November 6th, 2007
09:49 AM ET
11 years ago

Obama supporters pressed Dems to keep Colbert off ballot

Prominent Obama supporters in South Carolina pressed Democratic party officials to keep Stephen Colbert off the primary ballot.

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Two prominent supporters of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign in South Carolina called state Democratic Party officials and urged them to keep funnyman Stephen Colbert's name off the primary ballot, according to party officials and Obama supporters.

The Obama campaign denied any connection to the phone calls.

"Democrats in South Carolina, including supporters of ours, had strong feelings on both sides of the ballot issue, and ultimately it was South Carolina Democrats who made this decision," said Obama's South Carolina communications director Kevin Griffis.

The South Carolina Democratic Party Executive Council voted last week 13-3 to block Colbert's bid for the Democratic primary.

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- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

soundoff (393 Responses)
  1. Bob, San Francisco, CA

    Certainly people will harp on about how Obama is trying to suppress competition in the Democratic primaries, but this election is really no time for screwing around with protest or comedic candidacies. We truly are on the verge of deciding which direction we are taking this country. We all might have different ideas what that should be, but votes shouldn't be wasted on a candidate who admits to not being serious (only wants to win S. Carolina).
    I love Colbert, but the joke's over.

    November 6, 2007 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  2. Sean (Dayton, Ohio)

    Wow, if Obama is worried about losing votes to Colbert then maybe he should give up now. Edwards had more to lose, being from SC, and he was having fun with the issue.

    November 6, 2007 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  3. sean,boston,ma

    I think they had already done this long time ago....What again?

    November 6, 2007 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  4. Mohammad, Los Angeles CA

    Heh, why would he do that?

    Maybe because Colbert would have taken some of his voters:P Think about it, almost everyone who watches the daily show and the colbert report will vote for obama...unless colbert runs...

    And with colbert registering 2.3% in the polls, he might have pulled a ralph nader on the democratic primary?

    Who knows...

    November 6, 2007 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  5. jeff, west lafayette, indiana

    who cares. colbert has bigger things to worry about with this writers strike going on.

    November 6, 2007 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  6. Schratboy, Boulder CO

    Of course, Obama's minions torpedoed Colbert. Obama is so pathetically uncompetitive they had to remove the professional comedian because he'd embarrass him.

    November 6, 2007 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  7. Ivy, Mill Valley, CA

    I like and admire Obama, but this is a bit hard to forgive. He must not know Stephen the way we fans do. Colbert may appear at first glance to be just a comedian, but he's much, much more than that.

    November 6, 2007 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  8. Fred, Reston VA

    Does this really matter? I mean both candidate's are complete jokes. I won't waste my vote on Obama or Colbert. And all those that do vote for Obama are no better than the 97,000 idiots in Florida 2000 that voted for Nader. Writing 2 self-aggrandizing books, skipping votes, and being a community organizer does not qualify you to be president. Is every boy scout leader out there qualified too?

    Please don't vote for NObama. Nice guy, but he will lose it all for the dems. Plus, no one ever talks about how ineffective he wiould be as president with no allies in dc.

    November 6, 2007 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  9. Juanito, Washington, DC

    Another non story...CNN...get a grip.
    The author of this article took great pains to continuously refer to "Obams supporters"....but the Obama campaign was not involved in this "issue".

    This is so lame, CNN.

    November 6, 2007 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  10. David, Monterey CA

    Very suspicious actions on the part of the Democratic Party. I was under the assumption that a democracy stood for choice during elections. Yet it seems that members of the Democratic Party are actively pursuing to limit choice. How ironic: the Democratic Party against democratic choice.

    November 6, 2007 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  11. diane l. machesney park, IL

    It looks like this was something engineered by Tenenbaum on her own. The Obama campaign was not involved.
    Tenenbaum seemed to be threatened by Colbert's not serious candidacy. Which is sad. it was a fun thing and would have been great to see him in a debate.
    Unfortunately this will also drag Obama into it as people will think he was behind this.
    Sometimes supporters, the high profile ones with clout, can do alot of damage in their zeal.

    November 6, 2007 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  12. Christiana in Beaverton Oregon

    Someone how this doesn't surprise me. Obama is proving that politics is politics regardless of what you say.

    November 6, 2007 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  13. Patrick, Warrenville, IL

    The sad thing is that Colbert isn't as funny as the rest of the clowns that both parties are putting forward. I think he should have tried to run as a Republican in the state because he always presents himself as one. It's obviously tongue-in-cheek, but he never "acts" Democratic.

    November 6, 2007 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  14. C. Lovelace Forest City, NC

    Who cares!??? Ron Paul is the NEWS NOW!
    Move over Obama, Hillary, Romney, Fred, Guiliani, etc.... all cookie cut cookies of the Communist, Facist, Anti-Consititutional Government!!!


