Right-wing pundit Ann Coulter labeled Democrats as "racist" for questioning the credentials of national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, recently nominated by President George W. Bush to replace Secretary of State Colin Powell, and conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Coulter's remarks came during a November 17 discussion on FOX News Channel's Hannity & Colmes of some controversial political cartoons depicting Rice as a pawn of President George W. Bush.
The cartoons shown on the program are in poor taste (see here, here, and here), but are in no way a production of the Democratic Party. Regardless, Coulter said "It goes beyond the cartoons," claiming that Democrats who oppose Rice's nomination are doing so because they "have a big problem with black women." Coulter also asserted that former national counterterrorism coordinator Richard Clarke has "a problem with blacks" because his book Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror (Free Press, March 2004) suggested that Rice had not heard of Al Qaeda when he briefed her on the terrorist group in 2001. Coulter also labeled Democratic strategist Bob Beckel a "racist" to his face.
From the November 17 edition of FOX News Channel's Hannity & Colmes:
COULTER: I don't know why you [Beckel] keep talking about [the unfair treatment received by] Bill Clinton when your party -- I mean, I understand why you'd like to change the subject, but your party is being biased and condescending about a black woman.
COULTER: I understand why you are so terrified of letting us point out what racists the Democrats are and how they have a big problem with black women.
BECKEL: You better be damn careful about using that word. I'll tell you something, I worked in the civil rights movement.
COULTER: Sean, stop him!
SEAN HANNITY (co-host): Bob -- Bob --
BECKEL: When you were sitting in your little schools up in New England.
HANNITY: Bob --
COULTER: I keep trying to get to this.
BECKEL: Don't start with me about that. Ann, you just crossed the line.
HANNITY: Bob -- Bob --
COULTER: Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
COULTER: It goes beyond the cartoons. It goes to the fact that...
ALAN COLMES (co-host): Bob Beckel.
COULTER: ... it is Condoleezza Rice who keeps being attacked for not being the most qualified person for the job, as I know Clarence Thomas was. No one ever said that about Warren Christopher. What were his qualifications for the job?
COULTER: You're [Beckel] racist. You do the same thing with Clarence Thomas.
COULTER: You keep talking about these cartoons. I'd only seen one of them before this program tonight. And I said I think liberals have a problem with blacks. They have a little race issue going on here.
You know, it's often said that blacks feel like they have to be twice as good as whites for the same position. Well, when it comes to blacks working for a Republican administration, that's true. They have to be 10 times as good or they have their credentials questioned [by liberals]. That really is...
COLMES: You think liberals have a problem with blacks?
COULTER: ... the puppet Bush.
COLMES: Do you think liberals have a problem with blacks? You want to make that statement in a vacuum?
COULTER: Yes. No, I think I've given a few examples, and I'll give more. There's Clarence Thomas, who was constantly made fun of, is he the most qualified one of the job. I don't remember anybody ever asking that of Justice William Brennan or [David] Souter.
COULTER: Dick Clarke, the flamboyant opponent of the Bush administration, came out with a book earlier this year, claiming that Condoleezza Rice, when he talked to her about Al Qaeda, her face showed that she was perplexed, that she had never heard of Al Qaeda before.
Can you imagine somebody saying that about, you know, Wolfowitz? No. That's my fourth example now of liberals having a problem with blacks.
BECKEL: I have no problem with her [Rice] because she's black. I have a problem with her because I don't think she's up to the job [of secretary of state]. Do not begin to say that people like me are racist when I spent a lot of time out in the vineyards on the civil rights movement.
I don't think you can type one credential where you've had -- You've got to be careful here, Ann.
COULTER: And you listen to jazz.