This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," March 5, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Top story tonight. Ann Coulter has once again created controversy with some language she used last week while speaking to an annual gathering of conservatives in Washington.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANN COULTER, AUTHOR: I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word "faggot." So...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLMES: Ann Coulter joins us now in her first television interview since making those comments, and also joining us is former Democratic pollster and Fox News contributor Pat Caddell. Welcome to both of you.
Ann, you know, your problem isn't with liberals like me, because I was never your audience, but I am getting a lot of emails from conservatives. Like this one that says, "I am a conservative, used to be a fan of hers" — meaning yours — "you are an embarrassment," this person says, "to conservative beliefs, to the Republican Party, to anyone with a shred of self-respect. Do us a favor, shun her."
What do you say to conservatives who respond to you now like that?
COULTER: That's how all liberals begin letters denouncing conservatives. I've pointed this out many times...
COLMES: So a liberal wrote this, not a conservative.
COULTER: And — I mean, this is the same thing we go through every six months. I say something, the same people become hysterical, and that's the end of it.
I mean, I think the lesson young right-wingers ought to draw from this is it's really not that scary to attack liberals. This is about my 17th allegedly career-ending moment. And by the way, also, again, the left has precisely proved the point of the joke, which was to make fun of that actor going into rehab for using a word. This is like the Soviet Union — if you disagree...
COLMES: It would be better if it were a funnier joke, but...
COULTER: ... with the government, you go into — you go into...
COLMES: But Ann, you're ignoring my question...
COULTER: ... you know, a mental institution.
COLMES: ... which is that you are attacking this letter writer for being a liberal. I am getting a lot of these letters from conservatives. You're losing your conservative base by saying the things you're saying.
COULTER: Well, OK, we'll see. That's what has happened every other time for about a decade now.
COLMES: You continue to say...
COULTER: Every six months, I get the same thing.
COLMES: Your answer is, OK, it was a joke. Would you make a racial slur and just say it was a joke?
COULTER: No. That's preposterous, and I think it's offensive that you immediately — whenever you have to go to the argument, oh, would you use the N word, I mean, that is part of this semantic totalitarianism, to compare everything to the N word. No, if you weren't brought...
COLMES: I didn't say the N word. I said a racial slur.
COULTER: ...and you weren't legally discriminated against — you hear this when people say we cannot use the word illegal alien, because that's like using the N word. No, those are words that are specifically used to demean a particular race. The word I used has nothing to do with sexual preference. It is a schoolyard taunt, and unless you're going to announce here on national TV that John Edwards, married father of many children, is gay, it clearly had nothing to do with that. It's a schoolyard taunt.
COLMES: Ann, you are tap-dancing around my question. I asked you a very simple question...
COULTER: No, I'm not.
COLMES: I didn't ask about the N word. I simply said, you write this off and say, oh, it was only a joke...
COULTER: And I just said why I wouldn't.
COLMES: But you used a word that's very offensive to gays. Would you use a word offensive to another group of people and say, oh, it was only a joke? Where do you draw the line?
COULTER: It isn't offensive to gays. It has nothing to do with gays. It's a schoolyard taunt, meaning wuss. And unless you're telling me that John Edwards is gay, it was not applied to a gay person.
COULTER: Yes. He used it incorrectly, but I still don't think he should go to rehab for using a word. I think that's crazy. I think all of America outside of Hollywood thinks that’s a wee bit crazy.
COLMES: So he used it incorrectly, but you used it correctly?
COULTER: Yes. Yes. I would say that of pretty much every Democratic politician. It could have been John Dean, but he's not running for president. It could have been a different word...
COLMES: So they're all gay?
COULTER: But that's not the word that Isaiah Washington went to rehab for, which is what it was a joke about.
COLMES: Pat Caddell, I'd like to have you weigh in here. You want to respond to what you heard so far?
