Stephen Colbert and Herman Cain stump in South Carolina


Former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain speaks at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, on January 19, 2012 in Charleston, South Carolina. Herman Cain has said he will participate in a rally in South Carolina with comedian Stephen Colbert.


Mark Wilson

WASHINGTON — Stephen Colbert and Herman Cain hosted a rally today at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, just a day before that state heads to vote in Saturday's primary.

Standing in front of a banner emblazoned with the words “Vote Cain” and photos of both men, Colbert asked South Carolinians to cast their ballots for former presidential candidate Herman Cain. “Mr. Colbert could not get on the ballot, I could not get off the ballot. That’s how this thing came about,” said Cain.

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Mr. Colbert’s entrance into the race is in name only. He is not on the ballot in South Carolina, but a Super PAC he founded has been spending money on advertising in the state, alternately advocating for and against Stephen Colbert. A recent ad attacked Colbert and told voters to vote for Herman Cain.

Many suspect that Colbert has been using his face time to ridicule the controversial Supreme Court decision known as “Citizens United,” which said that corporations are people and as such have a right to unlimited spending for political speech. Colbert symbolically transferred his own Super PAC to comedian Jon Stewart to illustrate the legal ease with which a candidate can circumvent campaign finance law. Both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, the front-runners in South Carolina, have campaign-aligned Super PACs that are spending heavily. “Can I get another corporations are people?” Colbert asked the crowd. “If corporations are people then I’m a people person,” he quipped.

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Cain said his participation in the Colbert farce was because of his longstanding conviction that America needs to “lighten up,” but he used his speaking time to continue his calls for average Americans to push back against the current political system. “It’s not going to change from the inside, you’ve got to change it from the outside,” he said, to applause. “Stupid people are ruining America!” he continued.

Mr. Cain finished his speech with a quote from a Pokémon movie and a song.

“All I can add ... is “gotta catch ‘em all,” said Colbert.