According to an advertisement during the June 24 edition of NBC's Meet the Press, right-wing pundit Ann Coulter will be returning to MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews on June 26 -- her first appearance on the program since July 27, 2006, when she referred to former Vice President Al Gore as a "total fag." Since that appearance, she has also referred to former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) as a "faggot." The ad on Meet the Press said: "She's ignited controversy across America. But can Ann Coulter stand the heat in the Hardball hot seat, going head-to-head with Chris Matthews?" During Coulter's last appearance on Hardball, however, Matthews repeatedly complimented Coulter -- referring to her as writing "beautifully" and having a "brilliant brain." During the interview, Matthews asked Coulter, "How do you know that Bill Clinton is gay?" -- referring to her statement the night before on CNBC's The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch that Clinton "show[s] some level of latent homosexuality." Coulter responded, "I don't know if he's gay. But Al Gore -- total fag."
She went on to defend her theory about Clinton's sexuality by stating that "everyone has always known, widely promiscuous heterosexual men have, as I say, a whiff of the bathhouse about them." Coulter said she was "just kidding" about Gore, but stated of her theory about Clinton, "It's not only not a joke, it's not even surprising." Coulter explained her assertion that Clinton is gay by stating, "For any feminist with the benefit of something beyond a community-college education, this is standard feminist doctrine that wild promiscuity shows a fear-hostility of women." Matthews responded: "Well, thanks, Ann. You're great."
At the beginning of the interview, Matthews told Coulter: "You write beautifully. You have a brilliant brain." He continued: "I stayed up last night reading your chapter on Willie Horton, which was absolutely stunning in its satire, it reminded me of the young [conservative columnist] George Will." He also described her as "the picture of heaven." Coulter remarked during the interview that when "most Americans" heard that an Israeli airstrike had hit a United Nations observer post in south Lebanon on July 25, killing four U.N. observers, they hoped to hear similar news about "the installation on 42nd Street" -- presumably a reference to the U.N. headquarters in New York City. In response to this suggestion, Matthews said: "Thank you, Ann." In concluding the interview, Matthews said of Coulter, "We'd love to have her back."
Following her July 27, 2006, appearance on Hardball, Coulter has continued in her tradition of making "controver[sial]" remarks, as Media Matters for America has documented:
- In her August 9, 2006, column, Coulter wrote that, without affirmative action, African-American Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) couldn't get a job "that didn't involve wearing a paper hat."
- In a November 30, 2006, syndicated column about the removal of six imams from an airplane in Minnesota after other passengers saw them praying prior to boarding, Coulter claimed that "profiling Muslims is more like profiling the Klan" than it is like profiling African-Americans, "because of the history of discrimination against blacks in this country." Coulter added: "What did we do to the Arabs? I believe Americans are the victims in that relationship."
- In a March 2 speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Coulter said she "can't really talk about" Edwards because "you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot.' " The CPAC audience applauded her comment. As Media Matters further documented, a number of newspapers dropped Coulter following her remarks at CPAC.
- On the March 6 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Sean Hannity said to Coulter, "Most of the speech was about humor. You were telling jokes the whole time here," and went on to discuss Grey's Anatomy actor Isaiah Washington, who sought counseling after using the slur. Coulter responded by saying, "[T]hat's, of course, what I was referring to, and I don't think there's anything offensive about any variation of faggy, faggotry, faggot, fag. It's a schoolyard taunt. It means -- it means wussy. It means, you know, Hillary giving a speech in a fake Southern drawl -- that's faggy. A trial lawyer who weeps before juries is faggy. Lifetime-type TV, faggy." Coulter then referred to the word "faggot" as "a totally excellent word."
- In a May 16 column titled "Jerry Falwell -- Say Hello to Ronald Reagan!" Coulter, who proclaimed, "Let me be the first to say: I ALWAYS agreed with the Rev. Falwell," admitted that she disagreed with Falwell on "one small item": He should have assigned blame for the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to "[Sen.] Teddy Kennedy [D-MA] and 'the Reverend' Barry Lynn," in addition to "the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians -- who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle." Coulter went on to compare Falwell to Jesus Christ ("If you still think it isn't Christ whom liberals hate, remember: They hate Falwell even more than they hate me.") and assert that Falwell did not blame all "the gays" for "ejecting God from public life," but rather "gays and lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle."
