Friday, January 13, 2012

Not Sure about Mitt: Vote Colbert in South Carolina

If you subscribe to emails from the Colbert Super PAC like I do or if you're just a frequent viewer of The Colbert Report or even someone who spends time on social networking sites, you'll by now know that Stephen Colbert has turned over the leadership of his Super PAC (Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow) to Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show.

Colbert is taking a step back from the Super PAC so that he can be considered as a candidate for president in the upcoming South Carolina primary on January 21st.

Here's Stephen's take on his electability in South Carolina and his popularity as a Mitt-ternative.

Since candidates are technically not allowed to coordinate with super PACs, it makes sense that Stephen Colbert can't remain as the director of Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow. Trevor Potter, Colbert's lawyer explained the prohibition on last night's show. Here's a clip of the discussion and Colbert's handing over the reins to Jon Stewart. It seems it doesn't even matter that Stewart and Colbert are business partners. That doesn't count as coordination. Really?

While Colbert's candidacy is meant as a joke, his Super PAC and involvement in the 2012 campaign has attracted a fair amount of media attention. Check out Brian Stelter's piece in today's New York Times for just one recent example. It's also important to note that the piece appeared alongside articles about more "serious" candidates running in the 2012 South Carolina GOP primary.

While there are in fact some obstacles to Stephen Colbert actually being a legitimate candidate in South Carolina, there is the possibility that he may attract a small but decent amount of voters and actually be seen by some as a potential alternative to the current pool of candidates.

All in all, the transfer of Super PAC leadership and the focus on attracting voters in South Carolina increases the profile and impact of Stephen Colbert and even Jon Stewart. This latest development brings attention yet again to campaign finance reform and the ability of Super PACs to influence elections given their ability to purchase television airtime for these non-coordinated ads.

Looks like it will be a fun week or so as we approach the South Carolina primary.

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