June 28th, 2007
02:03 PM ET
12 years ago

Elizabeth Edwards: Why I called Coulter

Watch Edwards talk about her on-air clash with Ann Coulter.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Elizabeth Edwards brushed off suggestions Thursday that it is a "double standard" to criticize conservative commentator Ann Coulter while using her controversial comments in fundraising solicitations.

John Edwards' presidential campaign has featured conservative commentator Ann Coulter on its Web site to raise campaign cash, just as the important June 30 deadline to collect second quarter campaign contributions quickly approaches.

"We're asking you to reject this kind of politics and this is what we're asking you to embrace - ideas, visions, positive discussion and, frankly, I want people to be engaged in the process," Edwards told CNN's John Roberts on American Morning.

On Tuesday, Edwards called into MSNBC's Hardball, where Ann Coulter was a guest, to directly confront the best-selling author on recent controversial comments about her husband, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards.

“It debases political dialogue,” Elizabeth Edwards said of the comments in the on-air clash. “It drives people away from the process. We can’t have a debate about issues if you’re using this kind of language.”

When asked why she made the call instead of her husband, Edwards told CNN it wasn't a planned "campaign call."

"I didn't talk to John about calling Ann Coulter," Edwards said. "I got on the phone when I was watching her. I knew to suspect that she was going to say something because she said something the day before, or the day before that, on ABC. So I was listening to see."

Appearing on ABC’s Good Morning America Monday, Coulter joked “If I’m going to say anything about John Edwards in the future, I’ll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot.”

On that program, Coulter was referencing the firestorm following her March comments, in which she referred to the North Carolina Democrat as “a faggot” at the Conservative Political Action Committee conference held in Washington. She claimed that, during the same period of time, liberal television host Bill Maher “was not joking” when he said that “he wished Dick Cheney had been killed in a terrorist attack.” According to Coulter, Maher didn’t take the same heat for his comments that she did for hers.

In addition to promoting the latest war of words, Edwards’s campaign posted both Coulter’s comments in March and earlier this week on their Web site, next to banner asking supporters for donations to stop “right wing attacks.”

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: John Edwards
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Steve Savage, Oklahoma City, OK

    If Ann Coulter is the best of what the GOP punditry has to offer, imagine what is the WORST!

    I cringe when I hear my conservative friends talk about Coulter, Hannity, Limbaugh, Malkin and others in such a positive light. Has the GOP gone collectively mad? Whatever happened to civilized discourse. Even in the 70's at the height of the protest age, commentators and pundits would respect those they talked about. They stuck to issues.
    The only thing liberals are guilty of is calling out the conservative maniacs on the carpet to explain why they say such insane things.

    June 28, 2007 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  2. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    We can't really hear from the liberal pundits because "snicker, snicker" their radio station went bankrupt.

    Now Diane Feinstein and Dick Durbin and Jawn Kerry are crying that we need the government to intervene and make people listen to us. Crazy as hell, but true.

    Not a big fan of Rush or Coulter as I don't think they need to be so mean spirited when making a point. Don't lump Hannitty and Malkin in the same group as they just hammer liberals with the facts and they can't take it.

    The best is Laura Ingraham, classy, smart and totally RIGHT.

    June 28, 2007 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  3. William, Reston VA

    Cry me a river in your 30,000 square foot mansion while fighting your war on poverty. The Edwards clan epitomize hypocrisy at its worst.

    June 28, 2007 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  4. Bob Onthis

    Wow, I guess if you post a comment that make liberal women look bad, they remove the post. Or is it my last name? The Onthis family has suffered enough, CNN!

    June 28, 2007 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  5. Eric, Los Angeles, CA

    Yet another example of how inbred our Political /Corporate/ Entertainment machine is. Are we to believe that this was completely spontaneous? Hey, I don't like what a commenter just said, I'm going to quickly ring up Chris Matthews and confront that person on the air.

    Then I'm going to call all the other talk shows and go and talk about it some more. Meanwhile, I'll generate campaign ca$h dollars while helping yet another member of the club sell yet another million books. How disingenuous this whole bit of tripe is.