    November 6, 2007 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  15. Jayne, Berkeley California

    I agree with Obama on this point. We can use all the satire and jokes we want, but the primaries are the Real Thing, not just for fun.

    Seriousness about our votes is always important – and I hope they are all counted, too!

    November 6, 2007 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  16. TJ, Lewisville, AR

    Sen. Obama claims to be a candidate for "change" but squeezing someone from the race seems like business as usual, at least for Washington insiders. We all know that Stephen Colbert was not a real candidate, but denying him the right? Squeezing him from the race, pressuring officials to side one way or another – this is definately no change from what we are already seeming from the current Administration

    November 6, 2007 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  17. Paul, Tucson, AZ

    Shame on you, Obama. Popular support for Colbert's "campaign" is a reflection of the frustration mounting in the general public. We are tired of Democrats acting like Republicans. We are tired of a two-party dynamic in which there is no measurable, practical difference between regimes.

    Instead of taking the mock presidential campaign as a personal affront, maybe someone should wake up and realize that if our elected representatives were doing a satisfactory job, guys like Colbert would have no audience. Colbert is not going to make our political institutions look an more ridiculous than a Congress that refuses to do anything, a president who openly mocks the traditions of representative government, or a judicial system that does nothing but preserve the existing power dynamic.

    We are all tired of the b.s., Mr. Obama, but Colbert has nothing to do with it. Maybe you and your supporters should expend more energy backing up your tough talk in Congress instead of protecting the integrity of your collective ego.

    Then only joke here is you.

    November 6, 2007 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  18. Jess I, Boston, MA

    I'd say this sounds like someone's holding a grudge that Colbert managed to drum up more 18-34 support in a few weeks than Obama has managed all year.

    While I didn't necessarily believe that Colbert would win South Carolina's primary, I did think just by having him run caused a lot of good debate- as well as point out some of the hypocrisies that have kept a lot of those younger key voters away from the voting booths.

    It's silly to say the $20,000 dollar payment was the reason to keep him off- they could have easily found donors to cover the charge.

    What does it say about a candidate when someone like Barrack Obama feels threatened by Stephen Colbert?

    November 6, 2007 02:48 am at 2:48 am |
  19. Mike, Cleveland, OH

    I'm a supporter of Obama and I have said previously that Colbert should be allowed to run in SC. Whether or not Obama's people influenced the commission will not change my vote, I'm still voting for Obama. However, I think Colbert should have be allowed on the ballot, after all he was only running for one state. I live in Ohio and my vote would not affect Colbert's efforts for a delegate.

    November 6, 2007 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  20. Mike, Columbia, S.C.

    The executive council who requested anonymity should feel like an idiot to even think about putting a comedian on the ballet. Steve Colbert would have made a mockery of the democratic process in South Carolina.

    November 6, 2007 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
  21. J. Williams, Baltimore, MD

    In what dimension is this still news?

    November 6, 2007 02:58 am at 2:58 am |
  22. Olu, London, United Kingdom

    I believe CNN is the most biased modern press I have seen in my entire life (even worse than Fox). CNN is so Pro Clinton, it actually stinks. Any and every article on Obama has a negative spin and all Clinton's positive. Just look at the latest poll results – The link on the political ticker is "Clinton Support Slips" (which by the way is the only suggestion of anything negative on a list of 8 items), but it's directly linked to the main news that a year to go Clinton remians the woman to beat. There are no headline news that Clinton has dropped 7 points since the last poll and Obama's picked up 4, or that Obama's got more totally likely voters than Clinton, 52% to 51%.. I held both the US and CNN as examples to the world, especially coming from a third world country where the press is not very free, but this kind of journalism makes me very very cynical, and for an international media house like CNN to carry on like is just totally irresponsible.

    November 6, 2007 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
  23. Cooperi Chicago IL

    You tell 'em Bama. Really Michelle should be running.

    November 6, 2007 03:09 am at 3:09 am |
  24. South Carolina Independent, Charleston, SC

    Colbert was trying to make a mockery of OUR state's election to boost his TV show ratings. He hasn't lived here in ages and he's NOT a favored son!

    November 6, 2007 03:14 am at 3:14 am |
  25. Grant, Moscow, ID

    I think it's funny that in an election where hundreds of millions of dollars are spent that Obama supporters claimed it wasn't fair that the state democratic party would have to pay $20,000 for Colbert's candidacy. Who's to say he wouldn't end up being a viable candidate this early in the race? Call it like it is – Obama's campaign was scared and so they pressured people.

    November 6, 2007 03:28 am at 3:28 am |
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