Elizabeth Edwards confronted right-wing pundit Ann Coulter during a live interview on MSNBC this afternoon, charging that Coulter’s “personal attacks” on former senator John Edwards and others were based on “the language of hate.”
Yesterday on ABC’s Good Morning America, Coulter said, “[I]f I’m gonna say anything about John Edwards in the future, I’ll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot.” She has previously called Edwards a “faggot.” In 2003, she wrote a column claiming that John Edwards drove around with a bumper sticker saying “Ask me about my son’s death in a horrific car accident.”
During an hour-long interview with Coulter today on MSNBC, host Chris Matthews announced that Elizabeth Edwards was on the line. Edwards referenced the attacks above, saying, “I’m the mother of that boy who died. These young people behind you…you’re asking them to participate in a dialogue that is based on hatefulness and ugliness instead of on the issues, and I don’t think that’s serving them or this country very well.” The live audience cheered. Watch it:
Responding to Edwards, Coulter first inexplicably claimed that she “didn’t say anything about [Edwards]” on the previous day. Then Coulter tried to claim that Edwards just wanted her to “stop speaking” and stop writing books, but Matthews rebutted her, saying, “No, she said you should stop being so negative to people individually.”
When her first two attempts to spin the situation faulted, Coulter then launched into another baseless, personal attack, accusing John Edwards of “bankrupting doctors by giving a shyster Las Vegas routine in front of juries…doing these psychic routines in front of illiterate juries to bankrupt doctors who now can’t deliver babies.”
MATTHEWS: You know who’s on the line? Someone to respond to what you said about Edwards yesterday morning. Elizabeth Edwards. She wanted to call in today, we said she could. Elizabeth Edwards, go on the line. You’re on the line with Ann Coulter.
E: Hello Chris.
M: Do you want to say something directly to the person who’s with me?
E: I’m calling — you know, in the south, when someone does something that displeases us, we want to ask them politely to stop doing it. I would like to ask Ann Coulter to — if she wants to debate on issues, on positions — we certainly disagree with nearly everything she said on your show today — but it is quite another matter for these personal attacks. The things that she has said over the years, not just about John but about other candidates, lowers our political dialogue precisely at the time that we need to raise it. So I want to use the opportunity, which I don’t get much because Ann and I don’t hang out with the same people…
C: I don’t have enough money.
E: …to ask her politely stop the personal attacks.
C: Okay, so I made a joke, let’s see, six months ago, and as you point out, they have been raising money off of it for six months since then.
M: But this is yesterday morning, what you said about him.
C: I didn’t say anything about him, actually, either time.
E: But that — Ann, Ann, you know that’s not true, and once more, this has been going on for some time.
C: And I don’t mind you trying to raise money. It’s better this than giving $50,000 speeches to the poor just to use my name on the webpages. But as for a debate with me, yeah, sure. Yeah, we’ll have a debate.
E: I’m asking you politely to stop, to stop personal attacks –
C: How about you stop raising money on your web page then? No, you don’t have to because I don’t mind.
E: I did not start with that. You had a column a number of years ago where you suggested — wait till I finish talking please…
C: Okay, the wife of a presidential candidate is calling in asking me to stop speaking.
M: Let her finish the point. Let her finish the point.
C: You’re asking me to stop speaking? “Stop writing your columns. Stop writing your books.”
M: Ann, please.
E: You had a column several years ago which made fun of the moment of Charlie Dean’s death and suggested that my husband had a bumper sticker on the back of his car saying, “Ask me about my dead son.” This is not legitimate political dialogue.
C: This is now three years ago.
E: It debases political dialogue. It drives people away from the process. We can’t have a debate about the issues.
C: Yeah, why isn’t John Edwards making this call?
M: Well, do you want to respond? We’ll end the conversation.
E: I haven’t talked to John about this call. I’m making the call as a mother. I’m the mother of that boy who died. My children participate — these young people behind you are the age of my children. You’re asking them to participate in a dialogue that is based on hatefulness and ugliness instead of on the issues, and I don’t think that’s serving them or this country very well.
M: Thank you very much Elizabeth. You wanna respond? You have all the time in the world to respond.
C: I think we heard all we need to hear. The wife of a presidential candidate is asking me to stop speaking. No.
M: No, she asked you to stop being so negative to people individually.
C: Right, as opposed to bankrupting doctors by giving a schyster Las Vegas routine in front of juries based on science — wait, you said I’d have as long as I would have, then you instantly interrupt me.
M: Go ahead, go ahead.
C: As I was saying, doing these psychic routines in front of illiterate juries to bankrupt doctors who now can’t deliver babies, and to charge a poverty group $50,000 for a speech. Don’t talk to me about how to use language.
E: …the language of hate, and I’m going to ask you again to politely stop using personal attacks as part of your dialogue.
C: Okay, I’ll stop writing books.
E: If you can’t write them without them, that is fine.
M: Why do you call out Hillary’s chubby legs in your book? Why do you — this may fall under the category of personal attacks, I don’t know, but why do you do that? Why do you talkabout Monica Lewinsky’s chubbiness? If she were skinny, would it have been okay?
C: Um, I don’t know, read the sentence.
E: I read the whole sentence. I couldn’t feel the context.
C: Well you have to give it to me and I could explain.
E: Why do you make fun of Hillary’s chubby legs?
C: I don’t know, you’re going to have to give me the sentence.
M: It’s in the afterword of your book, I just read it this morning.
C: Then read the sentence.
M: We’ll be back and read the entire sentence. We’ll come right back. I don’t know why we’re reading — the full intellectual context will be coming in just a moment.