Stephen Colbert Insists He Can Run In South Carolina GOP Primary -- Even Though He Technically Can't
WASHINGTON -- Stephen Colbert technically has no chance of winning the GOP primary in South Carolina -- but that's not stopping him from insisting he can.
The Comedy Central host recently transferred control of his super PAC to fellow network host Jon Stewart, so that he is now legally free to explore running for president in his home state of South Carolina.
The move was largely prompted by a survey from Public Policy Polling that showed Colbert has more support than former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who is actually running for president.
But as the South Carolina Republican Party has insisted, Colbert has no chance of winning if he does decide to run.
"South Carolina state law does not allow write-in ballots in presidential primaries. There is no 'blank' space on voting machines to write-in a candidate," said South Carolina GOP Executive Director Matt Moore. "Stephen Colbert has about as much a chance at being elected president in South Carolina as he does of being elected Pope. Zero. It didn't work four years ago, and it won't work now. The gag is worn out."
South Carolina GOP Chair Chad Connelly told The Huffington Post that one upside of Colbert's stunt could be that "maybe some of his audience will watch some of our candidates and learn they're better than Obama and we get some votes out of it."
In an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday, Colbert refused to believe it was impossible for him to run.
"They say I can't get on the ballot in South Carolina?" he said. "They said you can't go to the moon. They said you can't put cheese inside a pizza crust, but NASA did it."
Stewart's super PAC is now on the air with an ad, narrated by actor John Lithgow, that calls former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney a "serial killer." The spot takes Romney's claim that corporations are people, along with his history of buying companies and breaking them apart at Bain Capital, to its logical conclusion, and urges voters to cast their ballots for "Not Mitt Romney."
When asked about the ad, Colbert -- like so many of the other actual GOP presidential candidates -- said he has nothing to do with the unaffiliated super PAC's actions, but of course would like to see the ad taken down if there are inaccuracies.
"I have no control over that ad," said Colbert, adding, "I can't tell Americans for a Better Tomorrow Tomorrow what to do. It's not my super PAC, George. It's the super PAC of -- I hope I'm pronouncing this correctly -- Jon Stewart. I believe it's a soft 't.' But, listen, if that's not accurate, I hope they take it down."
"I don't know if Mitt Romney's a serial killer," he continued. "That's a question that he's going to have to answer. That sounds like it's superstar John Lithgow voicing that. He played a serial killer on 'Dexter.' Two points make a line. ... I do not want any untrue ads on the air that could in any way be traced back to me."
Colbert also said he agreed with Fox News President Roger Ailes' criticisms of Stewart.
"I believe that Jon Stewart is a loose cannon. I believe that he's a liberal. I believe that he has it in for conservatives," said Colbert. "And that's why, I believe, if any of these ads cause trouble, that's Jon Stewart actually trying to undermine my exploratory committee. ... It's one of the reasons it's so hard to form an exploratory committee, George. I had to give away my super PAC. That was my baby. You know how hard it is to give away your baby? Imagine if that baby also had a lot of money, how much harder it would be to give that baby away? You might get the baby back, but it may not have the same amount of money as when you gave the baby away."
Colbert has previously used his super PAC and his flirtations with public office to shed light on campaign finance laws in America and expose their flaws and absurdities.
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