PAT CADDELL, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Look, I love Ann. I do think that in terms of that particular — I saw the clip. I mean, I can see why she thought it was a joke. I can see why other people did not and why they would have made the reference point. But sometimes people have a hard time with Ann's humor. But I thought the Republican candidates were quick to jump, and the — what I liked best was the Edwards campaign commenting as though Ann was the right wing of the entire nation forcing down upon their campaign. It was very funny. They were raising money with it. So at least you raised money for them, Ann, but I'm sure it won't hurt any of your book sales either.
People take all this stuff far too seriously.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Let me go to Ann here for a second here, because I actually went and looked at your whole speech. I have been to Ann Coulter's serious speeches. I watched you debate. We've shown this. This was meant to be on every level — because I went through — this was a speech that was a series of joke after joke after joke after joke, wasn't it?
COULTER: Yes. I thought you were going to show some of them.
HANNITY: As a matter — well, I actually am, but I want to first show — you were asked to comment about the gay lifestyle, just so happens, in this very speech. I want to roll this tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COULTER: I'm not anti-gay. We're against gay marriage. I don't want gays to be discriminated against or — I mean, I think we have — in addition to blacks, I don't know why all gays aren't Republicans. I think we have the pro-gay position, which is anti-crime, and for tax cuts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: That was in the very same speech. What do you say to those people that take the word that you used and say, well, that was an anti-gay slur? What do you say to them?
COULTER: Right, and by the way, no one had accused me of being anti- gay in that speech. The joke I had told about rehab for using a certain word had gotten a lot of laughs.
What I was saying right there was for conservatives to not let the mainstream media describe us as anti-gay and opposing Mitt Romney's policies for being pro-gay. I said, we are not anti-gay. We are pro-gay. And it had nothing, obviously, nothing to do with the controversy over the joke, because there was no controversy over the joke.
HANNITY: Well, I think there's a lot of selective moral outrage. I mean, you know, Dick Durbin compares our troops to Nazis. He's a senator. He could have an impact on the troops and their future. You have Howard Dean, you know, Republicans are dark, evil, brain dead. They can't get African-Americans in a room unless the wait staff is there. You know, we have the former Klansman who was the head of the Democrats. Ann, is this selective moral outrage? Are they trying to use you now as a fund raiser?
COULTER: Oh, yes, absolutely. It happens every six months, and you're always there to put me on TV, Sean.
HANNITY: But what...
COULTER: And somehow, it has not driven that conservative base away. And by the way, the examples you are talking about aren't — were not even intended as jokes. I mean, Alan can say, oh, well, that wasn't funny. Well, OK. This audience of 7,000 people thought it was funny. It was intended as a joke. Even if you think it was a joke that did not work, it was a joke. What Sean is talking about here aren't even intended jokes.
HANNITY: But what names have you been called over the years?
COULTER: Well, that would fill up the rest of the show.
HANNITY: Quite a few, I would assume.
CADDELL: You should hear mine, what they call me.
HANNITY: Let me just say this, Pat. I understand there are certain words — and Ann, look, you are smart, you are bright, you are intelligent, you're — you know that if you use that word, there are going to be people that melt like Alka Seltzer in water. But you know that. I mean, this is not a...
COULTER: Right, but Sean, I think the point is two things. I didn't choose that word. That was the word from the PC police. That's what Isaiah Washington of "Grey's Anatomy"...
COULTER: That's a big story...
HANNITY: But you have got to explain this. Isaiah — I think his last name is Washington...
HANNITY: He said this about a fellow actor on the show, and then after he said it, the people that he worked with at ABC got so mad, so he went into rehab because he said the word, and that's what the joke was about.
CADDELL: Except that the problem was — no one understood the context of John Edwards, Ann. That was...
COULTER: Well, in the speech, you would have, Pat.
