We know you were wondering: What could this presidential race need that Mike Gravel isn't already giving it?
What about the steely-eyed glare of Stephen Colbert? Sure, his name may sound a little French for the GOP, and he may channel Bill O'Reilly a bit too convincingly for Democrats' taste.
But here comes Mr. Colbert, filing papers to run in both parties' presidential primaries in South Carolina, per The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz. He announced his presidential candidacy on his Comedy Central program last night, ensuring that the line between politics and entertainment will be as fuzzy as a Teddy bear -- if Colbert weren't too manly for such things. (He is not pregnant, despite what he said last week on ABC's "Good Morning America.")
"After nearly 15 minutes of soul-searching, I have heard the call," Colbert said. Colbert said he planned to run in South Carolina, "and South Carolina alone," per the AP's write-up. (In case you forgot, he's hawking a book, and no, he's not giving up his show.)
"Colbert's chances may be less than slim, but in today's infotainment culture, he could draw precious media attention from the second-tier contenders," Kurtz writes in the Post. "And he has a nightly platform to milk the spectacle for jokes, if not votes."
He will not be the next president, and he won't win South Carolina, either, but what will his candidacy do to the Clinton-Obama-Edwards rivalry that's percolating in the Palmetto State?
Nine more questions to ponder on a busy Wednesday:
1. Does Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton wish that Iowa was 11 days from now instead of 11 weeks ? (Yes.)
3. Does being endorsed by George W. Bush's successor make you George W. Bush's successor? (No, but it probably doesn't hurt.)
4. Where is Fred Thompson? (In Washington, D.C. -- we think -- working on his "cuddly and friendly" side.)
5. Is the Republican National Committee pleased that three of the Big Four GOP candidates skipped its fundraising dinner last night? (No, and neither are the donors who don't need another reason to keep their checkbooks closed.)
7. Is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi going to let a nonbinding resolution spark an international confrontation? (Unlikely.)
8. Did Sen. Barack Obama's campaign mean to send out a memo that included a link to the (non-working) Website My.BO.com? (No.)
9. Is it possible for a campaign to get too much good news too soon? (Maybe.)
Clinton, D-N.Y., is about to test that proposition. Another national poll has her north of 50 percent, and she's now officially erased the fund-raising edge that had been enjoyed by Obama. (It's clever to raise money off of that gap, but a gap is a gap.)
This leaves two trajectories: Clinton stays steady and has this locked up by Christmas. Or something happens to knock her off her pedestal, either an outside event, a campaign misstep, or an anti-Clinton message that starts to resonate from one of her increasingly aggressive rivals. The Republicans are already taking her on (and they love when she finds new ways to spend money) though such criticism may wind up helping her in the primaries.