The South Carolina Republican Party briefly considered selling the naming rights to its 2012 primary to Stephen Colbert – and his satire-laced super PAC. Yahoo News reports that the state GOP apparently took seriously the Comedy Central funnyman’s offer of “a sizable donation” to add a question seeming to make fun of one of the front-runners in the Jan. 21 contest.
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Colbert, a South Carolina native, made the audacious bid to rename the contest “The Colbert Nation Super PAC Presidential Primary.” He also wanted to ask state voters if they believe “corporations are people” or whether “only people are people.” The question clearly mocks Mitt Romney, who controversially claimed “corporations are people” in Iowa last year.
Although that move proved futile when the state Supreme Court blocked referendums from appearing on the ticket, the question still showed on a sample ballot released by the state Election Commission last week. Meanwhile, local Republican leaders eventually rejected the naming application, but not before details of the whole sorry saga leaked out – to the dismay of party strategists. “I’m honestly speechless,” a top GOP state lawmaker told Yahoo News. “What were they thinking?”
Matt Moore, the party’s executive director, tried to play down the sample ballot mishap. “We weren’t trying to embarrass Mitt Romney,” he told Yahoo News. “It was a question proposed by Stephen Colbert, who was a potential donor to the party, and it didn’t work out. It won’t appear on the ballot.”
But the question may yet see the light of polling day – but on South Carolina Democrats’ presidential ballots. A statement on Colbert’s super PAC website said he is negotiating with the party for its inclusion. “Trust me, this was a measure of last resort,” he said.