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. Steven

    Does the Obama campaign not realize that Colbert could destroy his campaign just as easily?

    November 6, 2007 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  2. Bryan, Columbus OH

    This doesn’t have anything to do with who can run for president. He was trying to get on the Democratic and Republican ticket. He can still run as an independent if he desires.

    November 6, 2007 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  3. Maria, Delmar, NY

    I hardly think that Obama supporters have this kind of clout..or else he'd be 20 points ahead in SC polls..

    This is another tactic by the Clinton machine, aided and abetted by the CNN and the other MSM outlets to denigrate the best politician our country has seen since RFK running for president.

    The American people see this and in January, the MSM will too.

    November 6, 2007 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  4. Peter M, Seattle, WA

    Its interesting how the Clinton News Network framed this to make it sound as if Obama actually had anything to do with it. The headline could easily have been "Clinton supporter files to have Colbert on the ballot" this sounds like an attempt by the Clinton machine to use Colbert to dilute and split the youth and young adults' votes from Obama.

    November 6, 2007 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  5. Jack, St. Louis MO

    "Official staffers"? "Volunteers"? The State Superintendent of Education and a State Representative make personal calls to the committee in charge and you [Sean, Los Banos California] actually think they're not "connected" to the Obama campaign??! Wow. How's that whole "head-in-the-sand" thing workin' out for ya?

    November 6, 2007 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  6. John, NY

    If this is true, then Obama just lost my vote.

    November 6, 2007 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  7. Anon, Washington, DC

    Anyone who is eligible can run for president. You may still write in Colbert, and he could still run as an independent if he chose.

    The democrats have simply decided to not officially list his name as a democratic candidate on the ballot. I am willing to bet that Colbert will still get at least 1% of the write-in vote – though I wouldn't expect much more.

    November 6, 2007 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  8. Becky, Baltimore, MD

    Not a viable enough candidate? But all the other Dems are extremely "viable"...Ridiculous.

    November 6, 2007 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  9. Dr Atomic

    Well, it's a lucky break for Colbert, who's just been knocked off the air by the tv writers' strike. He'd have been in reruns today anyway.

    November 6, 2007 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  10. JJ, Charleston, SC

    How scary that about a dozen people can keep someone off a ballot. What country is this again? SC State Dem Executive Council – you're ON NOTICE!

    November 6, 2007 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  11. NotSurprised, Douglasville, GA

    So, I have the same problem with Colbert not being allowed to be on the ballot as I do with 4-H being forced by American Indians to remove tribal names and activities from the annual camp bonfire. God forbid American kids should be made curious about and learn a bit about American Indian tribes through participation in 4-H. God forbid a well known comedian should draw attention to the most important political campaign in this country. Colbert's antics capture people's attention who might not otherwise be paying attention. I applaud him. I think SC and the Obama campaign are ridiculous for making an issue of it and not allowing him on the ballot. If 100 more Americans tuned in to debats as a result, he would have accomplished something. But, then this is the state where Greenville County passed an anti gay resolution and where women are forced to take a course in how to be subservient to their husbands at Bob Jones University. Nothing surprises me.

    November 6, 2007 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  12. Jeff - Jacksonville, FL

    Wag of the Finger to the South Carolina Democratic Party executive council.

    What were they afraid of? Did they think Colbert would actually pose a threat to one of the other candidates?

    Colbert should file to run as an independent in November, just to tick them off!

    Stephen Colbert for President!

    November 6, 2007 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  13. Noel Detroit MI

    Anyone can run as long as you are "viable" meaning you are part of the in crowd approved by the mythical councils.
    Once again, decisions made by a few determine the outcome for the masses.
    Can you imagine the debate, it would have been the best ever. They were scared!

    November 6, 2007 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  14. Allison, NH

    While I too feel that ALL American's should have the right to be president, one has to consider that being the President of the United States is not a big fat joke (sorta what it is like now with Bush).

    I've seen Colbert on both Larry King and this weekend on Tim Russert's show, and unfortunately Colbert could not break out of costume for one minute to answer a serious question. Don't get me wrong...when I stay up late enough I do catch his show as he is funny as hell. BUT – do I think he ever had a chance to be president...NO!!

    Maybe to some $20,000 just to stick a person on a political ballot is no big deal. BUT...think about how much food $20,000 could buy for homeless shelters or another worthy cause. I think the State of South Carolina made a good call.

    Oh – and I totally agree that this whole article is skewed – none of the people who voted were offical Obama staff members. I guess everyone is trying to find SOMETHING wrong with Obama...what is everyone afraid of – that he could actually win and be a great president?

    November 6, 2007 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  15. Chad, Wisconsin

    Colbert Nation needs to stand up and not take this garbage. Colbert/Stewart 08. Lets get some real people in the White House, even actors are more real than any canidate these days.

    November 6, 2007 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  16. Rich, Houston, Texas

    Keep in mind the Republicans did not even give him a chance, at least the Dems let him get this far.

    Anybody can run for president, as long as you have enough money...

    November 6, 2007 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  17. Caleb Mangrum, Fort Wayne Indiana

    It is a joke to kick Stephen Colbert off the ballot because he is not "viable enough." Half the candidates aren't viable. That doesn't mean we should stop listening to what they have to say. And last I checked Obama didn't look as viable as as some of the other candidates.

    November 6, 2007 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  18. Carmen, Little Rock AR

    If you had asked me six months ago to list the ten most important qualities in a U.S. President, "sense of humor" would not have made the list. Now, though, I'm starting to think it should place in the top three.

    Looking beyond the fact that the head of public education in the State of South Carolina is out campaigning for a presidential candidate, this story emphasizes the fact that Barack Obama, his campaign, and his supporters take themselves too darn seriously. The difference between Obama's reaction to the Colbert campaign and Edwards' reaction is striking.

    November 6, 2007 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  19. Tere, FL

    Wooow CNN,
    Your futile attempts to KILL the stories about Hillary's messed up week of flip-flopping will not succeed by focussing on Obama

    November 6, 2007 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  20. Lost faith in system

    I for one am definately not going to vote for Obama after seeing him, at a recent, event not place his hands over his heart during a national anthem and not recite the Pledge of Allegiance. I could have cared less about wearing a lapel pin, but those offenses can't go unnoticed especially if he wants to be our President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. Other wise he would lose all respect of the Armed Service Members just as the Clintons did. But, it's obvious that didn't bother them.

    November 6, 2007 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  21. Ben Dover

    I thought anyone could run for President? I guess not.

    November 6, 2007 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  22. Beth M., Maidenhead UK

    Darn, I was SO looking forward to the freshness that Colbert would inject in to the campaign! Remember, we can still write his name in on the big day no matter what state we are in.

    November 6, 2007 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  23. Lisa, Long Beach, CA

    The headline is totally misleading. According to the story, it was not Obama and his campaign who were responsible for keeping Colbert off the ballot, it was two "prominent supporters" who volunteer for Obama. Nice attempt to smear Obama as humorless.

    November 6, 2007 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  24. Christian, Tampa FL

    First of all, anyone can run for President. That doesn't mean that anyone can get on a particular party's ballot in a particular state.

    Second, as much as I love Colbert, I understand why Obama supporters would be concerned. South Carolina is a key state that Obama will need in order to secure the nomination, and part of his main source of votes is among college students and young people, who also love Stephen Colbert.

    Also, it doesn't appear that this was a campaign decision.

    November 6, 2007 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  25. lindsay

    What is Obama afraid of?

    November 6, 2007 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
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