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. John Ardmore, PA

    88 comments in an hour- mostly from frustrated, angry Hillary Clinton loyalists-

    After Mrs. Clinton's dismal performace in the debate last week, and the backlash against her gender self-victimising, her supporters are desperately going into high gear to smear her opposition.

    Sadly, Mrs. Clinton will likely get the nomination and because of the vile nature of her campaign, she will end up losing the general. Get ready for President Mitt or President Rudy.

    I support Barack in 2012 when Mitt or Rudy is running for re-election.

    November 6, 2007 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  2. Julius, Philadelphia, PA

    Come on, people. I'm a huge Colbert fan, but if you think that no one would have voted for him, your crazy...I was just at the Philly Dem debate and there were several Colbert supporters. HAnd, yes, they werea ll potential Obama can'tlose that demographic to a mockery of the system. He's not running for President and his appearance on the SC ballot would only serve as a spoiler. SC is a very important primary and Obama (or any other candidate needs every vote. Plus, with every poll showing Hillary in the lead he DOES need every vote.

    PS, He doesn't have someone so dumbly stated.

    November 6, 2007 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  3. demwit

    Well.., that's the last straw, Obama just lost my vote.

    November 6, 2007 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  4. Thunk Different.

    iThink that everyone who was serious about their job and career pressed to keep Colbert off the the ballot. Funny guy, but silly quest, he did have a chance in hell.

    November 6, 2007 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  5. Walt, Belton, TX

    I guess Osama and Hillarity don't want any more competition......

    November 6, 2007 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  6. Jess Carlisle MA

    Obama is an idiot for this. If you want a stable (or more stable) nation you will have to vote Clinton.

    November 6, 2007 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  7. Barbara

    Mark Penn and Hillary if nothing else are genius at slime.

    What better way to distract from her flipper caricature that is now getting embedded into the American psyche after last week's debate than to play the victim and now get CNN(Clinton Network News) to put up this tabloid headline.

    Good work Penn. Hope you've got another job lined up for 08.

    November 6, 2007 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  8. Chip, Washington

    I was going to vote for Obama but not now. I guess it was a valid concern that more people would vote for Colbert....that should be telling to the candidates that they are not in touch...

    November 6, 2007 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  9. Scott, North Carolina

    This is pretty sad, whether or not Obama's campaign played a big role. The committee used the excuse of Colbert not being viable enough, but he was already polling better than at least a couple of the "viable" Democratic candidates that the committee did allow.

    Colbert is just a comedian, but frankly I think I might prefer him over almost anyone from either the Democratic or Republican parties. Humor as sharp as his suggests that he's more tuned in to important matters than any of the mainstream candidates are.

    We like to think anyone can run for office in this country, but there are very real barriers. Colbert paid the fees and acquired the necessary signatures, yet a committee was able to keep him off the ballot just because they didn't like him. That sounds like something I'd expect in China or Pakistan, but not in the United States.

    November 6, 2007 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  10. Johnny J. San Antonio Texas

    I think it's wrong to dismiss someone running for president because he knows the people's veiws. Obama knows that he will lose if Colbert runs. I think it's stupid.

    November 6, 2007 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  11. Kim, Sacramento, CA

    This is outrageous! There were 13 our of 16 people on that committee that voted against Colbert being put on the ballot. Come on CNN, please be fair and tell us how many of those 13 are Clinton supporters, Edwards supporters, etc. To frame this like the Obama campaign had anything to do with it is beyond irresponsible.

    And, to those of you who won't vote for Obama because of this it is very sad that you don't see through this garbage and are that easily swayed by the media.

    November 6, 2007 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  12. John, Michigan

    What does Obama have to do with it? Aren't his supporters free Americans? It is a Democrat Primary isn't it?
    Besides, I thought Colbert was a cheese.
    Maybe Lou Dobbs will support him as an independent.

    November 6, 2007 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  13. Danny G. Boca Raton, FL

    Good Going OBAMA Supporters you seem afraid! perhaps your candidate is not shuch a shoe in as everyone wants to believe... this is the primaries! let people decide whom they want! Colbert won't get the nomination in his state, but who are they to take it upon themselves to pressure officials to turn him down this way... good going!

    November 6, 2007 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  14. Greg, NY, NY

    Rob, Chicago, Illinois,

    It's not that Colbert didn't have enough money to run on the Republican ticket, he wasn't allowed to spend more than $5,000 on his campaign without legal ramifications for promoting his campaign on his TV show.

