NEW YORK -- Stephen Colbert announced on "The Colbert Report" that he is exploring a presidential run in South Carolina, and made it legal by handing control of his super PAC to Jon Stewart in the opening segment of Thursday night's show.

"I am proud to announce that I am forming an exploratory committee to lay the groundwork for my possible candidacy for president of the United States of America of South Carolina," Colbert said during the show, several hours before airtime on Comedy Central.

"This is a difficult decision. I've talked it over with my money. I've talked it over with my spiritual adviser."

Colbert's super PAC is Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow. His 501(c)4 is the Colbert Super PAC SHH [as in "shh"] Institute.

The stunt was part of Colbert's continuing effort to expose what he considers abusurdities in U.S. election law.

Colbert grew up in Charleston.