By: Jake Coyle
NEW YORK (AP) — Stephen Colbert announced his candidacy for president on "The Colbert Report" on Tuesday night, tossing his satirical hat into the ring of an already crowded race.
"I shall seek the office of the President of the United States," announced Colbert on his Comedy Central show, as balloons fell around him.
Colbert had recently satirized the coyness of would-be presidential candidates by refusing to disclose whether he would seek the country's highest office — a refusal that often came without any prompting.
His recent best-seller, "I Am American (And So Can You!)" afforded him the opportunity to mock the now-standard approach to a White House run, complete with a high-profile book tour.
The Comedy Central host has often mobilized his fans ("Colbert Nation"), encouraging them to vote to have a Hungarian bridge named after him, for example, or to vandalize Wikipedia.com with his version of "truthiness" and "wikiality."
How far the mock conservative pundit planned to stretch his impression of a presidential candidate wasn't clear. Colbert rarely breaks character on camera, including at his memorable speech at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner last year.
Colbert planned to get his name on the primary ballot in South Carolina, where the comedian is originally from. Earlier this week, South Carolina public television station ETV invited Colbert to announce his candidacy on its air.
When recently asked what party affiliation he would adopt if he tossed his hat in the ring, Colbert replied: "Both. I can lose twice."
In a guest column for Maureen Dowd in Sunday's New York Times, Colbert wrote: "I am not ready to announce yet — even though it's clear that the voters are desperate for a white, male, middle-aged, Jesus-trumpeting alternative."
Pretty crazy huh? Let's hope he does better than the movie did.