Coulter calls John Edwards ‘faggot’

BTL Staff
By | 2007-03-08T09:00:00-05:00 March 8th, 2007|News|

By Lisa Keen
There were a number of crass remarks made about Democrats at last weekend’s conservative confab in Washington, D.C. For instance, one conservative commentator quipped that U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton had “thrown her broom into the ring.” But none was so loutish and widely publicized as that of right-wing political commentator Ann Coulter. After first saying that Senator Clinton’s husband was “half white and half trash,” Coulter said this:
“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, I’m kind of at an impasse. Can’t really talk about Edwards….”
The audience of mostly young, decidedly conservative young Republicans at first seemed to gasp and then they applauded. Video clips of Coulter’s remarks quickly made it onto YouTube -as did a behind-the-scenes videoclip of Edwards studiously combing his hair for two minutes.

Coulter, who is well known for dishing out caustic and vulgar commentary, delivered her remarks like a stand-up comedian. Her facial reaction did not betray any indication of trepidation or embarrassment for having used the patently offensive term. But she later barked, “I’m not anti-gay” and offered her legal understanding that one cannot libel a public figure.
But she, more than any other speaker before the national conservative conference, held in Washington, D.C., last weekend, seemed fixated on things gay. When a female college student asked for advice about working on a Republican candidate’s campaign, Coulter said it was a great way to “meet some nice heterosexual guys.” From that remark, she launched into an attack of the media which, she claimed, was making too much of the fact that her favorite candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, had presented himself as pro-gay in 1994 but now is notoriously not.
“Well, screw you,” said Coulter. “I’m not anti-gay. We’re against gay marriage. I [don’t] want gays to be discriminated against.”
She claimed not to understand “why all gays aren’t Republicans.”
“I think we have the pro-gay position — which is anti-crime and for tax cuts,” said Coulter. “Gays make a lot of money and are the victims of crime.”
But it was the “faggot” remark that attracted the most attention -and outrage–from outside the American Conservative Union Political Action Committee’s conference.
“There is no place in political discourse for this kind of hate-filled and bigoted comments,” said Howard Dean, head of the Democratic National Committee.
“Ann Coulter represents the worst of American politics,” said Dr. Darrick Lawson, President of the Stonewall Democratic Club of Sacramento.
“This is a woman who, in order to sell copies of her last book, said that the 9/11 widows were enjoying their husbands’ deaths because of all the attention they had received,” wrote Washington Post media columnist Howard Kurtz on Monday. “The media world briefly went crazy, which is exactly what she wanted, because it brings more attention to her.”
Kurtz said he was amazed at how little attention the remark got from the mainstream media at first. During the first 24 hours, he noted, there was “No mention on the nightly newscasts. No mention in the New York Times. No mention on the AP. No mention in the Washington Post news story, and one mention (without the offensive word) in a Dana Milbank column. Only the Los Angeles Times made an issue out of the slur and printed it.”
Three of the dozen Republican presidential contenders issued statements criticizing Coulter’s remarks – Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and John McCain.
The American Conservative Union, which sponsored the conference for its political action committee, issued a statement saying that the organization and its PAC “do not condone or endorse every speaker or their comments at the conference.” But the statement ended on this note from its well-known chairman, David A. Keene (no relation to this reporter):
“Ann Coulter is known for comments that can be both provocative and outrageous. That was certainly the case in her 2007 CPAC appearance and previous ones as well. But as a point of clarification, let me make it clear that ACU and CPAC do not condone or endorse the use of hate speech.”
Coulter did suffer at least one moment of embarrassment, however. During her question-and-answer session, a writer from a liberal publication, The Nation, got her attention for a question:
“Ann,” he said, “I appreciate your defense of marriage in your latest book. And as a proponent of the sanctity of marriage, can you explain why you’ve had three broken engagements and never been married?”
Coulter clearly seemed rattled, but laughed and said, “Well, thank you for respecting my right to privacy.”

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 25th anniversary.