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Stephen Colbert leaves idea to take part in presidential race

Comedian Stephen Colbert rejected his bid for the White House.

His announcement came after the South Carolina Democratic Executive Council voted last week to keep the host of "The Colbert Report" off the state's primary ballot. The vote was 13-3.

Colbert poses as a conservative talk-show host on the Comedy Central show.

"Although I lost by the slimmest margin in presidential election history - only 10 votes - I have chosen not to put the country through another agonizing Supreme Court battle," Colbert said Monday in a statement. "It is time for this nation to heal."

Colbert had said he would run only in his native South Carolina, a key primary state. He said he planned to run as a Democrat and a Republican - so he could lose twice. Colbert, 43, later declined to file with the Republican Party, which has a much higher filing fee ($35,000; 24,158 EUR) than the Democrats ($2,500; 1,725 EUR).

"I want to say to my supporters, this is not over," Colbert said. "While I may accept the decision of the Council, the fight goes on! The dream endures! ... And I am going off the air until I can talk about this without weeping."

In reality, "The Colbert Report" was going off the air because of a strike by Hollywood writers that began Monday. Many talk shows were expected to be shown in repeats during the strike.

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