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Why is Stephen Colbert's former super PAC attacking him?

Colbert goes negative on Colbert. Stephen Colbert's former super PAC has just released an ad that appears to bite the hand that used to feed it, asking, 'Why is the T in his name silent?'

By Staff writer / January 19, 2012

Stephen Colbert (c.) and Jon Stewart (r.) hold hands during The Colbert Report, as Trevor Potter looks on in New York. During the episode, Colbert legally transferred his super political action committee to Stewart, his friend and Comedy Central cohort. Dropping by from 'The Daily Show,' Stewart happily signed the documents and accepted the post, which was ceremonially observed by the two holding hands and bodily transferring the PAC powers.

Kristopher Long/Comedy Central/AP

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Why is Stephen Colbert’s former Super PAC attacking Stephen Colbert?

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Yes, we know that sounds contradictory, but that’s what appears to be going on. The “Definitely Not Coordinating with Stephen Colbert Super PAC,” now headed by Mr. Colbert’s friend and business partner Jon Stewart, has just released an ad that appears to bite the hand of the person who formally fed it.

You know, before Colbert decided to explore the possibility of running for president of South Carolina, and had to hand the group over to someone else.

The ad, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, starts out by saying, “America is in crisis, and Stephen Colbert is turning our election into a circus”. Then it goes all reverse negative, like it’s a political attack ad from the ‘90s.

“And come on, why is the ‘T’ in his name silent? What else is he silent about? Letting murderers out of jail?” continues Jackson, in his best danger-to-the-republic voice.

What’s going on here? We say the super PAC remains on message – it’s not attacking Colbert, it’s continuing to satirize the tissue-thin separation between candidates and the super PACs that support them.

See, it’s a reverse flip – the group is attacking Colbert in order to pretend to distract viewers from the fact that its staff used to work for him, still works for his exploratory committee, and generally is trying to help him.

Got it?

Maybe a quote will make this clearer. As Jackson says sneeringly of Colbert in the ad in question, “Now a super PAC that he founded is running attack ads against him just so they’ll think they’re not coordinating!”

The ad ends by urging South Carolina voters to send Colbert a message by voting for Herman Cain. See, that’s what Colbert really wants – he’s hijacked Cain’s name, which remains on the South Carolina ballot despite the fact that the former pizza executive has dropped out of the race. It’s too late for Colbert himself to get on the ballot, so he’s said that a vote for Mr. Cain is really a vote for him.

“A vote for Herman Cain would be a strong message to me that voters want me to run,” said Colbert on his Wednesday show.

The coordination thing is the legal loophole that Colbert is really targeting in his faux possible residential run. That’s why he showed up on Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show” on Tuesday when Stewart said he was nervous about what to do, and gave nods and winks as Stewart outlined where was thinking of buying air time for super PAC ads.

On a related note, Colbert’s fake candidacy appears to be sweeping through the Palmetto State with the force of a light drizzle. He appeared before a meeting of South Carolina moms via video conference, and they clearly were less than enthusiastic, with few applauding when asked if they wanted him to run.

A new Public Policy Polling survey gives him the highest national favorability ratings of anybody left in the GOP race, with 36 percent of voters having a positive view of the latish-night comedian. [Editor's note: The original version misstated the findings of the PPP poll.]

“Thirty-six percent, that’s more than half!” said Colbert on his Wednesday show.

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