Obama's Colbert Scare

A campaign blog.
Nov. 6 2007 11:04 AM

Obama's Colbert Scare

Party Pooper of the Day award goes to Inez Tenenbaum and Rep. Bakari Sellers, two Obama supporters in South Carolina who phoned the state’s Democratic Party to oppose Stephen Colbert’s inclusion on the ballot. It shows how secretly nervous Democrats were, even as they pretended to laugh along with Colbert. Just look at the Obama campaign’s statement to Politico ’s Mike Allen today: "We will always respect Colbert's willingness to speak truthiness to power." But, the statement doesn’t say: We also have an election to win.

The campaign denied any connection to the phone calls. But there was no way that Obama, whose campaign is focusing heavily on getting young people to the polls, would let a joke candidacy—even a funny one—get between him and the nomination. And it’s not like pressure from Tenenbaum and Sellers sealed the deal, either. The state party’s executive council voted 13-3 against putting Colbert on the ballot. He never had a chance. But I would have loved to see this story drag out, if only to watch the campaigns play along in public while frantically trying to sabotage it behind closed doors.

Christopher Beam is a writer living in Beijing.

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