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.

Full story

Related video: CNN producer Peter Hamby discusses this story on Newsroom

Click here to see CNN's new political portal:

- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

soundoff (393 Responses)
  1. Jackie, Washington DC

    What right does Obama have to oppose anyone on the ballot? I love the way people say that Colbert would have been 'taking away Obama's votes.' They're not 'Obama's votes', they're free to go to whoever the people want to give them to. And if some people wanted to vote for Colbert instead of Obama, despite the fact that his campaign was obviously more of a statement then an actual run, then God Bless.

    November 6, 2007 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  2. Christopher Thursby, Steamboat Springs Colorado

    When is the older generation of Americans going to realize that this is not just their country? Is it any wonder why political apathey is as high as it is with 20 & 30 somethings when our opinions keep marginalized? I am utterly disgusted with the political process today. When, as Americans, are we going to stop filling our children's heads with lies about opportunity, equality and freedom if a committee can deny someone the ability to run for president because he may detract votes from other candidates? Isn't that the point of democracy!? Maybe only one person should be allowed to run for President, a democrat or a republican, that way he will get 100% of the vote and it is everyone's fault when things go wrong.
    While Colbert's act may have been a joke, the real joke was how quickly people moved to keep him from running! Colbert has shown in about a week, on a national scale, that our beloved system is broken.

    November 6, 2007 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  3. Tom, Hebron,IN

    For as cute as it may seem,and i'm sure some of us remember when Pat Paulsen ran for president against Nixon,there is no place for this kind of celebrity self endorsement in this day and age. Taking away a legitimate vote for the sake of a publicity stunt not only waters down the process, but endangers the chance of a legitimate candidate (and it may be YOUR candidate)of winning that state.
    The right decision was made keeping Colbert off the ballot.

    November 6, 2007 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  4. Bad Reporting, Pawtucket, Rhode Island


    This article perpetuates all that is wrong with the American Media, and specifically CNN. Stop inflating supporters of a specific candidate to the level of being the voice of that candidate. As if Obama cared one iota about Colbert in South Carolina.

    Give me a break.

    What's next?

    Racist Hillary supporter means that Hillary's a racist?

    November 6, 2007 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  5. MF Syracuse, NY

    I just wanted to respond to "JB Boston MA" who stated that Colbert's run was mocking us all at a time of crisis in this country. What JB doesn't get is that we are in a crisis because the system that is preventing Colbert from running has been mocking us for decades! The political system in this country has gotten so bad that the founding fathers would revolt against it. King George wasn't beaten by the colonists, he is sitting on his throne in Washington. Colbert merely brings the absurdity of our ruling class governement to the forefront. So JB...Clinton, Bush, Obama...they all continue to mock you and the rest of us .

    November 6, 2007 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  6. JE, Watertown, NY

    Obama is afraid of Colbert taking away his votes, as Obama is taking away HILLARY'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 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  7. Mike , Panama City , FL

    Im glad Colbert is gone and off the ticket , What he was trieng to do is to distract people from voting for the right canditate , its no suprise also that the republicans were happy with this because he is obviously a conservative who was going to be disguised as a democratic ,and then have voters who did not want to vote for a democratic vote for him .

    Kind of like ralph nader stealing votes from Gore in 2000 .

    November 6, 2007 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  8. RP, City and State

    It is truly pathetic that anyone with influence, whether they worked for the Obama campaign or not, felt that Colbert was a large enough threat that they kept him off the ballot. Sounds like his so called supporters don't have much confidence in him. Really, shouldn't they have known better than to have done something this dumb? They knew this was going to get associated with Obama's campaign. Yeesh!

    In fact, the only thing dumber here are all of the comments trying to make this about Hilary Clinton. Why do y'all keep bringing her up? Seriously, you sound like crazy conspiracy theorists. You're worse than the Ron Paul supporters. They're annoying but they don't sound nuts.

    November 6, 2007 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  9. Chris Wilson, Indiana

    I don't understand what all the complaining is about. I live in Indiana, so I have never had a say in who the Democratic or Republican candidate will be. It's been decided by Iowa, New Hampshire, and the Super Tuesday states. The electoral college then ensures that my vote in this solidly red state will never make a difference, whether I vote Republican or Democrat.

    November 6, 2007 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  10. Barbara, Pembroke Pines, FL

    Shame on Obama. He must have thought that Colbert was going to take votes from him.

    November 6, 2007 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  11. summus

    Obama is such a fake.

    November 6, 2007 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  12. Ace, Atlanta, Georgia

    Whoa, taking votes from a viable candidate to give to an unviable candidate. This seems to imply, that all votes are cast "for" someone and never "against" someone. Colbert's candidacy provided an opportunity to vote against the grossly "defunct" electoral process in this country. It would be totally expected that both the Democratic and Republican parties would oppose such an opportunity for the American people as they have in the past. Remember, we are the governed, and our elected officials know what's best for us because they have spent tons of money and lots of time listening to professional lobbyists and special interest groups (including PAC's). We are no longer able to elect candidates who reflect our interests or desires; but are now forced to chose between the lesser of evils. The democrats and the republicans will always fear the destruction of a two party system, because it will steal away the corrupt systems they have worked so long to create.

