“I’m proud to announce I plan to form an exploratory committee to lay the groundwork for my candidacy in the United States of South Carolina,” Colbert said during a Thursday night taping of his show, according to The Huff Post.
Colbert proclaimed, “With your help and with possibly the help of some outside group that I am not coordinating with, we can explore taking this country back … Thank you, God bless you, and God bless Citizens United.”
Stephen Colbert has even transferred control of his super PAC to fellow Comedy Central host Jon Stewart, making it legal for him to explore a presidential run.
Riffing off his claimed dissatisfaction with the Republican front-runner, Mitt Romney, Mr. Colbert suggested to his fans on Wednesday that he should hop in the race, The New York Times reports.
“My heart always leads me to me!” he exclaimed. “And I am so not Mitt!” He said he would “go home, sit down and talk it over with my money” before announcing a decision on Thursday.
“This is a difficult decision. I’ve talked it over with my money. I’ve talked it over with my spiritual adviser,” Colbert said.
There has been speculation about a potential Colbert presidential run in recent days after a poll showed the satirist leading Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman in South Carolina.
Colbert said his placement in the polls — “ahead of the third place finisher in New Hampshire” — meant a potential Colbert 2012 effort “just got real.”
On his program Wednesday night, Mr. Colbert cited a recent poll by Public Policy Polling that showed 5 percent support for him in South Carolina, slightly ahead of Jon Huntsman Jr., who was shown to have 4 percent support.
Given the margin of error, the two men were essentially tied — but for Mr. Colbert, it might be enough for more than a week’s worth of comedic material.
A silly or serious bid by Mr. Colbert would almost certainly create some media excitement in the days leading up to the South Carolina primary on Jan. 21, but probably less electoral excitement. He’d be a write-in candidate, after all, since he missed the filing deadline to be on the ballot in the state.
“Clearly my fellow South Caroliniacs see me as the only Mitternative,” Colbert said.
During his Jan. 11 show, he asked fans if he should consider a presidential run and promised a big announcement the next day.
The comedian acknowledged that a presidential bid would be a longshot, noting that the major Republican candidates have long been working toward their campaign goals.
“These guys have been running for a year now,” Colbert said. “How can I ever compete with an established candidate like Jon Huntsman?”
The stunt was part of Colbert’s continuing effort to expose what he considers absurdities in U.S. election law, says Politico.