October 27th, 2012
12:10 AM ET
8 years ago

Coulter stands by use of controversial word to describe Obama

(CNN) - Conservative commentator Ann Coulter stood by her decision to call President Barack Obama the "r word" in a tweet, and questioned whether the word is indeed offensive.

"Maybe [Vice President Joe] Biden should be upset with me calling the president a retard but not an actually disabled person," she said Friday in an interview on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight."

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Coulter was addressing a tweet she sent following the third presidential debate between Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

"I highly approve of Romney's decision to be kind and gentle to the retard," she posted to the social networking site.

She said in the interview she chose the word "because it's a synonym for 'loser.' " She professed to have used the word since.

Among the reaction to her post was a slew of critical tweets, as well as a blog post addressed to her by Special Olympic athlete John Franklin Stephens that went viral.

"Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren't dumb and you aren't shallow. So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult?" he wrote in the letter. "I'm a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public's perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow. I am not either of those things, but I do process information more slowly than the rest of you. In fact it has taken me all day to figure out how to respond to your use of the R-word last night."

Stephens appeared separately on "Piers Morgan Tonight" Friday.

"The word retard is offensive, and that I should not be a symbol for someone who is dumb and shallow," he said. "If they wanted to use me as a symbol, use me as a symbol for someone who fights adversity."

Coulter said "language police" were dictating what words should and should not be used, and denied the term was offensive at all.

"It's offensive according to whom? Moron, idiot, cretin, imbecile, these were exactly like retard, once technical terms to describe people with mental disabilities," she said. "Changing the word doesn't change the definition. I was not referring to someone with down syndrome. I was referring to the president of the United States."

In addition, those who are offended by the word have little ground, she suggested.

"No disabled people are saying it, the spokesmen for the disabled," she said.

Pressed on whether the word bore a stigma similar to another offensive word - the n word - she said, "I wouldn't use the n word because it's a curse word."

Filed under: 2012 • Ann Coulter • President Obama
soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. squoose

    Yes, its Coulter's place to determine for everyone else if the term is offensive, despite the reaction to it proving it actually is quite offensive. If she meant loser, she should have said loser. She didn't... and that is because in context the term loser wouldn't make much sense and wouldn't have the same sting. In fact its a synonym for loser specifically because people with disabilities are seen by people horrible enough to use such terms to refer to another human being as losers. Otherwise, she wouldn't have used that term. She would have chosen another term, and her response to the controversy shows she knew exactly what she was saying... and meant it.

    October 27, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  2. Cooramoor

    Get em Anne! Aboutsolutely hilarious.

    October 27, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  3. Sane Person

    Ahh, the loving christian right. If they stopped name calling or demanding the cessation of equality for others, we'd never hear from them.

    October 27, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  4. Ray Christensen

    The fact Ann Coulter would call the President Obama a "retard" speaks volumes about her lack of credulity.
    Tis she who is mindlessly offensive.

    October 27, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  5. Susan Maddern

    How can they put someone like Ann Couiter on their show and allow her to Disrepect the President like that. She should be ashamed of herself but I have heard her before and she doesn't care and she certainly is no role model to young people in this country!

    October 27, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  6. Charles

    Easy. Coulter makes money by being offensive. If she were to present calm, reasoned arguments, no one would listen to her. She's a professional troll.

    October 27, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  7. Aaron Thall

    Wow. Hateful commentary from a hateful woman. What a SHOCKING development. In other news, water is wet and children enjoy cartoons.

    October 27, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  8. Ray Christensen

    The fact Anne Coulter would call President Obama a "retard" speaks volumes about her lack of credulity.
    She lacks sense and disgraces any cause she believes she represents.

    October 27, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  9. Judith Hennen

    Ann Coulter and persons in the public eye have a responsibility to keep political discourse on an intelligent level. To refer to somone as a retard is a personal attack. Of course it is offensive! Funny how Coulter is treated as if she is a person with any credentials at all the way she smugly attacks people personally. This woman has found a way to make a living selling an offensive persona to the "he said she said" crowd. Too often that crowd includes the media. I cannot imagine President Obama being this discourteous.

    October 27, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  10. Lee

    A Harvard law student and president of the Harvard Law Review, and a man who would later become President of The United States– most certainly does not fit the definition of neither retard or loser.


    October 27, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  11. Sueb

    Ann Coulter is vile and thrives on that. She should be ignored and not encouraged.....she should also be fired; but as she speaks for Fox news, that will never happen.

    October 27, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  12. Antique-republican

    Why is this woman even in the news ? She insults people, nations, religions and humanity. She represents a very low intellect -sort of the basal reflex of the lower human brain

    October 27, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  13. John Johnson

    Wow... What happened to supporting the office of the President? I didn't like it when Bush was called names, but it seems she is only out to sell more books. I hope her 15 min's of fame when soon end. I keep hearing that she is a church going lady, really? Would Jesus going around calling people names and showing no respect to his fellow American's. What has happened to our country?

    October 27, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  14. Dnick47

    She is nothing but a hat monger... ban her from the airways and dis-bar her husband.

    October 27, 2012 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  15. John

    People like her Is what wrong with the Republican Party now, and why a lot of people are leaving the Republican party. It seem they are all going Nuts.

    October 27, 2012 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  16. rtbrno65

    Coulter is just out to generate attention towards herself and nothing else. She has found a lucrative living and a little niche for herself by spouting off Republican bile and behaving like a seventh grade bully. As long as she keeps making money doing it she's not going to stop, and why should she? Stop buying her books and watching her on TV and she'll go away.

    October 27, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  17. chuck

    Why does CNN televise this incredibly unstable woman-she is so sick. The merdia should stop clips on murdock, Akin, Allen and palin-they are all extremeists nuts and evryone knows it. ENOUGH ALREADY. Coulter said a few months ago "if we (GOP) can't beat Obama this elkection the GOP should quit and go away. We;ll Anne it is time to go away .

    October 27, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  18. mind your manners

    Dear Ms. Coulter, as the saying goes. you are what you speak.

    October 27, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  19. Larry

    Only a republican would stoop to calling the President of the USA names. It speaks again to the lack of intelligence in the republican base that name calling is an effective way to get their attention. Mentally disabled is a term that could be used to describe most republicans.

    October 27, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  20. Vaughn

    Ms Ann will be 51 on the 8th of December. Thankfully, she is too old to reproduce.

    October 27, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  21. traductio2

    Ms. Coulter, like many Romney surrogates, rely on verbal violence when they can't rely on facts.
    Romney has flipped on every key issue demonstrating that he has no true conviction, rather an opportunistic approach to do whatever it takes to be elected.
    I would rather have a retard that is deliberative and takes into account the well being of the MAJORITY of the people rather than someone who makes choices on convenience!

    October 27, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  22. Rhonda

    Why do we give low life, evil people like this woman and Donald Trump airtime? They are beyond the worst of the worst of the worst human beings on this earth!

    October 27, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  23. Kevin

    This woman is such a turnoff, I simply can't stand to listen to people like her and the flux republicans any more. I will vote for Obama and hopefully the republicans can get their party straightened out one day, if not then maybe they will just fade away.

    October 27, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  24. Vaughn

    Another thought on Ms Ann. She is 51 going on 13.

    October 27, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  25. Lockerius

    I am by no means an Ann Coulter fan, but her ex-husband regularly calls Romney much worse on his show "Real Time with Bill Maher."

    How do I know? I watch that show religulously!

    October 27, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
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