South Carolina Puts the Joke on Colbert Comedian Stephen Colbert, author of I Am America (and So Can You!) had positioned himself as late entrant in the Democratic presidential field. Last night on his show, the South Carolina state party called with other news.
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South Carolina Puts the Joke on Colbert

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South Carolina Puts the Joke on Colbert

South Carolina Puts the Joke on Colbert

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LUKE BURBANK, host:

The fabled Colbert '08 run comes to an end. The South Carolina Democratic Party will not allow the comedian on the ballot in their party's primary, effectively bringing his throe presidential campaign to a screeching halt. Colbert got the news on last night's show via a phone call from state party chairwoman Carol Fowler.

(Soundbite of TV show, "The Colbert Show")

Mr. STEPHEN COLBERT (Host): How did I do, Carol?

Ms. CAROL FOWLER (Chairwoman, Democratic Party, South Carolina): Well, you know, I'm sorry. I'm afraid that you didn't make the cut. You won't be on our ballot.

Unidentified Audience: Ohh(ph).

Mr. COLBERT: Did - why? Did they not think my candidacy was real enough?

Ms. FOWLER: Well, I think they thought maybe that you're not quite ready to be president.

MARTIN: So at first Colbert tried to stay positive.

(Soundbite of TV show, "The Colbert Show")

Mr. COLBERT: Listen, they did what they think is best for South Carolina. And, you know what, just making it this far is reason to celebrate, too, so Jimmy, go ahead and drop the bombs.

BURBANK: Unfortunately, things kind of took an ugly turn right after that.

(Soundbite of TV show, "The Colbert Show")

Mr. COLBERT: Fine. It's your loss Democrats. I had a lot of great ideas. Do you see this? It's my exit strategy for Iraq.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. COLBERT: Foolproof. You know what? Burn it.

MARTIN: Colbert will get his $2,500 application fee back. But, you know, beyond the satire of the whole electoral system, we actually did learn some interesting things about what it takes to get on the ballot just by watching Colbert go through this process.

BURBANK: Yeah. First, in South Carolina, Republicans they charge $35,000 to get on the ballot; the Democrats charge twenty-five hundred, which is why Colbert said he tried to run as a Democrat. The lesson learned, don't cheap out.

MARTIN: Yeah. But you have to do more than just pay this fee and fill out some forms apparently. You actually have to be actively campaigning in the state and at least in South Carolina, you have to be generally acknowledged by the press as a viable candidate, which we all found rather surprising. And, you know, you could argue that a lot of the media treats these second-tier candidates, who are on the stage in these debates, as not viable anyway. So it's a little bit gray and subjective.

BURBANK: Mm-hmm. More bad news, by the way, for Stephen Colbert, along with not being able to run for president. The writers of his show, "The Colbert Report," are going to possibly go on strike as our writers across the nation. The Writers Guild of America has voted to strike for the first time in nearly 20 years.

MARTIN: The strike is apparently expected to spark - to start Sunday or Monday, although union leaders left open the chance of an agreement before then if the producers show movement in negotiations.

BURBANK: And that is today's BPP big story.

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