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Comic Colbert has GOP playing role of straight man

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Comedian Stephen Colbert is using a fake presidential campaign to make a real point about the power of money and influence in politics.

Mr. Colbert, the host of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” and a faux conservative pundit, announced last week he’s forming an “exploratory committee” for the Republican nomination.

It’s far too late to get on the ballot for South Carolina’s Jan. 21 primary, and GOP leaders have dismissed his bid as little more than a high-profile stunt, but for Mr. Colbert, that’s just more proof that the American political system has closed itself off from new ideas.

“I thought the Republicans would be more welcoming than the Democrats, but it turns out that, in America, it’s not how many people you have behind you, it’s who you know,” he said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

“If the Republicans will not even allow a write-in candidate in South Carolina, that doesn’t sound like freedom to me.”

He also tweaked the Republican field, especially former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the front-runner, who has declared that “corporations are people” in a reference to a 2010 Supreme Court decision that said corporations can spend unlimited amounts of money on presidential campaigns.

Mr. Colbert has taken that notion to the extreme and now draws little distinction between corporations and individual Americans.

“There are $11.2 million in super PAC ads in South Carolina … that just means there’s more speech than there was before,” he said.

He’s turned his own political action committee over to fellow Comedy Central star Jon Stewart, host of “The Daily Show.” The super PAC, now dubbed “The Definitely Not Coordinating with Stephen Colbert Super PAC,” released an ad last week painting Mr. Romney as a possible serial killer and christening him “Mitt the Ripper.”

Mr. Colbert has denied responsibility for the video but said Mr. Romney should still address its allegations.

“I don’t know if Mitt Romney is a serial killer. That’s a question he’s going to have to answer,” Mr. Colbert said.

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About the Author
Ben Wolfgang

Ben Wolfgang

Ben Wolfgang covers the White House for The Washington Times.

Before joining the Times in March 2011, Ben spent four years as a political reporter at the Republican-Herald in Pottsville, Pa.

He can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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