Stephen Colbert is doing it: running for Prez

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Stephen Colbert

America may truly become a Colbert Nation.

Renowned comedian Stephen Colbert announced he is running for President of the United States on his show The Colbert Report Tuesday night.

Colbert first appeared on The Daily Show claiming he was only considering a presidential campaign. With a beer in hand and hay bale propping up his feet, Colbert assured “[He is] just an Average Joe.”

Though he made several allusions to a presidential campaign, Colbert did not confirm the decision on The Daily Show. He said he would save such an important announcement for a “more prestigious show,” which turned out to be his own.

“I shall seek the office of the President of the United States,” Colbert declared. The words “I’m doing it!” flashed on the screen as Colbert was showered in red, white and blue balloons.

With so much humour surrounding the announcement, some question the legitimacy of his candidacy.

“I definitely think it’s a publicity stunt,” second-year kinesiology student Huissan Moslim said. “But I’d totally vote for him, just for the comedy of it " to see if he’d actually pull through.”

Fourth-year computer engineering student Andrew Schuessler had a different perspective. “I certainly wouldn’t vote for him " especially if his politics are the same as his character.

“I think that entertainers are entertainers for a reason.”

Information and media studies professor Tim Blackmore said Colbert’s appeal comes from his distance from the official political system. “[Colbert] can actually say what the electorate may be feeling, without the political repercussions.”

Blackmore said it is an interesting state of affairs when citizens choose to get political information from a comedy show.

“It’s honest political commentary " a chance for Colbert to call it like he sees it.”

Colbert said he plans to run in the South Carolina primaries, as both a Republican and a Democratic candidate, " presumably so he can “lose twice.”

When asked if it was possible for Colbert to run as a candidate in both parties, Don Abelson, chair of political science and American studies, said he wasn’t sure. At the very least, candidates require membership to the party they are running for, he said.

“What I do know, is [Colbert] would have to generate a ton of money " we’re talking millions and millions of dollars.”

Blackmore said funding would be easy for the Colbert campaign. “He can use his show and book [I Am America (And So Can You!)] as a money machine ... I wouldn’t be surprised if his publicist recommended it.”

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