Colbert officially withdraws Presidential bid; Obama supporters pressured South Carolina

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Stephen Colbert: “I want say to my supporters, this is not over. While I may accept the decision of the council, the fight goes on! The dream endures!”
photo: David Shankbone

Two prominent South Carolina supporters of Barack Obama pressured the state Democratic council to keep Stephen Colbert off the primary ballot. The Council voted 13-3 last week against Colbert's placement on the ballot.

According to an anonymous member of the council who felt pressured, one of those people was State Superintendent of Education Inez Tenenbaum, who admitted she had made the calls. "I think lobbying was too strong a word," she said in an interview with CNN. "I called them to see what they were thinking, and if they had made up their mind. I am a volunteer in that campaign, and so I am not a staffer. And I thought it could have taken votes away from a lot of people."

Another Obama supporter, state Representative Bakari Sellers, also admitted to making the calls. "I placed the calls as a concerned Democrat, realizing that we are a country in despair," Sellers told CNN. "It is not a time for games or to make a mockery of the process."

Yesterday Colbert officially withdrew from the race. “I am shocked and saddened by the South Carolina Democratic Executive Council’s 13-to-3 vote to keep me off their presidential primary ballot,” he said in the statement. “Although I lost by the slimmest margin in presidential election history — only 10 votes — I have chosen not to put the country through another agonizing Supreme Court battle. It is time for this nation to heal.”

According to Tenenbaum, the reason she did not want Colbert on the ballot was financial and not political. For every name the Democrats put on the ballot in South Carolina, they have to pay US$20,000 to the state election commission.

The Obama campaign denied any connection to the phone calls.

In related news, at a book signing at Borders Book Store in New York City last night, a protester posing as a member of the press disrupted the event, demanding Colbert make statements about 7 World Trade Center. Despite preliminary findings by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Institute of Standards and Technology that fire caused them, some conspiracy theorists believe the dramatic building collapses on September 11, including that of building seven, were the result of controlled demolition. NIST has "found no evidence of a blast or controlled demolition event", though in its final report on building 7, they would "like to determine the magnitude of hypothetical blast scenarios that could have led to the structural failure of one or more critical elements."

"What about World Trade Center Number 7, Stephen?" shouted the protester. "What are you going to say about that? Why don't you give us a witty remark and make a joke about it? Keep smirking, Stephen!" The protester was removed by the book store's security.

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