ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And on the eve of tomorrow's primary, the college of Charleston was the scene of a big political rally today. And the draw was not one of the candidates we've been hearing about. It was Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert.
NPR's Don Gonyea was there.
DON GONYEA, BYLINE: The crowd topped 3,000, nearly all students, in the outdoor square. And right on time, 1 PM, a marching band entered clearing a path for Stephen Colbert. On stage, a gospel choir, Colbert sang harmony.
(SOUNDBITE OF A MARCHING BAND)
STEPHEN COLBERT: (Singing) ...by the dawn's early light. What so...
GONYEA: Then Colbert introduced a special guest, former presidential hopeful Herman Cain.
HERMAN CAIN: As I said during one of the debates, America needs to learn how to lighten up.
GONYEA: For Colbert, this rally and having Cain there to add a surreal element is all a way to make a point about campaign finance laws. Tomorrow is the second anniversary of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision.
COLBERT: With the stroke of a gavel, these brave men leveled the playing field and then sold the naming rights to that playing field to Bank of America.
GONYEA: Last year, on this show, Colbert formed his own Super PAC. Now he's set up a presidential exploratory committee. Because of that, this month he turned control of the Super PAC over to Jon Stewart, Colbert's fellow Comedy Central star.
COLBERT: If that is a joke, then they are saying our entire campaign finance system is a joke. And I don't...
GONYEA: The college crowd loved it in this strange campaign year, where this fake rally was bigger than any I've covered for a real candidate.
Don Gonyea, NPR News, Charleston. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.