Good Morning America's Chris Cuomo interviews Coulter, promotes Godless

››› ››› KATHLEEN HENEHAN

Syndicated columnist and right-wing pundit Ann Coulter appeared on the June 25 edition of ABC's Good Morning America, asserting that she "wouldn't insult gays by comparing them to [Democratic presidential candidate] John Edwards." Coulter added that at "about the same time" as the March 2007 Conservative Political Action Conference, where she said that she "can't really talk about" Edwards because "you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot,' " HBO host Bill Maher "was not joking and saying he wished Dick Cheney had been killed in a terrorist attack." Coulter continued: "So I've learned my lesson. If I'm going to say anything about John Edwards in the future, I'll just wish he has been killed in a terrorist assassination plot."

Cuomo opened the segment by announcing that Coulter's book Godless: The Church of Liberalism (Crown Forum, June 2006) is now out in paperback and, at the end of the segment, referred viewers to ABC News' website for an excerpt of the book. As Media Matters noted, in Godless, Coulter presents "liberalism as the opposition party to God" and portrays widows of the victims of the September 11, 2001, as "enjoying their husbands' deaths."

Good Morning America co-anchor Chris Cuomo asked Coulter if the fact that "the three top [Republican] candidates" denounced her remark about Edwards was "[f]air criticism of you or a shift towards the tolerant among the GOP." Coulter answered: "No, no. ... I was denounced all over." She went on to add:

COULTER: Though about the same time Bill Maher said -- and by the way I did not call John Edwards the "F" word. I said I couldn't talk about him because you go into rehab for using that word.

When Cuomo responded: "You say -- you were joking," Coulter said:

COULTER: Oh yeah, I wouldn't insult gays by comparing them to John Edwards. That would be mean, but about the same time -- you know -- Bill Maher was not joking and saying he wished [Vice President] Dick Cheney had been killed in a terrorist attack. So I've learned my lesson. If I'm going to say anything about John Edwards in the future, I'll just wish he has been killed in a terrorist assassination plot.

Coulter's claim that Maher said "he wished Dick Cheney had been killed in a terrorist attack" is a reference to a statement on the March 2, 2007, edition of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher. During a discussion of comments deleted from a Huffington Post weblog entry regarding Cheney's proximity in February in Afghanistan to a suicide bomb attack, Maher claimed to be "quot[ing]" when he said, "But I have zero doubt that if Dick Cheney was not in power, people wouldn't be dying needlessly tomorrow." Maher later went on to say, "I'm just saying that if he did die -- other people -- more people would live. That's a fact." In a March 5 entry on The Huffington Post, Maher wrote:

[W]hat I said Friday -- and what I believe -- is that the Vice President has presided over a bungled execution of a war in which thousands of our bravest continue to die. And I believe that were he not in power, our troops would likely come home sooner. But I don't wish him dead.

On Good Morning America, Cuomo later asked Coulter whether Republicans can win the 2008 presidential race "if the war ... dominates the election." Coulter unequivocally answered:

COULTER: Yes, I mean, that's the one thing I think Bush has done well. He's like another president in that way -- FDR. I think he's been magnificent on the war, and on domestic policy has been an embarrassment.

Though Coulter did say that "this immigration bill" is "causing a lot of troubles" and that "Bush, and some number of senators and congressmen are just, you know -- let ["the illegals"] eat cake," she continued: "But I do think what he's done in the war on terrorism remains spectacular, as FDR fought Hitler, and you must give him credit for that." After Cuomo remarked: "You really don't hear a lot of comparing George Bush to Franklin Delano Roosevelt," Coulter continued:

COULTER: I really think it is the accurate historical comparison. I mean, if you look at what's going on with Social Security now, we have completely mortgaged our future. Bush did try and do something about it, and I give him credit for that. Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be paying for all these huge Ponzi schemes; socialist programs that FDR put in place. Most economists agree that the Depression would have been over by around '36 if there had been no government intervention, but the one thing you have to say about FDR is he fought World War II.