From a commercial that aired during the June 24 edition of NBC's Meet the Press:
ANNOUNCER: She's ignited controversy across America. But can Ann Coulter stand the heat in the Hardball hot seat, going head-to-head with Chris Matthews? Hardball, MSNBC, Tuesday.
From the July 27, 2006, edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:
MATTHEWS: You are a controversial lady. You write beautifully. You have a brilliant brain. I stayed up last night reading your chapter on Willie Horton, which was absolutely stunning in its satire, it reminded me of the young George Will.
COULTER: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: OK, Iran. How about Iran? It's a closer danger --
COULTER: It's a much bigger problem when they have nukes.
MATTHEWS: It's a closer danger in the Middle East because you've got Israel, you got Saudi Arabia. Very fat targets.
COULTER: That's when you have someone crazy --
MATTHEWS: What do you do there? What do you do in Iran?
COULTER: -- who's claiming he's building nukes. You want to go in and take them out.
MATTHEWS: What do you do in Iran, if you're president?
COULTER: I don't know what they know, but I would not be averse to military action, and I know people keep saying --
MATTHEWS: You mean a strike against their nuclear facilities?
COULTER: People keep saying, you know, the material itself -- it can be hidden in caves -- we can't find it. Oh, we can take care of Iran so that they couldn't build a transistor radio. Who cares if they have nuclear material.
MATTHEWS: So you'd bomb them into the Stone Age?
MATTHEWS: You would? Really, as president?
COULTER: It's either that or have a lunatic sitting on top of nukes. If that's what my choice is, yes.
MATTHEWS: Take 'em down.
MATTHEWS: I'm back in heaven. I think I'm on college tour again. This is the University of Hardball, here we are. We have Ann Coulter. Look at her, look at her, the picture of heaven. All brain, no heart. Just kidding! OK, let's go now to the first question.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hi. If we're fighting Islamofascism in the war on terror, I'm wondering if we can use American Muslims to fight the war on culture in the United States.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about your private life. How do you know that Bill Clinton's gay?
COULTER: He may not be gay, but Al Gore, total fag. No, I'm just kidding. As someone, no --
MATTHEWS: That's based on your private life?
COULTER: No, that's a joke.
COULTER: That's what we call in the writing business, a joke. No, I mean, I state a manifestly obvious fact. Someone pointed out on Free Republic, I think a little disgruntled yesterday, Ann's amazing capacity is to state the obvious and make it news. I mean, everyone has always known, widely promiscuous heterosexual men have, as I say, a whiff of the bathhouse about them.
MATTHEWS: But, you know, you were on -- I was watching you on Deutsch last night. I watched it because it was all over the blog sites, you can't miss it.
MATTHEWS: You were immortal in that interview by the way. And you said it because you were sort of pushed to say it. I just wonder if you believe it.
COULTER This is standard --
MATTHEWS: It's a joke. It's a joke.
COULTER I -- I --
MATTHEWS: It's not a joke.
COULTER It's not only not a joke, it's not even surprising. If feminists were not so in love with Bill Clinton, this is like standard --
COULTER For any feminist with the benefit of something beyond a community-college education, this is standard --
COULTER -- feminist doctrine that wild promiscuity shows a fear-hostility of women.
MATTHEWS: Well, thanks, Ann. You're great.
COULTER: Thank you.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Ann, I want to get your thoughts on [U.N. Secretary General] Kofi Annan this week basically coming out and demanding that Israel abide by a cease-fire funded by the U.N. But meanwhile, Kofi Annan, after three years of Muslims beating down -- black Muslims in the Darfur area, all Kofi Annan has done is stood there and claimed that there'll be meeting after meeting -- they take out the word "ethnic cleansing," and then we're being lectured to from liberals about hatred, when I remember in 1994, when we had a liberal Congress and a liberal president, they did nothing in Rwanda.
COULTER: Right. Well, Kofi Annan and the U.N. peacekeepers have done a terrific job keeping the peace. And as you know, Israel mistakenly bombed some of them a few days ago. I think most Americans are looking at that, hoping they can hear about the installation on 42nd Street.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Ann.
COULTER: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Thanks for coming on. And a smart lady. Her book's called Godless. Sometimes being smart isn't enough for a civil discourse. We'd love to have her back.