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Stephen Colbert announced on Thursday night’s show that yessireebob, he is running for president! Again! That is to say, to bow to tradition, he’s exploring running for president, and spent basically the entire show minus the interview segment learning from his lawyer (and former Federal Election Commission chairman) Trevor Potter about the very uncomplicated exploratory process and how he might hand over control of his super PAC — which, by the way, is both the second and third results for “super pac” on Google — to someone else. That someone else being his close personal friend and “business partner” Jon Stewart. Ah, so that’s how both experienced ex-robbers and windbags from congressional obscurity get to be presidential candidates that people truly vote for and sometimes nurture into actual presidents.

Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow Super PAC, as it was known, will henceforth be called The Definitely Not Coordinating With Stephen Colbert Super PAC after Colbert handed over the fundraising machine to Stewart in an Incredible Hulk-like transfer of power. This was preceded by both Colbert and Stewart signing a one-page double-spaced document, which is apparently all it takes to start one of these things. The super PAC has been raising money since last summer. Colbert has declined to tell anyone how much. But suffice it to say it’s somewhere in the seven-figure range, because when Colbert wrote it down on a piece of paper, Stewart tried gleefully to lick the paper.

Some weird facts about all this! Colbert, who was also on the ballot in South Carolina in 2008, actually only said he’ll be running for “President of the United States of South Carolina,” his home state, and a place where a recent PPP poll shows him performing better than Jon Huntsman. ALSO, the former treasurer of the Colbert Super PAC, Salvatore Purpura, is now the treasurer for Rick Perry’s campaign (he jumped ship in August). Purpura also served in that capacity during George W. Bush’s reelection campaign and John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. AHHHHH, Stephen, you’re starting to scare us. But then that’s the idea.

Some of the super PAC money has gone to some pretty hilarious places — this ad urging people to vote for “Rick Parry” comes to mind — but it’s gone to some useful/educational/eye-opening places as well. From the New York Times Magazine’s recent profile of Colbert:

In October, Colbert offered the Republican Party in South Carolina $400,000 to defray the cost of the presidential primary there in January in return for naming rights — he wanted the ballots, the lanyards, the press credentials to say “The Stephen Colbert Super PAC South Carolina Primary” — and for a nonbinding referendum question that asked the voters to decide whether “corporations are people” or “only people are people.”

The only thing stopping Colbert in 2008 was lack of funds, and while there may already be a moneyed muffin doing a great job of attacking “the status quo” whilst making us laugh, it would be nice if the person attacking the status quo wasn’t also it itself. [Chicago Sun-Times]

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