From the June 25 edition of ABC's Good Morning America:

CUOMO: Joining us now is political commentator Ann Coulter, whose book Godless: the Church of -- Lisv -- Liberalism -- what did I almost say there? -- Liberalism -- is out in paperback. There it is. A conservative's conservative, she's had some tough words lately for her own party.

But to begin with the tough words, some tough words for you by the three top candidates in response to what you had said. Some were calling it a homosexual slur. You said it was a taunt. They all came out when you were talking about [former Sen.] John Edwards [D-NC] and said, "This was wrong. We must deny it." Fair criticism of you or a shift towards the tolerant among the GOP?

COULTER: No, no. They were -- I was denounced all over. All over. I think the one that hurt the most was from I'm a little girl in a pink party dress.com. Very upsetting.

CUOMO: Why?

COULTER: Though about the same time Bill Maher said -- and by the way, I did not call John Edwards the "F" word. I said I couldn't talk about him because you go into rehab for using that word.

CUOMO: You say you were -- you were joking.

COULTER: Oh yeah, I wouldn't insult gays by comparing them to John Edwards. That would be mean. But about the same time -- you know -- Bill Maher was not joking and saying he wished Dick Cheney had been killed in a terrorist attack. So I've learned my lesson. 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.

CUOMO: So let's get off of you, but let's get your view on what's going on with the party right now. You hear what the speculation is. You know what the poll numbers are. The talk is, the party's in trouble. How do you see it?

COULTER: I don't think so. I mean, this should be -- I think the Democrats do start with a little bit of an advantage in the next presidential election because you always do if you've been out of power for eight years. But I do sort of get the sense now that there is -- you know -- people reaching across the partisan divide, the country is unified. Bush really is a uniter because we're all just waiting for this nincompoop to be gone. I think we all finally are on the same page on that.

CUOMO: Do you believe if war is the main issue that the Republicans can win? Can you win if that dominates the election?

COULTER: Yes. I mean, that's the one thing I think Bush has done well. He's like another president in that way -- FDR. I think he's been magnificent on the war, and on domestic policy has been an embarrassment. We'll see what happens with this immigration bill, but that's -- that's causing a lot of troubles, not just among his base, as you always hear, but among Democrats and independents. The whole country is in a rage about this -- this amnesty for illegals, and Bush and some number of senators and congressmen are just, you know, "let them eat cake," pushing this through, and that's causing troubles. But I do think what he's done in the war on terrorism remains spectacular, as FDR fought Hitler, and you must give him credit for that, though he nearly wrecked the country with the New Deal and various socialist policies.

CUOMO: You don't hear a lot of comparing George Bush to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Is that something new? Are you trying something out here?

COULTER: That's why you invite me on the program, Chris.

COUMO: Is that? Is that -- so Bush is FDR? That's -- that's what --

COULTER: I really think it is the accurate historical comparison. I mean, if you look at what's going on with Social Security now, we have completely mortgaged our future. Bush did try and do something about it, and I give him credit for that. Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be paying for all these huge Ponzi schemes; socialist programs that FDR put in place. Most economists agree that the Depression would have been over by around '36 if there had been no government intervention, but the one thing you have to say about FDR is he fought World War II.

CUOMO: All right, so listen, I still don't get it, but you can tell me afterwards. Let's get into who you have to carry the flag here. [Former New York Mayor Rudy] Giuliani [R] does not seem like a Republican's Republican: pro-choice, pro-gay rights, pro-gun control, but the early front-runner. What does that mean? Is the party changing, or does the party just not have a good leader?

COULTER: Well it has been at least a couple of years since Rudy has appeared on Saturday Night Live in drag, so -- so -- that's good. He has only one ex-wife who has appeared in The Vagina Monologues, so those are the pros. I mean, we'll see what happens. I think it is so early right now --

CUOMO: It is. It is.

COULTER: -- I don't really trust the polls.

