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After CNN promoted right-wing pundit Ann Coulter's scheduled appearance on the March 5 edition of CNN's Paula Zahn Now, following Coulter's March 2 statement that she "can't really talk about" Democratic presidential hopeful and former Sen. John Edwards (NC) because "you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot,' " host Paula Zahn explained: "We invited her to be on our show tonight. She accepted at first, and then canceled on us." Zahn did not say whether Coulter gave a reason for her cancellation. On the same day, CNN reported that "[a]t least three major companies want their ads pulled from Ann Coulter's Web site." Coulter's other planned television appearance on March 5 -- a segment on Fox News' Hannity & Colmes -- went on as planned.
During the Hannity & Colmes interview, when co-host Sean Hannity asked if the reaction to Coulter's speech was "selective moral outrage," Coulter said: "Oh, yes, absolutely. It happens every six months, and you're always there to put me on TV, Sean." Earlier during the interview, in response to co-host Alan Colmes' question about why Coulter was willing to use the term "faggot" but would not use a "racial slur," Coulter claimed that -- as blogger Andrew Sullivan noted -- her statement "isn't offensive to gays. It has nothing to do with gays. It's a schoolyard taunt, meaning wuss. And unless you're telling me that John Edwards is gay, it was not applied to a gay person."
From the March 5 edition of CNN's Paula Zahn Now:
ZAHN: Let's get started with one of the most controversial conservative commentators, Ann Coulter, and what she said late Friday to an influential conservative group in Washington.
COULTER [video clip]: I was going to have a -- 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 -- so, kind of at an impasse, can't really talk about Edwards. So, I think I'll just conclude here and take your questions.
ZAHN: Now, the audience might have laughed, but three Republican presidential candidates, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Mitt Romney, have denounced Coulter for that.
And Coulter didn't cool anything off with an email she sent to The New York Times: "C'mon, it was a joke. I would never insult gays by suggesting that they are like John Edwards. That would be mean."
We invited her to be on our show tonight. She accepted at first, and then canceled on us.
From the March 5 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:
COLMES: Ann Coulter joins us now in her first television interview since making those comments, and also joining us is former Democratic pollster and Fox News contributor Pat Caddell. Welcome to both of you.
Ann, you know, your problem isn't with liberals like me, because I was never your audience, but I'm getting a lot of emails from conservatives, like this one that says, "I'm a conservative, used to be a fan of hers" -- meaning yours. "You're an embarrassment," this person says, "to conservative beliefs, to the Republican Party, and to anyone with a shred of self-respect. Do us a favor, shun her."
What do you say to conservatives who respond to you now like that?
COULTER: That's how all liberals begin letters denouncing conservatives. I've pointed it out many times --
COLMES: So a liberal wrote this, not a conservative.
COULTER: And -- I mean, this is the same thing we go through every six months. I say something, the same people become hysterical, and that's the end of it.
I mean, I think the lesson young right-wingers ought to draw from this is it's really not that scary to attack liberals. This is about my 17th allegedly career-ending moment.
COLMES: But Ann -- well --
COULTER: And by the way, also, again, the left has precisely proved the point of the joke, which was to make fun of that actor going into rehab for using a word. This is like the Soviet Union where if you disagree --
COLMES: It would be better if it were a funnier joke, but --
COULTER: -- with the government, you go into -- you go into --
COLMES: But Ann, you're ignoring my question --
COULTER: -- you know, a mental institution.
COLMES: -- which is that you are attacking this letter-writer for being a liberal. I'm getting a lot of these letters from conservatives. You're losing your conservative base by saying the things you're saying.
COULTER: Well, OK, we'll see. That's what has happened every other time for about a decade now.
COLMES: You continue to say --
COULTER: Every six months, I get the same thing.
COLMES: Your answer is, OK, it was a joke. Would you make a racial slur and just say it was a joke?
COULTER: No. That's preposterous, and I think it's offensive that, you know, you immediately -- whenever you have to go to the argument, "Oh, would you use the N word," I mean, that is part of this semantic totalitarianism, to compare everything to the N-word. No, if you weren't brought here as slaves --
COLMES: I didn't say the N-word. I said a racial slur.
COULTER: -- and you weren't legally discriminated against -- you hear this when people say, you know, we can't use the word "illegal alien," because that's like using the N-word. No, those are words that are specifically used to demean a particular race. The word I used has nothing to do with sexual preference. It is a schoolyard taunt, and unless you're going to announce here on national TV that John Edwards, married father of many children, is gay, it clearly had nothing to do with that. It's a schoolyard taunt. It means --
COLMES: Ann, you're tap-dancing around my question. I asked you a very simple question.
COULTER: No, I'm not.
COLMES: I didn't ask about the N-word. I simply said, you write this off and say, "Oh, it was only a joke" --
COULTER: And I just said why I wouldn't.
COLMES: But you used a word that's very offensive to gays. Would you use a word offensive to another group of people and say, "Oh, it was only a joke"? Where do you draw the line?
COULTER: It isn't offensive to gays. It has nothing to do with gays. It's a schoolyard taunt, meaning wuss. And unless you're telling me that John Edwards is gay, it was not applied to a gay person.
COLMES: Was Isaiah Washington wrong to use that word to -- when he used it to describe T.R. Knight?
COULTER: Yes. He used it incorrectly, but I still don't think he should go to rehab for using a word. I think that's crazy. I think all of America outside of Hollywood thinks that's a wee bit crazy.
COLMES: So he used it incorrectly, but you used it correctly?
COULTER: Yes. Yes. I would say that of pretty much every Democratic politician. It could have been John Dean, but he's not running for president. It could have been a different word --
COLMES: So they're all gay?
COULTER: But that's not the word that Isaiah Washington went to rehab for, which is what it was a joke about.
HANNITY: Well, I think there's a lot of selective moral outrage. I mean, you know, [Sen.] Dick Durbin [D-IL] compares our troops to Nazis. He's a senator. He can have an impact on the troops and their future. You have Howard Dean, you know, Republicans are dark, evil, brain dead. They can't get African-Americans in a room unless the wait staff is there. You know, we have the former Klansman who was the head of the Democrats. Ann, is this selective moral outrage? Are they trying to use you now as a fundraiser?
COULTER: Oh, yes, absolutely. It happens every six months, and you're always there to put me on TV, Sean.
HANNITY: But what --
COULTER: And somehow, it's not driven that conservative base away. And by the way, the examples you are talking about aren't - weren't even intended as jokes. I mean, Alan can say, "Oh, well, that wasn't funny." Well, OK. This audience of 7,000 people thought it was funny. It was intended as a joke. Even if you think it was a joke that did't work, it was a joke. What Sean is talking about here aren't even intended jokes.