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. Dan, Rochester NY

    And to think we live in a democracy...the democrats are just afraid to stand up for what they really believe in

    November 6, 2007 03:41 am at 3:41 am |
  2. B. J. Sisco, Huntington Beach, California

    I'm disappointed over his decision to keep Colbert off the ballot. I wonder why. He's certainly no opposition. Indeed, he would be more help than hindrance.
    Now, we know he won't be on the ballot. Alas, and alack! Comedians have always been at the forefront of political crisis. Government has removed high profile ones in the past – Smothers Brothers, Mort Sahl, Bill Maher, et al. Maybe, because we listen to them, pray tell I query?

    November 6, 2007 03:52 am at 3:52 am |
  3. James, Alexandria, VA

    How is this news over Ron Pauls record setting day??? unbiased media??? right.

    November 6, 2007 04:31 am at 4:31 am |
  4. Joe, Silver Spring, Maryland

    This seems like another hit job on Obama by HRC people. They are a sleazy bunch who fabricate issues.

    November 6, 2007 05:00 am at 5:00 am |
  5. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Add "lacks a sense of humor" to the list of reasons why Obama cannot be elected.

    November 6, 2007 05:09 am at 5:09 am |
  6. Chris, Atlanta Georgia

    If this is true I won't vote for Obama simply based on principle. It is horrible that Americans are told their entire lives that any citizen can become President.

    Voters should decide who becomes President, not a committee of 16 people nobody has ever heard of.

    November 6, 2007 05:47 am at 5:47 am |
  7. Nick, Worcester MA

    Anyone who had a problem with Colbert running needs to rethink the situation. He had no way of getting any votes so people actually lobbying for him to loose just really didn't get the joke.

    November 6, 2007 06:12 am at 6:12 am |
  8. Sean, Los Banos California

    It's ridiculous that the story is framed the way it is. Neither of these people are official staffers for Obama; the article headline makes it seem as if the campaign is in some way connected to these two volunteers in some official capacity.

    Keep on perpetuating Hilary's perceived inevitability by the media! Yeah!

    November 6, 2007 06:18 am at 6:18 am |
  9. Mark Columbus, Ohio

    Taking Colbert off the ballot? Come on...he can do a lot better than the idiots that's running for President. I would love to watch his "State of the Union" address if he was elected. Our first Non-boring State of the Union that will leave us laughing! ELECT COLBERT!

    November 6, 2007 06:20 am at 6:20 am |
  10. Scott G, Federick, MD

    I agree with Mr. Sellers, a mockery of the democratic process did occur, by his actions and those supporters of Obama. The whole election process is a joke. How many on the ballot are not really nationally viable either? You could argue they should not be allowed. Maybe Mr. Colbert being on the ballot and passing a number of the candidates in the vote would give these candidates a dose of reality and that none of them are really appealling to the masses and they have a very high arrogance of their own self worth. Obama's campaign made it sound like this is the "Mother" of all elections (ok, i'm getting sick of that phrase too). Well guess what, so have the last 5 or 6. They must have had some polling data and were really afraid that Colbert might actually do significant damage. Its just like how the Big players keep the Independents and small candidates out of the debates, so they never get a voice out. They are the ones that make a mockery of our election system (BOTH parties).

    November 6, 2007 06:23 am at 6:23 am |
  11. Brock, Virginia Beach, VA

    Here I was with this illusion that anyone could try to run for President. How foolish am I?

    November 6, 2007 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  12. Doug, NYC

    Oh THIS is going to play well on Colbert's show!

    Seems that St. Obama is just as nasty and underhanded as any other campaign. And what was he afraid of? A COMEDIAN?

    I wonder what OTHER surprises Obama will reveal? Allah hu Akbar!

    November 6, 2007 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  13. Jason, Cola, SC

    I gotta say, I don't think Colbert made a mockery of the process anymore than it already is.

    November 6, 2007 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  14. Anonymous

    Just the sort of soft-headed, humorless, self satisfied, weak brained part of the Democratic party that mirrors the Republicans. It shows me that, deep inside, politicians are really the same. They all want big corporate money, none of them want any real change. It's the Game. We are all the suckers.

    November 6, 2007 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  15. Katie, Marietta, GA

    I love Colbert, watch every night! However, this process is too important to be wrapped up in a comedy stunt. Yes, anyone can try to run for President. However, the Democratic Party is not obliged to support them.

    November 6, 2007 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  16. Bill, Terrace, BC

    So is this the politics of hope? I'm not sure if we are a country in despair, but we do have real problems and we need real leaders with real vision. We don't need candidates whose surrogates waste their time and ours by focusing on trivia.

    If Colbert wanted to run to make a point about the process, he should have been allowed to. If Obama's surrogates have nothing better to do than worry about Colbert, what in the world is he even doing in the race?! These are serious times and we need serious leaders with real vision. Get real, Obama!!!

    November 6, 2007 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  17. Chris, Lee, NH

    As usual, it's all about the money. Hardly surprising. As noted, Colbert's candidacy probably would have drawn a younger demographic to the primary, and then quite possibly to the final election. Getting the younger people in this country involved in the process isn't worth $20 grand?

    November 6, 2007 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  18. John A. Meyers Sevierville, TN


    Anyone who wishes to run for any office should be encouraged. Professional spinners, handlers and image managers shouldn't squelch anyone from participating.

    Fresh ideas, multiple aspects and as many participants are what this country needs.

    Who knows, perhaps a real leader with real leadership abilities might step forward!

    Shame on Mr. Obama for allowing his cronies to stoop to this level.

    I have lost any respect that I once had for Mr. Obama. He should personally contact the organizations that his henchmen pitched and do all that he can to reverse their decision.

    November 6, 2007 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  19. Lindsay, Ithaca NY

    The article title "Obama team helps kill Colbert campaign" is obscenely misleading. For one, it wasn't the Obama team. The actual campaign had zero connection to this: it was an unpaid Obama supporter. Additionally, the term "kills" is far too strongly worded and infused with bias, something that any credible news source should shy away from if it hopes to maintain a modicum of credibility.

    Also, the article doesn't reveal until after the cut that Tenenbaum disagrees with CNN's characterization of her placing pressure through these calls, something that the beginning of the article asserts as if it were 100% true.

    November 6, 2007 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  20. Derrick (Lexington, Kentucky)

    I like Colbert but votes for him would have likey come from folks likely to vote for Obama and I think deep down he truly wouldn't want that.

    It would be a "2000 Election" situation all over again with him playing the role of Nader.

    I'll continue to watch his show regardless (as soon as the writer's strike ends).

    November 6, 2007 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  21. Case, Norfolk VA

    Is it just me or is CNN leading a hatchet job against Obama. They have run more negative press against him in the past week than any other major network. 2 supporters were against Colbert being on the ballot. What about the other 11 who voted against...are we going to speculate on their reasons.

    November 6, 2007 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  22. Maeve

    What's Obama afraid of? That Colbert would get more laughs than he did on Saturday Night Live? Or is it that Colbert has more experience in standing up to Bush and his toadies?

    November 6, 2007 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  23. Jim

    I agree with sean. If anyone wants an example of the bias in CNN, here it is. The framing of this story is ridiculous. The headline of the story is ridiculous. The bias is ridiculous.

    November 6, 2007 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  24. Gary, Kennedyville Maryland

    So much for democracy, I too believed any US citizen who met the proper requirements could run.....why is Colbert not allowed to? Sounds like fixed votes.....

    November 6, 2007 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  25. Al, NY

    Obama supporters are vicious.

    November 6, 2007 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
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