Your World guest host Brenda Buttner invited Coulter to discuss her "great job" of bashing Dems; later on Fox, Coulter bristled over more challenging questions

››› ››› BEN ARMBRUSTER

On Your World, discussing her latest column, Ann Coulter repeated numerous false claims to assert that Democrats do not support the Bush administration's fight against terrorism. However, hours later on Hannity & Colmes, when she was challenged on her claim that Osama bin Laden "was handed to Bill Clinton twice," Coulter abruptly cut short her appearance on the show.

While interviewing right-wing pundit Ann Coulter on the August 24 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, guest host and Fox News senior business correspondent Brenda Buttner invited Coulter to elaborate on the "great job" she had done, in her most recent column, of bashing Democrats for not supporting the Bush administration's fight against terrorism. Later that day, in stark contrast to her interview on Your World, Coulter abruptly cut short her appearance on the August 24 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes after Democratic strategist and Fox News political analyst Kirsten Powers, who was guest co-host, challenged Coulter's false assertion that former President Bill Clinton turned down the opportunity to capture Osama bin Laden.

In her August 23 column -- "What Part of the War on Terrorism Do They Support?" -- Coulter repeated the false claims that Democrats "oppose the National Security Agency listening to people who are calling specific phone numbers found on al-Qaida cell phones and computers" and "oppose the Patriot Act." Introducing Coulter on Your World, Buttner stated: "You do a great job in your editorial of ... listing it all out, and when you do, it's very interesting to see -- they're really good at saying what they're against, aren't they?" Buttner later appeared to concur with Coulter's false assertion that Democrats are "against every part of the war on terror," saying: "You've said it well. The problem is that the [Bush] administration doesn't always go out there and sell this. It doesn't always go out there and say, 'What are the Democrats for in this war on terror?' " Buttner then asked Coulter: "Do you think the getting out there and selling themselves and fighting against the Democrats -- that finally we're going to get the Republicans out there to fight?"

However, as the weblogs Think Progress and Crooks and Liars noted, hours later on Hannity & Colmes, Coulter found it difficult to participate in a discussion of the Democrats' position on terrorism when challenged. Coulter asserted that things are going "swimmingly" in Afghanistan, even though a British military commander said the situation in Afghanistan is "close to anarchy," as Think Progress noted. When Powers later challenged Coulter's claim that bin Laden "was handed to Bill Clinton twice," a claim Media Matters for America has previously debunked, Coulter unexpectedly ended her participation in the segment.

From the August 24 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:

BUTTNER: The NSA wiretapping program, Gitmo, the Patriot Act, the war in Iraq -- most Democrats are against all those. So, Ann Coulter wants to know exactly which parts of the war on terror are Democrats for? She's author of the best-seller Godless. Hi, Ann. Thanks for being here.

COULTER: Hi, Brenda.

BUTTNER: Nice to see you.

COULTER: Nice to see you.

BUTTNER: Well, you do a great job in your editorial of -- kind of listing it all out, and when you do, it's very interesting to see -- they're really good at saying what they're against, aren't they?

COULTER: Right. Right. And the point of this column was, you know, they have this talking point now about how they're against the war in Iraq and this is a distraction from the war on terror, and if the Democrats ran it, ooh boy, would they be fighting that war on terror. But Iraq, it's a useless distraction from the war on terror, which, you know -- I suppose you could oppose the war in Iraq and support the war on terror. Except when you look at all their other positions, they're against every part of the war on terror. Every cell Bush breaks up, "Oh, pish-tosh, that was -- they were just jokers, they weren't going to pull off an attack." They said that about the Miami cell, the New York cell that was going to blow up, I don't know, the tunnels and the bridges. Even the London cell is being scoffed at.

They're against the NSA spying program, listening, or following phone calls made from Al Qaeda phone numbers. They're against the Patriot Act, the vast majority of Democrats, 43-2, voted against renewing the Patriot Act last December. They're, of course, against profiling for airplanes, instead are profiling for Muslims, they're for profiling for, you know, liquids, for saline solution. So, what would they do?

