The Daily Gamecock

Colbert, Cain rally supporters in Charleston

Comedian encourages students to vote for former candidate

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Charleston was the capital of Colbert Nation Friday afternoon as thousands of fans flocked to the Cistern Yard at the College of Charleston for comedian Stephen Colbert's "Rock Me Like a Herman Cain: South Cain-olina Primary Rally." 

The rally came at the heels of a weeklong string of announcements by the Charleston native, who had speculated on a run for the "President of the United States of South Carolina" after polling at 5 percent among South Carolina voters. Because Colbert missed the Nov. 1 deadline to be listed on the ballot, he urged voters to support him indirectly through Herman Cain who, despite having dropped out of the race, was still listed on the ballot.

"I want you to vote for Herman Cain, because Herman Cain is me," Colbert told the crowd.

As the 1 p.m. event was ushered in by chants of "U.S.A." and a man in an American flag jumpsuit pumping up the crowd, Colbert and Cain emerged to thunderous cheers, parading through the crowd with cheerleaders and the Coastal Carolina band. Colbert then got a chance at the stage to show off his vocal abilities, joining a gospel choir in "This Little Light of Mine" and the national anthem, before speaking to the crowd.

Holding a sign, which read, "There Cain only be one," Nicholas Fabian, a second-year student at the College of Charleston likened Colbert to a modern Voltaire.

"[Colbert] is a really great satirist ... I am more conservative, but I don't agree with the Supreme Court decision they talked about ... I think we've seen the effects of [political action committees] being harmful on the election," Fabian said.

Through Colbert's famously sarcastic humor, he highlighted the problems of the recent Supreme Court issue of Citizens United, which extends the First Amendment rights of individual citizens to corporations and allows for unlimited funds to be raised for candidates through political action committees known as super PACs.

Dylan Vories, a third-year student at the College of Charleston said she was more impressed with Herman Cain than she thought she would be.

"America is run by stupid people. That was the truest thing I've heard in a long time," Vories said, referencing a comment that Cain had made in his address.

Cain, after his turn with humor, turned serious and rallied the crowd to the movement he is calling the "New Revolution".

"We have got to change Washington from the outside and it starts with you and every other college campus in America," Cain said.

Cain also made a challenge for all young students to stay informed, stay involved and stay inspired in order to change America.

"I felt that was the greatest rally I've ever been to," said Caroline Simmel, a first-year student at the College of Charleston. Though Simmel missed the deadline for voter registration, she said she would definitely have voted for Cain in the primary.

"When I started [the Colbert super PAC] I promised that you would be a player in this election. I promised to make your voice heard in the form of my voice. Well nation, I have to ask — can you hear you now?" Colbert said.