    These stations (CNN / FOX / MSNBC) do not exist to inform. They exist to turn a profit. How do they do that, by programming what you, whatever political stripe you are, want to hear. You must look far and wide to come up with unvarnished information to arrive at an informed opinion in today's quite biased media marketplace.

    Remember, you create your own reality. Tune in to what you want to hear!!!

    June 28, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  6. Austin, Miami

    Elizabeth Edwards is a Christian Lady, Ann Coulter is a hate-mongering pig for attention.
    To William, Reston, and Providence, RI
    If a candidate is rich, he's not allowed to care about the poor? If that's the case, will there ever be a president who cares about the poor? John Edwards grew up with very little but he made something of himself, why is he not allowed to enjoy it with his family. Edwards is just trying to give every kid in poverty the chance he had. Besides, JE is the only candidate with the guts to mention poverty, Elizabeth has the guts to disagree with her husband, JE has the guts to admit a mistake. Bad moves politically, but great demontration of courage. I think the talk about Edwards being weak is misguided. It's time to realize what real courage is.

    June 28, 2007 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  7. ReadBtwthlins

    Follow the money..

    June 28, 2007 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  8. Gail, Sacramento, CA

    After much debate with a few of my friends, we decided the only thing we can say is A.C. must not have been loved enough as a child to be so hateful.
    child – unloved -nasty – tirent!

    June 28, 2007 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  9. Michael Niconno, New York City, New York

    Ann Coulter has proven over time to engage in nothing but combative speech and shock tactics to try and remain relevant. The substance of what she says becomes a side-issue, the fact that she has the audacity to say nonsensical statements is what attracts attention.
    She is the Paris Hilton of the political commentators world, famous for nothing except for attracting attention for the wrong reasons.
    I am a Republican and a proud Conservative but her brand of vitriol has no place in American politics.
    I will not be surprised if one day she is consigned to the heap of has-been celebrities out-of-touch with reality and intoxicated by their sense of self-importance, much like Don Imus.

    June 28, 2007 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Why no mention in your column of what Ms Coulter said? I don't have a transcript, but the way I heard it, Ms Coulter wished that Mr Edwards would be killed in a terrorist attack. Is this correct? If so, explain to me the reason this so-called news site continues to give airtime and promote such a person as Ms Coulter? I am anxiously awaiting a reply.

    June 28, 2007 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  11. Brian, Hattiesburg MS

    All through my twenties I dated a girl JUST like Ann Coulter (in physical stature and build, as well as mannerisms and thought process). Whenever someone would question her actions or confront her with something questionable she said or did, she would try to shift to another (irrelevant) point that usually involved shameless ad hominem attacks.

    It might be tempting to say "oh, well, coulter is just saying whatever she can think of to sell books." After dating someone just like her, I have no hesitation in saying that Coulter probably does believe them. I tried with someone like her for over five years, and it was like talking to a brick wall - in people like that, there is no progress that can ever be made, because it's a symptom of a broken mind.

    What's also interesting is those who have observed that there must be some dark secrets in her past. That sort of logic comes about by deep, dark abuse in childhood. It's just a shame there are people who defend it.

    June 28, 2007 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  12. Ramon Pastivnych, San Marcos, Texas

    Maybe you would appear a little more knowledgeable if you could spell "John Galt" correctly. Do you even read?

    June 28, 2007 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  13. Woody Rock Hill SC

    Those who attack Edwards on his stand on poverty because he is rich should remember the president who did so much for working people, and this nation, was very wealthy and lived in a very big house called Hyde Park. I am seventy-eight years old and if it was not for one of his programs called Social Security I probably would not be alive today. And that program that Franklin Roosevelt pushed into law has been under attack by conservatives ever since its inception.

    June 28, 2007 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  14. Erin, St. Paul, MN

    I saw the clip where Coulter responded to Edwards on the phone. Here's what got me: Coulter arguing that the really offensive thing are not her comments, but that the Edwards camp would rightfully call them out and raise money off of them.

    Yes, I suppose I'd be mad if a tactic against a Democrat backfired too. Makes Coulter look like a fool (and not too far off, either.)