COULTER: Not the way the mainstream media is just going to play this one thing over and over again, but the speech, I've just gone through a bunch of jokes on Gore, a bunch of jokes on Hillary, a bunch of jokes on Obama. Frankly, I didn't think Edwards was really worth attacking, and I promise you, an audience of conservative news junkies not only know the Isaiah Washington story, they know John Edwards, with his two Americas and you know, his charlatan performances before illiterate juries. They know that that is wussy. That is lame. That is a sissy thing to do. Everybody knows what I was talking about, and I also know that John Edwards is not gay, and that I was using it in a schoolyard taunt way. In that way, it is a sophomoric word. It is not a bad word.
COLMES: Sophomoric joke. And unfortunately for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COULTER: I am thinking, how about we put solar panels on Al Gore? What is Al Gore up to these days? About 400 pounds? My TV has been on the blink. It's a little snowy, so if you could help me with this — did Al Gore actually swallow Michael Moore?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: And welcome back to "Hannity & Colmes." We continue now with the author of the number one "New York Times" best-seller, "Godless: The Church of Liberalism," Ann Coulter. Former Democratic pollster Pat Caddell. That's of course Ann at CPAC.
You know, Pat, I want to get back to this issue here. Ann Coulter is a writer. She uses satire. She's an iconoclast, known to be acerbic at times. She's not in a political position. Very same people that are so indignant — putting aside the word here for just a minute. What Ann Coulter says, not in a position of any power, not a word of outrage about our troops being called Nazis, not a word about our troops being called — wait a second, murderers...
HANNITY: Not a word about a former Klansman as the head of the Democratic Party. You know, I just — it seems to me that the Democrats want to use Ann Coulter as the poster child and ignore all of these guys that are actually in positions of power. Is that a valid argument?
CADDELL: I think in politics, the thing that bothers me is that people always pick one side or the other. You know, listen, Bill Maher made a comment over the weekend, which I saw, which got very little attention...
HANNITY: About Dick Cheney.
CADDELL: ... of course, you know, in the context — about Dick Cheney, which some people said suggested he wanted, you know, Dick Cheney assassinated. In that context, it was very bad. I don't think that's what he meant, but it did not get the same play, and you know, that was for a national audience. That wasn't just a few thousand people.
A lot of this depends, of course, on what the press and different interest groups wish to pick up on.
HANNITY: But you are not addressing my point...
HANNITY: You are not addressing my point, is that...
CADDELL: What, that things are biased, that people only see one side of the issue? Of course. That's one of the problems of this society. We have no context of rules, you know.
HANNITY: Well, I mean, that's — but I am bringing up the question of selective moral outrage here when...
CADDELL: That's what I'm saying. What I'm saying is this is selective outrage. You know, I get outraged — I was outraged by some of the things you referred to with the Democrats. I think, you know, we should have a set of standards individually and personally, which we don't have.
HANNITY: You don't get the same outrage in the media. You don't get — the same Democrats...
CADDELL: Of course not.
HANNITY: ... that are now trying to raise money off of Ann Coulter's comments, you know, they sat back, silently, when all these things were being said. And it seems that we go back to Trent Lott, and once again, he is excoriated by Democrats...
CADDELL: ... inappropriate to say...
HANNITY: I'm raising a lot of different questions here. Ann Coulter — you know what, people don't have to go to her speeches or her college campus debate. They don't have to buy her books. But of course, they must watch her on "Hannity & Colmes."
HANNITY: You know, Ann, do you feel like there is this double standard? Do you feel you get victimized here? Do you feel it's unfair?
COULTER: Well, I think it's a little unfair for you to compare my joke, which got a lot of laughs...
HANNITY: I said it was a joke.
COULTER: ... to things that aren't jokes that are said by liberals. I mean, what they say about me, they literally misinterpret a joke. Liberals like Kerry get caught calling our troops dumb and then go back and say, oh, I botched a joke. No, I didn't botch a joke, and I didn't use an insulting word. I used a schoolyard word about a married man with children, 28th billionth time, and the audience knew that. I mean, the joke wouldn't have worked if I had inserted the name of a gay Democrat. Any other Democrat, the name could have been inserted. It could have been Howard Dean or Hillary Clinton, because it's a schoolyard taunt meaning wuss, meaning nerd, meaning...