    November 6, 2007 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  13. george, hampton, virginia

    i agree but a lot of times there are people who just vote with no idea of why they are voting for someone

    November 6, 2007 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  14. Cheri, Apopka FL

    I was under the impression that in this country, anyone was able to run for president. I know Colbert didn't have the backing nor the desire to run a national campaign but if I chose to vote for him anyways, that is MY desicion as an American. Obama's people have no right telling me who I can and can't vote for because it's taking votes away from them. They only hurt themselves in this, now those who wanted to support Colbert in spirit won't support Obama on paper.

    November 6, 2007 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  15. Gaz, Boston MA

    Hey I love Colbert, but the Colbert we all know is a FICTIONAL CHARACTER. The run was a joke and I don't blame SC dems for not wanting the joke to be on them.

    Not to mention the headline is misleading – Obama had nothing to do with this.

    November 6, 2007 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  16. Steve Elliott Columbia, SC

    Nothing has changed. It is still politics as usual for the Obama campaign.

    I find it impossible that the local supporters in SC would have used their influence without the knowledge of the Obama campaign.

    So much for the Democratic process. Is this what we can expect with a Democrat in the White House?

    November 6, 2007 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  17. monica, rochester new york

    So What!! Colbert was Joking and that Joke would have cost my party $20,000. Hillary's campaign supported and encouraged Colbert's Fake bid, which shows she's willing to trash the democratic process to win an election for herself. HRC supporters are conveniently ignoring that part of the story. For the record, no one is fooled by those fake " he's lost my vote", claims from the HRC supporters. Because of you Hillary has just lost my vote too!!

    November 6, 2007 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  18. Brett, Buffalo NY

    This is a sad commentary on the Presidential race in itself. If anything, Colbert would have drawn attention in the 18-29 demographic about the importance of voting. Instead, it is now merely a chance wasted

    November 6, 2007 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  19. xtina - chicago IL

    Why is anyone spending time already on all this drama and Washington intrigue when the public is constantly saying we just want Congress and the Presiddent to do the peoples'work ? If these unelected candidates are talking about issues not related to our everyday security and well-being, what the heck will they talk about when they're safely ensconced in office? Why don't we get back to the qualifications of these candidates and forget the soap opera stuff...

    November 6, 2007 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  20. barry, tampa, fl

    It's embarrassing that so many people have fallen for this joke!

    November 6, 2007 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  21. Brandon, Tampa, FL

    Sean, you hit it right on the head.

    November 6, 2007 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  22. Tricia M Charlottetown PEI

    "This just goes to show you how low these Democrats will stoop to keep a good Jesus loving man who thinks with his gut out of their party! Why are they too cowardly to let him in? Do they really hate America this much?"

    "Its not just Obama's people that are at fault for calling for a crucifixion of values that reminds me of the freeing of Barabas, but the entire Democratic party! FOR SHAME!"
    Posted By Chris Foosman, Carbondale IL

    Are you serious?
    For the love of Mike, Colbert NEVER HAD ANY INTENTIONS of Running for President. IT WAS HIS IDEA OF A JOKE. And an inane and very poor one at that! PERIOD.

    You people need to get a grip. If Colbert had any possibility of being elected as President than ALL AMERICANS should throw their hats in the ring! Mays well make it an All American Circus!

    Unbelievable that Americans actually think this Stunt had real intentions!

    Maybe we could get to more important news stories. Like, this year showed the highest number of US Soldiers killed in America!

    Like the US Economy is at it's lowest in history.

    Like the US Dollar is worth twenty-five cents less than the Canadian dollar for the time in History!

    Like Pakistan is on the brink of disaster which will mean another disaster for the world!

    Comedy and Comedians have no place in the travesties occuring in our world today. PERIOD.

    November 6, 2007 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  23. Justin, NE

    Say it together now. J-O-K-E, JOKE.
    Get it?

    November 6, 2007 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  24. Jesse, Madison, WI

    I hope you all realize that this story doesn't quote any sources by name. In fact, some guy I know told me both Edwards and Clinton supporters were responsible. No, seriously. CNN please report it because I'm completely reliable. Sad day when the news media becomes nothing but an expensive blog.

    November 6, 2007 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  25. Don - Minnesota

    Although, I’m not in anyway a fan of Stephen Colbert or his brand of “humor”, and I do use the word very loosely, I think it speak volumes about Mr. Obama “the candidate for change” that he would go to that extreme to put down the competition. Anyone who believes he had nothing to do with it is as stupid and gullible as they think you are. Every time his name gets connected with something during this campaign he jumps out and disassociates himself, heck just say “yeah, I did it, and here is why…” stop trying to play me for a fool!

    November 6, 2007 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16