    The second best part: when Edwards took Coulter to task for taking cracks at the Edwards' deceased child, Coulter responded that Edwards somehow deserved it because of his position on tort reform. Tort reform? Where are the anti-choice crazies on this? Is their precious "tort reform" movement more important than the memory of a child? Apparently making a political point is the only "family value" Coulter subscribes to.

    June 28, 2007 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  15. Mary, Beaver, PA

    Ann Coulter might be a wit, but that doesn't necessarily make her intelligent. Her rude, hate-filled diatribe is just one example of how the quality of political debate has declined in this country.

    June 29, 2007 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  16. Jennifer, Houston, TX

    Do people not understand the definition of the word "hypocrisy?" John Edwards is not a hypocrite for living in a big house and advocating for the poor. If he was living the high life while suggesting the rest of us should live like paupers, that would be hypocritical. But that's not what he's doing.

    I agree with the previous poster – since when do you have to be poor to advocate for the poor? Should only the sick be allowed to talk about health care?

    June 29, 2007 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  17. Wanda, Arlee, MT

    Ann Coulter was an elf for Richard Mellon Scaffe. These elves were hired to scour Arkansas to dig up whatever dirt they could find against the Clintons. I'm assuming she's no longer on the payroll now that she's scammed so many people into buying her hate.

    She is the perfect person to promote Atheism, even better than Christopher Hitchens. With her anti-Christlike behavior while wearing a cross she speaks out bitterly against good people. I love it that the Edwards have found a way to make money off of her BS. At least now she's contributing to the good of the nation in her own way.

    June 29, 2007 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  18. Eric San Diego, CA

    What Ann Coulter is doing is picking a fight, and these are fighting words. Picking on widows of 911 victims, saying people are 'godless', and attacking people over their deceased children is a moral crime. Not too long ago people in this country we're killed for saying such things, and in many other countries they still do. Ann has crossed the line, asked for a fight, but knows she'll never be accountable for her words. As soon as someone gets their hands on her and rearranges her face – she will stop. I don't condone violence, yet it's clear it has it's purpose, as a deterrent. If Ann new she could get her face smashed for these hateful comments – she would stop. That's why she has massive security entourages when she speaks, for the protection. In any school in any place in America kids are taught the rules of the street, pick a fight and you better fight. Not Ann or the Republicans, they just run like cowards – pathetic.

    June 29, 2007 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  19. Roy, St. Paul, MN

    Elizabeth Edwards was very brave and her views resonate with the majority of Americans: people will lose interest in the process if losers like Ann Coulter debase politics with dumb-founded attacks. Coulter is a sad person; she needs to find peace with herself.

    July 17, 2007 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  20. Chris, Atlanta, GA

    Ann Coulter – it amazes me that anyone listens to her, buys her books, has any respect for her at all. I think she's a shrewish, frigid, utterly unhumpable skeleton who needs to get a real job.

    July 18, 2007 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  21. Mike Albuquerque NM

    I think It's a shame how coarse Ann Coulter is because her point gets lost. She has a habit of making extremely astute observations about the absurdities of liberal thought, but in such a way that is so infuriating that no one gets it. Heck, I agree with her and I get mad at her! I guess she's better at re-energizing wavering conservatives than converting liberals. And it is well documented that the call was planned – which means that Elizabeth LIED. Is THAT what classy women do?

    July 18, 2007 04:00 am at 4:00 am |
  22. Richard Lane, Stockholm, Sweden

    Usa has always been a barbaric nation. But you are sinking even lower.

    People with the views of Ann Coulter would probably only be heard by their mental doctors in most European countries.

    And not be rerun in mainstream media over and over again. I admire the hardworking population of the Usa. I ´ve been there twice.

    But I can only feel sorry for a nation who actually belives that 1 out of 6 citizens can be with out healthcare.

    That deathpenalty, 11000 + killings per year, invadeing countries is acceptable.

    I know there is another Usa, with the likes of Gore, Edwards, Obama, Oprah, Maher, etc.

    But you keep on voteing for people with lesser empathic abilities.

    I truely hope you will turn the tide in 08 and start building a more optimistic future.

    I do not hate Usa. I am just a bit disappointed with your political leaders.

    Good luck

    Richard Lane

    July 18, 2007 06:08 am at 6:08 am |
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