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Colbert responding to poll result on Wednesday Screengrab via YouTube.
US 2012

American TV satirist Stephen Colbert considers presidential bid

A poll in South Carolina puts Colbert ahead of one of the actual Republican nominees and on his nightly satirical news show he has fuelled speculation of a White House bid.

AN AMERICAN COMEDIAN is considering a presidential bid as one poll showed him performing better in the next primary state of South Carolina than one of the actual candidates.

Stephen Colbert, host of the nightly satirical news show The Colbert Report, used his programme last night to transfer control of his political fundraising organisation to fellow comedian Jon Stewart, a move which could theoretically pave the way for a run in South Carolina.

“I am proud to announce that I am forming an exploratory committee to lay the groundwork for my possible candidacy for president of the United States of America of South Carolina,” he said on the programme.

This has fuelled rumours that he is actually going to run in a state where one poll shows him performing better than former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman who came third in the last primary vote in New Hampshire.

The New York Times notes that Colbert has lampooned the new laws on campaign finance in the United States that allow fundraising organisations, known as political action committees (PACs), to raise millions of dollars on behalf of candidates while not being directly affiliated to them.

The law, brought about by a Supreme Court ruling in 2010, has had a big impact on the Republican nomination race with attack ads funded by a PAC affiliated to frontrunner Mitt Romney widely viewed as having damaged former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s hopes of winning the Iowa caucus in which he came fourth.

Critics note that while in theory the law means candidates should not be affiliated to PACs, in practice many of those serving on the committees have close relationships with the candidates.

On his programme last night, Colbert transferred control of his PAC – ‘Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow’ – to Stewart and its website now notes that it can be referred to as ‘The Definitely Not Coordinating With Stephen Colbert Super PAC’.

The Guardian notes that Colbert ran for the presidency in 2008 but his attempts to officially enter the race were blocked – on the Republican side by the size of the fee needed to officially declare and by Democratic authorities in the state.

Reading out the aforementioned poll numbers on his programme on Wednesday night, Colbert remarked: “This just got real.”

Mitt Romney claims comfortable victory in New Hampshire primary

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