    So, to legally promote his campaign on his show, he could only apply for the Democratic side.

    I do agree with you though, a lot of people seem to be mistaken about the fact that anyone CAN run for President, just not on the Democratic or Republican tickets without approval. He can run as an independent if he likes.

    November 6, 2007 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  15. Doug, New Jersey

    I don't understand how the writers strike would affect shows like Colbert’s or John Stewart’s. Couldn't they just replace their current writers with some of the staff from Al Jezzera? I'd bet that no one would notice any difference, well maybe it would be slightly more pro America, there are few people in this world that can duplicate the hate, lies, and distortions of America's liberal democrats.

    November 6, 2007 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  16. Scott, Ann Arbor, MI

    If Obama's supporters are so worried that a comedian will take away some of their precious votes that leads me to conclude that Obama isn't a viable candidate. I hope he gets crushed in S. Carolina and everywhere else; if he doesn't have the guts to take on all-comers in one puny state how can he have what it takes to lead on the international stage?

    November 6, 2007 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  17. Mary B, Cedar Rapids IA

    Give up folks, apparently the rules for posting here are first, read the headline....second, post a reactive commentary...third, leave.

    And then we wonder why 25% of the people are Republicans and they still run the table. Asinine headlines posted by Republican ownership who fixed it so that Colbert couldn't even entertain the idea of being on the ballot there...

    November 6, 2007 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  18. Nate, Columbus, Ohio

    They excluded him mainly because they know that he is very popular with the younger generation and is actually very correct on many topics that he talks about. It's sad really that politics are that controlled and that people can't vote for who they really want.

    November 6, 2007 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  19. Greg, Charlotte NC

    Colbert was the only one in the last four years who actually spoke truth to power (did everyone already forget the White House Correspondents Dinner?). He's funny – but the message is no joke. A couple of heavy Obama supporters have helped silence the satirical voice of reason. No other Dem has spoken so forcefully. I'm writing in Colbert and dropping Obama – my previous choice.

    November 6, 2007 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  20. Darren Las Vegas, NV

    "I placed the calls as a concerned Democrat, realizing that we are a country in despair," Sellers told CNN. "It is not a time for games or to make a mockery of the process."

    Like both democrats and republicans haven't already made a mockery of the offices in which they hold. I am African American and I am becoming more disgusted with the democrats everyday. Obama will NOT get my vote. Hillary is a wicked corporate controlled she-devil. Ron Paul is the answer baby. Support the Ron Paul revolution!

    November 6, 2007 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  21. James, Florence, SC

    This whole "he might take votes away" mentality is actually an inference to how stupid these campaigns think the voters are! It's our vote, we can do what we want with it!

    Complete lack of respect for the voters.

    November 6, 2007 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  22. Ann memphis, tn

    Who cares. CNN is really going to bat for their girl Clinton now. She must be in trouble.

    November 6, 2007 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  23. al, San Francisco, CA

    As in Obama's senate race and now in th presidential pursuit, he double-talked and played dirty politics. He might have learnt these dirty poltiical tricks from his young days in the dictatorial muslim country of Indonesia. What an upbringing!

    November 6, 2007 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  24. Not the Real Stephen Colbert

    The Democrats missed the boat on this one. They should have embraced his run and laughed along with him about it. He was not serious and wouldn't have been able to campaign much so he wasn't a threat. The Dems, who I support, are gutless and this proves it more than anything: they are afraid of a silly comedian!! Wow!

    I agree it was not Obama doing this specifically but clearly someone who has interests in Obama doing well in SC DID take these measures to keep Colbert off the ballot. Let's be honest, depending on the poll you looked at, Obama and Colbert were polling around the same numbers in SC...if you took those numbers seriously, which I did not. That apparently came off as a threat to some of the Obama supporters.

    Oh, writers, please end your strike now so Colbert can be back on TV to lambaste the Dems for being gutless wonders! Being the worst president in history, Bush is comedy gold for comedians, but apparently the Dems want to give him a run for his money!

    November 6, 2007 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  25. JE, Watertown, NY

    Obama is afraid of Colbert taking away his votes, as Obama is taking away Obama's votes. As typical Obama, do as I say, not as I do.

    What a phoney and hyprocritic politicain of Obama! He definitely does not have my vote!

    November 6, 2007 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
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