Coulter, Wash. Times lied about Kerry campaign funding

››› ››› JEREMY CLUCHEY & ANDREW SEIFTER

Right-wing pundit Ann Coulter asserted that Teresa Heinz Kerry is funding Senator John Kerry's presidential campaign -- a false claim that was subsequently repeated in an August 5 editorial in The Washington Times. During her appearance on the August 4 edition of FOX News Channel's Hannity & Colmes, Coulter also said that "looking at polls is phenomenally stupid" -- then proceeded to cite polling to downplay post-Democratic National Convention support for Kerry.

In discussing Heinz Kerry campaigning on behalf of the Kerry-Edwards '04 ticket, Coulter asserted that "[t]here's no one who can tell her to stop. She's funding that campaign." The next day, a Washington Times editorial accused Heinz Kerry of having "used her immense inherited wealth for the second time in less than eight years to resuscitate her husband's faltering political career." The editorial alleged that "Kerry has deftly exploited [his wife's fortune] to his maximum political benefit -- first during his tightly contested 1996 Senate race and then during this year's Democratic presidential primaries and caucuses."

According to a June 2003 USA Today article titled "Kerry campaign says he can't tap wife's fortune," "Under federal campaign law, assets solely under the control of Heinz Kerry, including those reported on Kerry's recent Senate disclosure form, cannot be used for the Democrat's presidential campaign." In fact, when the Kerry campaign was running out of money during the primary season, as The Washington Post reported, Kerry mortgaged his half of the home he shares with Heinz Kerry in Boston and put the $6.4 million to his own campaign. And contrary to The Washington Times' assertion that Kerry used his wife's money in his 1996 Senate campaign, the Boston Globe noted in November 2003 that Kerry also used his Boston home as collateral to take out a $1.7 million personal loan to help fund that campaign.

Later on the same program, in response to substitute host Pat Halpin's observation that "57 percent of Americans, even people who are supporting [President] George [W.] Bush, say Bush is not doing a good job in Iraq," Coulter remarked that "looking at polls is phenomenally stupid" -- then immediately cited poll results that were unfavorable to Kerry:

COULTER: Looking at polls is phenomenally stupid. And I don't think that is how Americans vote. So I don't know why, you're just rambling off numbers.

I did watch the Democratic National Convention and that's why [FOX News Channel host] Sean [Hannity] and I are very confident and taking bets on the next election. And apparently a lot of Americans watched the Democratic National Convention as much as Kerry didn't get any bump from that. I mean, he's supposed to be getting like a 17-point bump. He got nothing. That's because people saw him and reacted the way people are wont to do.

Media Matters for America has previously noted the rampant distortions of polling data by pundits and conservative media outlets following the Democratic National Convention. Several polls showed Kerry achieving a small bounce, while one showed Bush gaining ground.

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2004 Elections
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