Who Should Stephen Colbert Choose as a Presidential Running Mate?

Ron Paul? Tina Fey? The Daily Beast kicks off the comedian’s running-mate speculation.

With the South Carolina primary days away, Stephen Colbert is pressing on with his mock presidential campaign. Having missed the deadline, Colbert—or his Super PAC—is trying to hijack Herman Cain’s name, urging South Carolinians to vote for the former candidate as a way of supporting Colbert. On Monday, the Comedy Central host addressed a Café Moms town hall meeting in Myrtle Beach by video, imploring attendees to support corporate personhood and asking them how they felt about his potential bid. (They supported corporate personhood; they weren’t thrilled about the prospect of a Colbert campaign.)

Colbert’s continued teasing of a presidential bid raises an inevitable question. George Stephanopoulos broached it this Sunday: whom would Colbert pick as a running mate? The comedian went with the obvious choice: himself. But when Stephanopoulos pointed out that his running mate couldn’t be from the same state, Colbert begged off, saying he was still in the exploratory phase. “I’m a one man Lewis and Clark, and I’m just looking for my Sacagawea.”

As a prospective candidate, Colbert would be remiss if he picked a running mate so soon. And politics junkies would be remiss if they didn’t speculate about whom he should choose. The Daily Beast team weighed the pros and cons of some potential vice presidents.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

Herman Cain

Having only “suspended” his presidential bid, Herman Cain still has the chance to reanimate his campaign and bring some levity to the GOP field. He has a couple things going for him, the most important of which is that he’s actually on the South Carolina ballot. Colbert’s super PAC took advantage of this fact earlier this week by running ads urging South Carolinians to vote for Cain as Colbert’s surrogate. The former pizza magnate seems to be at least somewhat game for Colbert’s mischief making. He says he finds the whole thing “very clever and humorous” and that anyone who’s offended “should simply lighten up.” The two are scheduled to record a segment in South Carolina on Friday. Cain, however, quashed any hope of his adopting Colbert’s name for a Cain-Colbert ticket.

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Ron Paul

Ron Paul could be the perfect straight man for Colbert. A repeat guest on The Colbert Report, Paul has already bonded with Colbert over ending the Federal Reserve. When Paul criticized the Fed’s printing of money, Colbert went a step further, saying we should do away with paper currency altogether and adopt a system of beaded necklaces. The problem: Paul is somewhat redundant for Colbert. Both are popular with young voters and independents.

Jason Kempin

Tina Fey

Fey has leadership experience (Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock) and debate experience (albeit while impersonating Sarah Palin). Plus, Fey could bring female voters to Colbert, whose viewership skews male. Judah Friedlander, at least, thinks she’d make a great head of state. “People really look up to Tina. She is super smart and will be successful at whatever she does,” he says. “I think if she ran [for office], she’d do well.”

Jeffrey Ufberg, WireImage / Getty Images

Bill O'Reilly

A ticket with Colbert and his persona’s inspiration would be as belligerent as it would be mind-bending. Between the two, they’d share a massive audience, with Colbert taking the young and left-leaning and O’Reilly taking the older and further right. One potential problem, as Colbert pointed out in 2007: “I know Papa Bear watches, but I’m not sure whether he would take the vice presidential position. It’s not his M.O.”

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Miss Piggy

The Muppets are very of the moment, and Miss Piggy has the feisty, rough-and-tumble demeanor candidates look for in a running mate. Between her penchant for speaking French and Colbert’s soft T, the ticket would be open to Francophobic attacks, but anything about putting lipstick on a pig would be out of bounds.

Sarah L. Voisin, The Washington Post / Getty Images

Buddy Roemer

The former Louisiana governor already owes his biggest publicity boost to Colbert, whose PAC featured him in one of its early ads mocking Citizens United and campaign finance regulations. Roemer and Colbert are both on-message, though they’ve taken opposite approaches to getting it out. Roemer, refusing donations of more than $100, has failed to break 2 percent in the polls and has been reduced to tweeting his responses to Republican debates he isn’t allowed to attend. Colbert, ironically embracing Super PACs, has raised thousands of dollars and taken out ads in key primary states. Together they could form a single-issue protest ticket.

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Toby Keith

A frequent guest of the show, Keith would be an easy way for Colbert to get some blue-collar appeal. Though neither can claim any military experience, both have an extensive record of performing for U.S. troops. As Keith and Colbert’s duet of “The Star Spangled Banner” last year shows, the ticket would be a great one for patriotic pageantry.

Ron Phillips / Warner Bros.

Bat Man

A Colbert-Batman team would be blue-blooded and strong on law and order, a perfect pairing for 1 percenters nervous about class warfare. Plus, Batman’s popularity will be surging this fall, with the release of third Dark Knight movie, at the same time he’ll be left with lots of free time. The two can collaborate on anti-Bane Bain attacks, and Colbert’s Twitter avatar already has a Robin-like mask.