Stephen Colbert Claims He Scared Jon Huntsman Out of Presidential Race

Stephen Colbert Jon Huntsman Split - H 2012
Comedy Central/Getty Images

Stephen Colbert Jon Huntsman Split - H 2012

The Comedy Central talk-show host says his mere contemplation of entering the race prompted the former Utah governor to drop his bid.

Everyone knew comedian Stephen Colbert's candidacy would be the "X" factor in the Republican primary, and now he is claiming he drove former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman to abandon his candidacy.

One poll taken recently showed Huntsman, in fact, was running behind Colbert in South Carolina, even though the comedian's name isn't on the ballot. The poll prompted Colbert to form a committee exploring a possible run for "president of the United States of South Carolina." On Monday, Huntsman announced that he was dropping out the race and throwing his support behind Mitt Romney.

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“Folks, do you see what’s happened here? The mere possibility that I might run for president blew Jon Huntsman all the way back to the Lands’ End catalog he came from!” Colbert told his audience Monday night. “Again, that’s just from me exploring the idea of running. Can you imagine what it would do to the field if I, Stephen T. Colbert, looked into the camera right now and officially announced?”

He teased: "But I'm not."

While Colbert was trumpeting his prospects, it was unclear what influence Jon Stewart's decision to take over direction of Colbert's super PAC, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow. The PAC has already released two ads since Stewart took over -- an anti-Romney spot that portrays the candidate as a "serial killer" and a second ad that urges Republicans to "vote Herman Cain."

The question now is how many of the remaining candidates are willing to face Stewart's super PAC wrath, along with Colbert's ongoing campaign antics.