Coulter tells conservatives, 'I was going to have a few comments about John Edwards but you have to go into rehab if you use the word faggot'
(Update at bottom: Edwards campaign: 'Shame on you, Ann Coulter;' Dean, Human Rights Campaign call on 2008 GOP candidates to condemn Coulter's remarks)
Controversial columnist Ann Coulter had some sharp words to say about several Democratic presidential candidates and contenders during a speech at the 34th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Coulter mocked former Vice President Al Gore for appearing to gain weight during his lay-off from politics and referred to Senator Barack Obama as "B. Hussein," but her harshest words were reserved for former Senator John Edwards, whom she implied could be gay.
"When I look for moral guidance I look to Hollywood," Coulter facetiously told her conservative audience in the Omni Shoreham Hotel's Regency Ballroom in Washington DC on Friday.
"What's Al Gore up to these days?" Coulter rhetorically asked, before answering, "Four hundred pounds."
Coulter asked, "Did Al Gore actually swallow Michael Moore?"
"Obama is half-white and half-black," Coulter said, before comparing the Illinois senator to former President Bill Clinton. "Clinton was half-white, half-trash."
Before concluding her speech in order to take questions from audience members, Coulter took a final shot at Edwards.
"I was going to have a few comments about John Edwards but you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot,'" Coulter said.
This wouldn't mark the first time that Coulter has "gay-baited" a Democrat. Coulter used the "other f-word" in a joking reference to Gore in a television interview last June, and on various occasions has claimed that Bill Clinton could be a "latent homosexual."
"I think that sort of rampant promiscuity does show some level of latent homosexuality," Coulter said of Clinton on The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch on CNBC. (Crooks and Liars has video of the CNBC comments.)
During a Hardball interview with Chris Matthews, Coulter also said of Clinton, "I don’t know if he’s gay. But Al Gore — total fag."
Last month, RAW STORY reported that, while discussing politicians and celebrities who "run to rehab in times of crisis" on Fox News Channel, Coulter mocked the idea that someone should have to be "rehabilitated" for using a word that is considerd a slur against gays (link).
"You use the word 'faggot' and you're going into rehab?" Coulter asked incredulously on Fox's Live Desk A-List.
The best selling Godless author was referring to Grey's Anatomy star, Isaiah Washington, who used the word twice in reference to co-star T.R. Knight. Knight later publicly came out when word broke out about the on-set scuffle the two actors had.
Washington faced a lot of criticism from gay activists, the press, and even his fellow castmembers, and he checked into a treatment center to address his "issues."
Video clip of Coulter at CPAC:
Edwards campaign: Shame on you, Ann Coulter
Coulter's use of the "other f-word" was blasted late Friday night by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), DNC chairman Howard Dean, and the Edwards campaign.
At Americablog, John Aravosis posted a press release issued by HRC, the largest gay civil rights organization in the United States, which calls on Vice President Cheney and 2008 Republican presidential candidates to "condemn" Coulter's remarks.
"To interject this word into American political discourse is a vile and disgusting way to sink the debate to a new, all-time low,” Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese said in the statement. “Make no doubt about it, these remarks go directly against what our Founding Fathers intended and have no place on the schoolyard, much less our country’s political arena."
“It is clear that some in the Republican Party plan to run in 2008 the same way they did in 2004, by using discrimination to divide the country and rally their base,” said Solmonese. “But, 2008 is not 2004, and this time the politics of fear and smear will not work. The American people are tired of those who would rather divide than unite.”
Salmonese added, "We demand that every single Presidential candidate in attendance at this conference, along with Vice President Cheney stand up and publicly condemn this type of gutter-style politics."
At Democrats.org a statement by former Vermont Governor Howard Dean calls on GOP presidential candidates to "denounce her hateful remarks."
Dean's statement read, "There is no place in political discourse for this kind of hate-filled and bigoted comments. While Democrats and Republicans may disagree on the issues, we should all be able to agree that this kind of vile rhetoric is out of bounds. The American people want a serious, thoughtful debate of the issues. Republicans -- including the Republican presidential candidates who shared the podium with Ann Coulter today -- should denounce her hateful remarks."
At Edwards' campaign website, a plea for "Coulter Cash" has been front-paged.
"Friday afternoon, Republican mouthpiece Ann Coulter brought hate-speech politics to a new low," the Edwards website states, alongside a video clip of Coulter's speech. "We must show that inflaming prejudice to attack progressive leaders will only backfire."
"Can you help us raise $100,000 in 'Coulter Cash' this week to keep this campaign charging ahead and fight back against the politics of bigotry?" Edwards' campaign websites asks.
In addition, a fund-raising email was sent out by the Edwards campaign which was attributed to the former North Carolina senator's campaign manager, David Bonior, who notes that former Republican Governor Mitt Romney "introduced her."
Think Progress reported that before Coulter's speech Romney (R-MA) said, "I am happy to hear that after you hear from me, you will hear from Ann Coulter. That is a good thing. Oh yeah!"
"John was singled out for a personal attack because the Republican establishment knows he poses the greatest threat to their power," the Edwards fund-raising email reads. "Since they have nothing real to use against him, Coulter's resorting to the classic right-wing strategy of riling up hate to smear a progressive champion. And the Republican attack dogs will keep playing this despicable trick as long as they think it works."
