Super PAC Satire: Colbert Explains (Faux) Presidential Run to ABC News
Colbert's run highlights unlimited spending in political campaigns.
Jan. 15, 2012 -- Running for president is hard work. But for comedian Stephen Colbert, who announced his plans to "explore" a presidential bid in South Carolina earlier this week, it's not the long hours of campaigning or the intense public scrutiny that weighed against his decision to run, it was giving up control of his Super PAC.
"To do this exploratory committee, I had to give away my Super PAC," Colbert told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview Sunday morning on "This Week." "That's my baby. Do you know how hard it is to give away a baby? Now imagine if that baby had a whole lot of money. Imagine how much harder that would be to give away."
Colbert is using his faux bid for the White House to draw attention to new campaign finance laws that allow unnamed donors to pour unlimited funds into super PACs, which can spend that money to support political candidates as long as they do not directly coordinate with a candidate.
"Why would you worry about what money is doing to the political process?" Colbert said, a twinge of sarcasm in his voice. "There are $11.2 million worth of ads being run in South Carolina. That just means more speech than ever before in South Carolina."
Colbert's super PAC, which was re-named The Definitely Not Coordinated With Stephen Colbert Super PAC after Colbert announced his exploratory committee, launched an ad in South Carolina this week labeling Mitt Romney a "serial killer."
The Colbert super PAC ad is an obvious spoof of anti-Romney ads being run by the pro-Newt Gingrich super PAC in the Palmetto State. Gingrich has said any untrue statements should be removed from the ad, but, because the PAC does not coordinate with Gingrich, it has refused to re-edit the ads, which some say stretch the truth about Romney's time at Bain Capital.
Colbert took a similar tone, saying he had "nothing to do" with the "serial killer" ads.
"I am not calling anyone a serial killer," Colbert said. "That's not my super PAC."
Colbert handed the reins of his PAC over to fellow comedian Jon Stewart earlier this week.
Colbert said that he has not launched a campaign for president, but merely an exploratory committee to find out "if there is a hunger for a Stephen Colbert campaign."
"I'm exploring right now," he said. "I'm like a one-man Lewis and Clark and I'm looking for my Sacagawea."
Colbert, who launched a similar push during the 2008 presidential race, first floated his 2012 aspirations earlier this week, noting that he is already beating GOP candidate Jon Huntsman in one South Carolina poll.
"This just got real," Colbert said Wednesday on "The Colbert Report." "I've got to ask: What do you think, nation? Should I run for president in South Carolina?"
However, Colbert's purported campaign faces several uphill battles, namely that the deadline for getting his name on the ballot has passed and South Carolina's voting system does not allow for write-in candidates.
The only place where someone could conceivably write in a vote for Colbert is on an absentee ballot. Those are still being sent out as requested. However, those ballots would not be counted by the state.