Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 3, 2014

Would Colbert Pull Plug on ‘Report’?

In the unlikely event satirical pundit Stephen Colbert is appointed the new senator from South Carolina, he’ll be faced with the greatest decision of his lifetime: whether he is willing to give up his highly acclaimed TV show.

Colbert — whose self-centered conservative commentator schtick on his nightly Comedy Central show, “The Colbert Report,” has captured the hearts of many — has expressed interest in taking over the seat being vacated by Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, who is resigning from Congress to head up The Heritage Foundation.

According to Senate ethics rules, Colbert could not be compensated for his television hosting gig as well as serve in the Senate, quite a conundrum for the commentator.

Even if an exception was made for Colbert to continue his show, balancing the duties of a nightly television news program and the demands of being a senator — including late-night votes, district work periods and rigorous fundraising duties — would be virtually impossible. Just look at the unpredictability of this month’s lame duck/fiscal cliff evasion session.

Colbert’s spokeswoman did not return a request for comment on whether Colbert had thought about this inevitable choice before announcing his desire to be appointed by GOP Gov. Nikki R. Haley to the vacant seat.

Haley has said Colbert has little chance of being appointed to the seat, but that hasn’t stopped the public from expressing their enthusiasm at even the slightest possibility.

A Public Policy Polling survey released Monday found 20 percent of South Carolina voters hold Colbert as their top choice to take over for DeMint. South Carolina Republican Rep. Tim Scott took the No. 2 spot in the poll, with 15 percent of voters saying he is their top choice for the vacancy.

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