The email continues, "But this time, you and I can change the game."
Bonior writes that he "put in 100 bucks of 'Coulter Cash' to get us started."
"Can you match me, or chip in whatever you can afford?" the email asks.
Text of Edwards campaign fund-raising letter, which misspells Coulter's first name as "Anne," follows:
Did you hear about Anne Coulter's speech this afternoon attacking John? A friend just forwarded me the video and it's one of the worst moments in American politics I've seen.
I can't bring myself to even repeat her comments. Her shameless display of bigotry is so outrageous you actually have to see for yourself to believe it.
This is just a taste of the filth that the right-wing machine is gearing up to throw at us. And now that it's begun, we have a choice: Do we sit back, or do we fight back?
I say we fight. Help us raise $100,000 in "Coulter Cash" this week to show every would-be Republican mouthpiece that their bigoted attacks will not intimidate this campaign. I just threw in 100 bucks. Will you join me? Just click here.
Coulter's attack was no accident. It happened on national television at one of the year's biggest conservative conferences. Dick Cheney and most of the Republican candidates were in the audience. She was even introduced by Mitt Romney.
John was singled out for a personal attack because the Republican establishment knows he poses the greatest threat to their power. Since they have nothing real to use against him, Coulter's resorting to the classic right-wing strategy of riling up hate to smear a progressive champion. And the Republican attack dogs will keep playing this despicable trick as long as they think it works.
But this time, you and I can change the game.
If we can raise $100,000 in "Coulter Cash" this week, we can show that bigotry will only backfire on those who use it. John is not the first progressive leader to face this kind of slime, but together, we can make sure he is one of the last.
Tonight, I've put in 100 bucks of "Coulter Cash" to get us started. Can you match me, or chip in whatever you can afford? Just click here:
John Edwards for President
Malkin disapproves, New York Times 'blogs it'
Editor and Publisher has a rundown of disapproving comments by conservative bloggers, including conservative columnist and blogger Michelle Malkin, and reports on media coverage of Coulter's use of the "other f-word."
Editor and Publisher report: "Ed Morrissey on his Captain's Quarters blog wrote: 'Yeah, that's just what CPAC needs -- an association with homophobia. Nice work, Ann.' Michelle Malkin expressed disapproval, and at her Hot Air site regular contributor 'Bryan' wrote: 'I’m no fan of John Edwards, but that’s just a stupid joke. It’s over the line. The laughter it generated across the room was more than a little annoying. Last year it was 'raghead.' This year it’s calling John Edwards a 'faggot.' Two years in a row, Coulter has finished up an otherwise sharp CPAC routine with an obnoxious slur that liberals will fling at conservatives for years to come. Thanks, Ann.'"
"Ann Coulter can be an entertaining and incisive wit," Morrissey added at Captain's Quarters. "Unfortunately, she can also be a loose cannon, and CPAC might want to consider that the next time around."
At her blog, Malkin wrote, "Ann Coulter just finished her riff on Al Gore, tossed out some cute jokes ('You can understand why Hollywood is concerned about global warming. You know what heat does to plastic.'), and ended with a cheap one-liner about John Edwards being a 'faggot.' (Paraphrasing) She said she would refrain from commenting on Edwards because 'if you say faggot, you have to go to rehab.' A smattering of laughter. Not from this corner. Crickets chirping."
Editor and Publisher also notes that the Associated Press, the New York Times and the Washington Post all ignored Coulter's "anti-gay slur" in their news reports, but that the Post's Dana Milbank did refer to it.
"The Post's Dana Milbank, in a column for the Saturday paper, observed: 'Ann Coulter used an anti-gay slur to describe John Edwards (the line drew applause) and asked: 'Did Al Gore actually swallow Michael Moore?' When a questioner asked Coulter why she praises marriage but broke off so many engagements, she responded by calling the questioner ugly,'" Editor and Publisher reports.
While Malkin heard only "a smattering of laughter," Milbanks reported that "the line drew applause" and, according to the liberal blog Think Progress, "Audience members said 'ohhh' and then cheered."
Milbank added that "Romney had, at least, won over Coulter. 'I think he's probably our best candidate,' she said. She'd prefer Duncan Hunter, she said, but 'I'm being realistic.' And, besides, "I love Mormons," Coulter said. 'In 1992, Bill Clinton came in third in Utah.'"
"The New York Times' Adam Nagourney failed to mention the crack about Edwards, in observing tonight: 'The conference drew thousands of attendees, many of whom waited in a long line out the door for a late-afternoon appearance by Ann Coulter, the conservative author and commentator,'" Editor and Publisher reported.
On Saturday, Nagourney blogged about Coulter at The Caucus.
"Democrats were not the only denouncing Ms. Coulter," Nagourney blogged. "'The comments were wildly inappropriate,'" said Brian Jones, a spokesman for Senator John McCain, a Republican candidate for president who did not attend."
Nagourney added, "Kevin Madden, a spokesman for Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, said: 'It was an offensive remark. Governor Romney believes all people should be treated with dignity and respect.'"
(Additional research by Ron Brynaert)