Pundit, Comedian Officially Declares Presidential Bid

This story was written by Ryan McAskill, Massachusetts Daily Collegian
For the last couple years it was not uncommon to see a Colbert/Stewart '08 bumper sticker on the side of a mini-fridge. The sticker would usually get a good laugh and raise fun political conversation. As it turns out, those bumper stickers may not be so far off.

On Tuesday night, the political landscape was shaken up. It all began on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Stewart opened the show by saying they had a major political announcement involving presidential candidates. Following a quick piece about the current presidential candidates, he brought out Stephen Colbert to make the major announcement.

Colbert made his entrance on a carriage pulled by Uncle Sam on a bicycle and immediately pulled a bail of hay and a beer out to show that he was an "average Joe."

Stewart opened by reading a cue card prepared by Colbert which ended, "The people cry out for a hero. Are you planning a run for president of the United States?"

Colbert responded, "Tonight, I, Stephen Colbert, am officially announcing that I have decided to officially consider whether or not I will announce that I am running for the president of the United States. I will be making an announcement of that decision very soon, preferably on a more prestigious show."

That announcement left Colbert Nation wanting more, and he would not make them wait long.

Following The Daily Show, Colbert started his show, The Colbert Report, by making yet another announcement. "After nearly 15 minutes of soul searching, I have heard the call," he said. "Nation, I will seek the office of the President of the United States. I am doing it!"

With red, white and blue balloons falling from the sky, Colbert stood and soaked in the applause.

He went on to add that his candidacy would be in "one state and one state alone" -- South Carolina.

"I am from South Carolina, I am for South Carolina and I defy any other candidate to pander more to the people of South Carolina -- those beautiful, beautiful people."

As "South Carolina's favorite son," Colbert will be running as both a Republican and a Democrat and announced three possibilities for running-mate: Colbert-Huckabee, Colbert-Putin or Colbert-Colbert, noting that Colbert-Colbert was "a strong ticket."He then brought out CBS political analysis Jeff Greenfield to help him with his campaign strategy. Greenfield pointed out, "This is one for the books."

The news of Colbert entering the presidential race has been gaining steam for over a week. While members of "Colbert Nation" have been pandering for the political pundit to throw his hat in the ring, nothing -- other then bumper stickers and tee-shirts -- had appeared.

With the release of his new book "I Am America (And So Can You!)," Colbert hit the promotional circuit and the prudential flames were fanned. Publishing a book to test the political waters before announcing is a long-running tradition among politicians. Democratic presidential candidates Barak Obama and John Edwards did the same before announcing this year.

During numerous interviews, including Larry King Live, Colbert was asked if he was considering a run for president, to which he always replied that he wasn't ready to announce.

Last Sunday, as a guest columnist for New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, Colbert wrote, "While my hat is not presently in the ring, I should also point out that it is not on my head. So where's that hat?

"Nevertheless, I am not ready to announce yet -- even though it's clear that the voters are desperate for a white, male, middle-aged, Jesus-trumpeting alternative. What do I offer? Hope for the common man. Because I am not the Anointed or the Inevitable. I am just an Average Joe like yu - if you have a TV show," he wrote.

It remains to be seen what the reaction to Colbert entering the race will be. His presence on the South Carolina ballot will cause some changes. Any debate in South Carolina will be compelled to have him, and Comedy Central may need to block his show in the state due to the equal-time rule.

Looks like the South Carolina primary in January just got a lot more interesting.

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© 2007 Massachusetts Daily Collegian via U-WIRE
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