CUOMO: It is. Now, who do you like this early on? You have Rudy, you have [Sen.] John McCain [R-AZ], maybe [Former Sen.] Fred Thomson [R-TN], [Former Gov.] Mitt Romney [R-MA], trying to get out of his own way, but who do you like in the field?

COULTER: My favorite candidate is Nicolas Sarkozy, the president of France.

CUOMO: Can he run -- when he's in France?

COULTER: Actually, my favorite candidate is [Rep.] Duncan Hunter [R-CA], and he is magnificent. The problem is most people say, "Who's Duncan Hunter?" He's a genuine war hero. He has one son, I think, in Iraq, one in Afghanistan. He is good on every single issue. He has been out front on building a wall. He did build a wall at San Diego. He's very good on -- on the life issue. He's good on everything.

CUOMO: But he's not here -- pick one of these. You think Fred comes in and takes it? You think it's McCain?

COULTER: Well, then, I'm back to Nicola [sic] So -- Sarkozy.

CUOMO: Can't be him. He's not an American. You must be an American and he is not.

COULTER: Oh, drat.

CUOMO: Do you think Fred comes in and champions the day? Do you think John McCain holds it?

COULTER: I think he's kind of our [Sen. Barack] Obama [D-IL], which is to say --

CUOMO: Interesting.

COULTER: -- it just shows how unhappy we are with McCain, Giuliani and Romney that -- that Thompson steps in. People know very little about him and "Oh, he's our guy," and it's sort of like that with Obama, that the Democrats aren't happy with their leading candidate, [Sen.] Hillary [Rodham Clinton (D-NY)], so they gravitate to Obama knowing nothing about him, and him being, you know, 14 years old.

CUOMO: But as we both know, we like to play with the names because that's the candy, but really it comes down to the message. The GOP, the Democrats are going to have to have a message to persuade the American people, especially in these tough times, abroad and at home. Interestingly, GOP candidates are talking about a president, not Bush -- even though he's in office: Reagan. Let's take a listen.

GIULIANI: [video clip] We have the moral strength to be able to explain it to them, in the way Ronald Reagan was able to do with communism.

MCCAIN: [video clip] And as Ronald Reagan said, "a shining city on the hill."

ROMNEY: [video clip] The model for how the Republican party wins is who? Ronald Reagan.

CUOMO: Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan. Separating from Bush; moving towards Reagan. What's the strategy?

COULTER: As irritated as I am with George Bush for this amnesty plan, I do have to point out -- I looked this up because I heard people pointing this out, everybody citing Reagan, not Bush -- I looked up who people were citing -- who the Republicans were citing in 1988. They were not citing Ronald Reagan then. Everyone was -- you know -- the mainstream media was so ginned up about the sleaze, the sleaze, the sleaze factor, and on [former Reagan administration Attorney General Edwin] Meese, and Iran-Contra, and so I think the lesson of this is just do the right thing, be a right-winger, and in 10 years they'll be citing you.

CUOMO: And the message for you is you believe the party's got to stay true to its roots, even if the candidates are a little, let's say, unorthodox for the party. Stick to what the main message is. That's what gets you home?

COULTER: Yes. I mean, The New York Times this weekend had an op-ed piece this weekend with a woman -- Melissa [sic: Melinda] Henneberger, I think it is -- saying the Democrats have got to stop being pro-choice. You are losing as long as you keep making abortion your big issue. I hope Democrats don't listen to her, but I hope Republicans notice. This is a winning issue for us: protecting little babies.

CUOMO: If Rudy's your front-runner, though, that'll be a nice fight in the house.

COULTER: I think he might not be the front-runner for that reason. I mean, we'll see, but I think that's going to be a tough one.

CUOMO: Ann Coulter, always appreciate having you in the chair.

COULTER: Thank you. Great to be here.

CUOMO: Thank you for coming. To read an excerpt from Ann Coulter's book, go to our website at ABCNews.com.

Network/Outlet
ABC
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Chris Cuomo
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Good Morning America
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Propaganda/Noise Machine
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