Stephen Colbert's latest attempt at campaign mischief-making involves encouraging Iowans to write in a false name during the weekend's presidential straw poll, but one television station in Des Moines isn't playing along.
Colbert, who formed a "super PAC" this year and won approval from the Federal Election Commission to begin taking contributions, is encouraging Iowans to vote for "Rick Parry" during Saturday's test vote for Republican presidential candidates.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, with an "e," signaled his intention to join the GOP presidential scrum on Thursday but is not on the straw poll ballot. Voters are able to write in candidates, however.
The comic, who portrays a mock political talk host on his Comedy Central show, produced two television commercials through his PAC, laden with images of corn and farms, asking for the "Parry" vote. "That's 'Parry' with an 'a' for America, an 'a' for Iowa," one ad says.
On his show Thursday, he encouraged the misspelled vote "because there's no 'e' in 'team."'
Colbert bought commercial time to run his ads on the NBC and CBS affiliates in Des Moines. But the ABC affiliate, WOI-DT, rejected the ads. In an email sent to Colbert, the station said the ads would confuse voters.
"The Midwestern media elite are trying to silence us," Colbert said. "They don't want your voice to be heard, folks. The fat cats in Des Moines think they can sit in their ivory corn silos and play puppet-master with our national politics."
The station's vice president and general manager did not immediately return phone and email messages Friday.
Lawyers at KCCI-TV, Des Moines' CBS affiliate, looked the ads over and had no problems with them, said Paul Fredricksen, the vice president and general manager. There's been little reaction, he said. Dale Woods, general manager at the NBC affiliate WHO-TV, said he'd received no phone calls about the ads.
"In summary, it's really something we haven't seen before," Fredricksen said.
Watch the ad below:
Colbert, who is name-checking contributors to his PAC on his website, said that it is "165,000 strong."
Colbert tried to run as a Democrat during the 2008 primary in his native South Carolina, but party officials kept him off the ballot.