COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Comedian Stephen Colbert brought his mock presidential campaign to the capital of South Carolina Sunday, where he was declared "favorite son" by the mayor of Columbia and given the key to the city.
Colbert, a native of Charleston, told the raucous crowd of several hundred gathered on the University of South Carolina campus that, "I love South Carolina almost as much as South Carolina loves me."
The host of Comedy Central's "Colbert Report" is seeking to get his name on both the Republican and Democratic ballots for the South Carolina primaries in January.
"I am here not only to accept the honor you have given me but to prove to everyone that this campaign is real," Colbert said. "To put an end to the vicious rumors that this is not a serious candidacy."
He joked that, "Over the past 18 hours, this campaign has gone everywhere in this state, from Charleston to Columbia."
After spending several minutes espousing the quality of South Carolina peaches, Colbert laid out his vision for the future of the state.
"In the 19th century, South Carolina was the first to secede," he said. "In the 21st we will the first to succeed. First to secede. First to succeed. I own the copyright on that phrase, if you use it you must pay me a royalty."
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
Colbert insisted he's serious about getting on the South Carolina ballot.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Is Stephen Colbert serious when he says he wants to run for president in South Carolina?
Yes, according to the fake-news host himself who appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday after the very-real presidential candidate Barack Obama.
“I think a lot of people are asking whether—they say is this, is this real, you know? And to which I would say to everybody, this is not a dream, you’re not going to wake up from this,” Colbert told host Tim Russert. “I’m far real-er than Sam Brownback, let me put it that way.”
“I don’t want to be president,” he added. “I want to run for president. There’s a difference.”
Brownback, a Republican senator from Kansas, dropped his bid Friday after disappointing fundraising and low placement in most polls.
Colbert acknowledged his presidential campaign wouldn’t extend past his home state of South Carolina and said he will consider it successful if he just captures one state delegate.
“It’s proportional voting on the Democratic side - all I need is enough votes on the Democratic side to get one delegate, and I’ll feel like I’ve won. Because if, at the Democratic National Convention, somebody has to stand up and say, “The proud state of South Carolina, the palmetto state, the home of the greatest peaches and shrimp in the world, casts one vote for native son, Stephen Colbert,” I’d say I won.
Colbert has said he will seek to be a candidate in both the Democratic and Republican primaries in the Palmetto state. On his show Wednesday, he signed paperwork for both ballots. But as The Ticker reported last week, it remains to be seen whether the State parties will allow that to happen.
But Colbert, who didn’t break from his conservative-TV host act during the entire Meet the Press interview, gave plenty of hints he might not be too serious after all, including the revelation that he would consider embattled Idaho Sen. Larry Craig as his running-mate.
Though the Comedy Central host refused to say if he’d met “in the same room” with Craig to discuss the potential ticket.
“Sorry, my lawyer’s telling me to say no more,” he said.
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
WASHINGTON (CNN) - He made a splash with a surprise presidential announcement Tuesday, but can Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert actually get on the primary ballots in South Carolina?
The answer is yes, although it could get pricey.
The fee to be considered for the Democratic ballot is $2,500, while it’s a hefty $35,000 to gain admittance into the Republican primary.
Colbert has indicated he will seek to appear on each party's ballot and the South Carolina Secretary of State's office confirms a candidate is allowed to run in both primaries.
But it remains to be seen if the State Democratic Party's Executive Committee, whose approval Colbert needs to get on their ballot, will vote to certify a candidate who is also running in the GOP race. The rules state the candidate must be "actively campaigning" for the Democratic primary.
Meanwhile, the State Republican Party does not require an executive committee vote and would not prevent a candidate from appearing on both ballots.
Colbert has until the end of this month to file with both parties. The Republicans are holding their primary January 19, while the Democrats will vote January 26.
The Palmetto State is one of four lead-off primary states that will likely play a crucial role in determining the eventual nominee of both parties.
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
Colbert said Tuesday he will run for president in South Carolina.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - He hinted at a possible run for the White House on CNN's Larry King last week, but Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert made it official Tuesday night: he's jumping into the presidential race in his home state of South Carolina.
"After nearly 15 minutes of soul-searching, I have heard the call….I am hereby declaring that I will enter the presidential primary in my native South Carolina, running as a favorite son," Colbert said on his show Tuesday night. "I defy any other candidate to pander more to the people of South Carolina - those beautiful, beautiful people."
South Carolina is one of four lead-off primary states that will likely play a crucial role in determining the eventual nominee of both parties.
On Larry King last Thursday, Colbert laid out his potential electoral strategy, saying he'd see how he did in South Carolina before deciding to move on to other states. (Watch Colbert discuss his political life on CNN's Larry King)
"I think maybe there's something I could offer the campaign on a state-by-state basis," he said. "I would target a state individually…a test run."
Colbert, author of the recently released “I Am America (And So Can You!),” also told King he'd seek to run as both a Democrat and Republican.
"I'd let the people decide what party I belong in," he said. "I don't dictate the people's actions."
In the interview with King, Colbert also brushed aside suggestions that it was a "cop out" to run in both parties, calling it instead courageous, because, "I could lose twice." (Related video: Watch more of Larry King's interview with Colbert)
In the slim chance that he wins a party's nomination, Colbert said Tuesday he'd consider either Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, Russian President Vladimir Putin, or himself for a running mate.
"Colbert-Colbert - that's a strong ticket," he argued.
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- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney