SC Dems nix Colbert bid
Mike Aivaz and Muriel Kane
Published: Thursday November 1, 2007
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Updated: Colbert denied spot on presidential primary ballot

South Carolina Democratic officials apparently aren't big Comedy Central fans. The state party decided Thursday to deny comedian Stephen Colbert a place on its presidential primary ballot, CNN reported.

Colbert filed the necessary paperwork and paid a $2,500 fee to get on the ballot, but the state party had final say over whether his name could appear, according to the Associated Press

Democratic officials discussed the relative viability and seriousness of all nine candidates who have filed, and apparently decided Colbert did not meet the necessary threshold.

"This vote is very important. They have a critical job to do to keep this primary in shape," Joe Werner, the party's executive director, told The State newspaper.

The host of The Colbert Report told his audience on Wednesday that he had officially filed for the Democratic race.

Colbert then uncharacteristically broke character for a moment in announcing -- to loud applause -- that "I am not willing to write a $35,000 check to the Republican Party. ... I understand you have to keep a club exclusive but I paid less for my black-market liver."

However, Colbert's deeper concern was with defining just what his fellow-candidates see as the job description when they say they want to be president. "By that, do they mean the chief executive as defined by the Constitution?" he asked. "Or are we talking about George Bush's job? ... Bush has got a job with some balls. A job where you can tell the Congress and the US Supreme Court to open wide for a Texas teabagging."

Possibly influenced by finding himself a candidate only on the Democratic side, Colbert then made it more apparent than usual that his sympathies are on the side of the Constitution and against anyone who would emulate George Bush. He demonstrated that Mitt Romney is "clearly applying for the new job" with a clip of Romney stating, "I hear from time to time people say, 'Hey, wait a second. We have civil liberties we have to worry about.' But don't forget, the most important civil liberty I expect from my government is my right to be kept alive."

"That speech will play great in New Hampshire, what with their state motto, 'Live Free or Do Whatever It Takes So I Don't Die,'" Colbert commented.

Colbert also noted with obvious approval that when the Constitution was written, "the theory was that if you had three equal branches of government, they'd be too busy fighting amongst themselves to oppress the people." But then -- moving for the moment back into his right-wing pundit persona -- he added that "while checks and balances are great in theory ... the Constitution is not a suicide pact. In a time of extraordinary danger, executive power must be extraordinary."

Finally, with his two personas converging in one brilliant summation, Colbert concluded by saying, "I would like to be the first candidate to make my position clear. I am not running for president. I am running for President Bush. Why? Because I believe in freedom -- and I would be crazy to let anybody else have that kind of power over me."

The following video is from Comedy Central's Colbert Report, broadcast on October 31, 2007