Stephen Colbert mocks U.S. politics

Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:20pm EST
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) - Late night comedian Stephen Colbert has dropped a fat hint that he is exploring a run in the Republican presidential primary in South Carolina, although the deadline has passed to get on the ballot.

But that may not be the point. His announcement on Thursday's satirical "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central gave Colbert an avenue for poking fun at how well-funded political action committees, operating at arm's length from a candidate, can spend to support that candidate.

The Republican presidential primary in South Carolina will be held on January 21, and political experts say it could help seal frontrunner Mitt Romney's hold on the nomination.

To a cheering studio audience, Colbert joked on his show that "for over a day now" residents of South Carolina had been "crying out for someone who can restore our nation's former greatness to its current perfection."

"Well America, that someone is now," he said. "I am proud to announce that I am forming an exploratory committee to lay the groundwork for my possible candidacy for the president of the United States of South Carolina."

The deadline to get on the ballot in the Republican primary in South Carolina was November 1, and election officials say write-in candidates are not allowed.

Yet one opinion poll has Colbert receiving the support of 5 percent of likely Republican primary voters in South Carolina, ahead of genuine candidate Jon Huntsman at 4 percent.

"I don't think he's trying to disrupt the primary, but this is satire that he's been doing throughout the campaign by, in his mind, trying to show some of the absurdities of the election law," said Robert Oldendick, executive director of the Institute for Public Service and Policy Research at the University of South Carolina.   Continued...