[...]

COULTER: They've said it so often how the war in Iraq is distracting from the war on terrorism; and Bush, he's wasted all this time in Iraq while terrorists are running free. It really is just a talking point. You know, they could have said that about the Patriot Act. You know, the Patriot Act is distracting from the real global war on terrorism. Well, you know, there are a lot of terrorists in a lot of countries. Republicans have understood this for a long time; Democrats do not. What they want to do is have chit-chat, play semantic games and, you know, when we're -- the country is in a fight for its life.

BUTTNER: Well, now, you've said it well. The problem is that the administration doesn't always go out there and sell this. It doesn't always go out there and say, "What are the Democrats for in this war on terror?" They are getting better, however, at saying, you know, you need to be against the war in Iraq to be against the war on terror, but, you know, trying to find out what they are for is an important part of that. Do you think the getting out there and selling themselves and fighting against the Democrats -- that finally we're going to get the Republicans out there to fight?

[...]

COULTER: What would they do if they overturned the Patriot Act, so we won't allow the CIA intelligence gathering to communicate with the FBI?

BUTTNER: Yeah.

COULTER: That is what allowed 9-11 to happen. What would they do? That's what the Democrats need to be asked. Not all of -- not let them get away with all of this chit-chat --

BUTTNER: Right.

COULTER: -- about how they want, you know, diplomacy, constructive diplomacy, and we need better diplomacy and we'd really fight the war. Well, what would you do?

BUTTNER: Right. Yep. Well, the question is: Can the Republicans do that? All right, thanks so much Ann, pleasure talking to you.

COULTER: Thank you.

From the August 24 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:

POWERS: Let's talk about let's talk to Osama bin Laden. How about let's kill Osama bin Laden? How about let's find Osama bin Laden? You're talking about how, you know, Democrats don't want to do things on terrorism, which I actually will, in a second, go ahead and list the things they want to do, but how about the fact we invaded Iraq, when, you know, over in Afghanistan, everything was falling apart? And the fact that we let Osama bin Laden get away, and the president said he doesn't even think about him, he doesn't even care about him.

MICHAEL BROWN (Democratic strategist): What happened to "mission accomplished"?

POWERS: What about that?

COULTER: I look forward to hearing that list.

POWERS: OK. You will in a second.

COULTER: But as for catching Osama, it's irrelevant. Things are going swimmingly in Afghanistan.

POWERS: Oh, no, they're not.

COULTER: I mean, he's like a fading movie star now.

BROWN: "Swimmingly"?

POWERS: Things in Afghanistan are going horribly. But this is interesting: Osama bin Laden is "irrelevant."

COULTER: Who do you think was -- who kidnapped?

POWERS: The person who was the mastermind behind the Al Qaeda attacks on the United States is completely irrelevant. Is that what you're saying?

COULTER: Right. He was handed to Bill Clinton twice --

POWERS: Oh, it's Bill Clinton's fault.

COULTER: -- and Bill Clinton said no.

POWERS: Yeah, because I think --

COULTER: No, it's irrelevant.

POWERS: -- that actually George Bush was president in 2001.

COULTER: OK. Wait. I know you're trying to imitate [co-host] Alan Colmes, but, at some point, he does let me answer.

POWERS: Yeah. OK. Let's go -- Michael, why don't we talk about the things that the --

BROWN: Yeah.

COULTER: OK. Well, good night! It was nice being here.

POWERS: -- Democrats actually are doing about the fact that all of the --

COULTER: [Co-host] Sean [Hannity]?

POWERS: -- Democrats -- the Republicans have voted against all the things the --

COULTER: I think I can leave.

POWERS: -- Democrats have brought up, like increasing funding for border security, increasing funding for port security --

COULTER: Chris? I think I can leave now.

POWERS: -- increasing funding for airline security.

COULTER: No, seriously.

POWERS: I mean, isn't that true, Michael?

BROWN: Real -- real homeland security starts --

COULTER: I mean, we're done.

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