COLMES: First of all, let's tell the truth about...
COULTER: Meaning lame.
COLMES: ... some of the things Democrats have done. You know, in terms of Dick Durbin, he was talking about Guantanamo. He wasn't calling the troops names.
HANNITY: Yes, he was.
COLMES: He was talking about being at Guantanamo is like what happened in Nazi Germany.
HANNITY: He called our troops Nazis.
COLMES: That's what he said. He didn't call the troops Nazis.
HANNITY: Yes, he did.
COLMES: That's not what he did. He didn't call them Nazis.
COULTER: That's pretty bad.
HANNITY: He absolutely did.
COLMES: He did not call them Nazis.
HANNITY: He absolutely did.
COLMES: He absolutely did not.
COULTER: I like the way you say that, like it's OK, what he said.
COLMES: And furthermore, Kerry did not call the troops dumb, Ann. He actually was referring — again, doing a very bad joke, much like you did a very bad joke — although I think you believe it's brilliant — at CPAC. So you know...
COULTER: I don't think it's brilliant, but I think it's a joke...
COLMES: ... it was a bad attempt at a joke.
COULTER: And I think anyone — and no one misinterpreted it. It's very simple. Kerry actually said, if you don't do your homework, if you don't go to school, you end up in Iraq. You can quote me exactly, and I don't have to change any words...
COLMES: You end up sending people to Iraq. That's what he said. He was referring to George W. Bush.
COULTER: He did not say "sending."
COLMES: That's what he meant to say. He botched it. It was a botched joke.
COULTER: Oh, OK! You have to insert words. You don't have to insert words to understand that I was referring ...
COLMES: I understand. He botched up.
COULTER: ... to gay — "Grey's Anatomy."
COLMES: By the way, I went to Anncoulter.org today, because I had some free time, and it says there on your Web site, "Ann Coulter is our hostess. You may agree or disagree with her positions, but any disrespect towards Ann would be grounds for immediate removal. Debate must be honest and fair. Obscene, profane, vulgar, threatening posts will not be tolerated."
You wouldn't qualify, based on this, to post on your own Web site.
COULTER: Of course I would.
CADDELL: Wait a minute...
COULTER: This is what I'm talking about.
COLMES: What's that?
COULTER: This is, by the way, an excellent chat room at anncoulter.com. I recommend the viewers go there. We have a lot of fun. I often post. But Alan, this is exactly what I am talking about, the speech totalitarianism, where you want to come in and say, oh, that's hate speech, that's hate speech. And you know, the things I had heard about this, that it has to be a speech appropriate for the nursery school, or it has to be a speech that Ronald Reagan would give. Well, this is the way of being totalitarians about speech.
COLMES: No one is saying you don't have the right to say those things.
COULTER: This is the old Soviet Union.
COLMES: No one is saying you should be — not have the right in America to say it.
COULTER: Right, they just want to send me to rehab.
COLMES: So that's — no one is taking away those rights. How do you feel about the fact that the three major Republican candidates have basically disowned that comment from you and said it was inappropriate?
COULTER: I think they're not as smart as B. Hussein Obama, when he was asked to denounce David Geffen's comments that were much more closely related to him. He said, I don't see why I should have to apologize for what someone else said. And the media was in a swoon. But apparently, our top three Republican nominees aren't that smart.
HANNITY: All right, Ann...
COULTER: And by the way, if they're going to start apologizing for everything I say, they better keep that statement handy, because there's going to be a lot more in the next year!
CADDELL: Oh, my God. Oh my God.
HANNITY: All right, we'll cover it all.
CADDELL: Here we go.
HANNITY: Come on, Pat, you — we're all good friends here.
CADDELL: I know. It's just — we'll be back and we'll do it again. OK.
HANNITY: We'll just put it on the calendar, every other Tuesday, Ann will be here to defend it. Thank you.
CADDELL: Here we go.
HANNITY: Guys, thank you for being with us.
COULTER: Thank you.
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