Ann Coulter fired back at critics who demanded the conservative columnist apologize for comments she made during a speech in which she referred to Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards as a "faggot."

"'Faggot isn't offensive to gays; it has nothing to do with gays," Coulter said on "Hannity and Colmes" Monday night. "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 came under fire after delivering a speech Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C.

VIDEO: Ann Coulter Fires Back at Critics

"I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot,'" Coulter said.

The slur caused a firestorm of controversy over the weekend and earned condemnation from both the right and the left. Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean demanded that the "Godless" author apologize for her "hate-filled and bigoted" remarks. The Edwards camp tried to capitalize on the hullabaloo by asking supporters to donate $100,000 in "Coulter Cash" to "show that inflaming prejudice to attack progressive leaders will only backfire."

Republican presidential hopefuls Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani publicly denounced the remarks.

Coulter called the whole controversy another example of the mainstream media's "speech totalitarianism" and says she sees no reason to apologize for a joking comment that was taken out of context.

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"What I was saying right there was for conservatives to not let the mainstream media describe us as anti gay and oppose Mitt Romney's policies for being pro-gay," Coulter said.

Coulter didn't spare the GOP hopefuls, either.

"Apparently our top three Republican nominees aren't that smart," Coulter said. "And by the way, if they're going to start apologizing for everything I say, they better keep that statement handy cause there's going to be a lot more in the next year."

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