jerry

    Mike from Ohio - While working at Subway is a perfectly respectable occupation, I actually just sold my tech company for a seven-figure profit. Want to compare resumes or W2s? Start thinking for yourself, you pseudo-elitist...and moron.

    October 25, 2007 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  25. Randy S. Lawton, OK

    "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?"
    To which joke are you referring to Mark, the one in the Whitehouse?

    "Just let him run on his own dime, not mine!"
    Steve, how many of your dimes do you tink the 'serious' candidates are spending? So far Colbert hasn't spent one of yours.

    "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."

    Terry, what's really shocking is that a lot of those people ARE posting here.

    Finally to Wayne Clark in SC: Wayne it that is truly original materail, kudos; well-written, good command of the language with more thatn a little bit of truth. perhaps you should contact Colbert about the Vice position (-president, that is).

    October 25, 2007 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
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