During an interview on the June 27 edition of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck, right-wing pundit Ann Coulter defended a controversial remark she made about Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards during the 2007 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) by claiming, “I wasn't saying it on TV. I was saying it at a right-wing political convention with 7,000 college Republicans. I didn't put it on TV.” In fact, Coulter's March 2 CPAC speech -- during which she said she couldn't “really talk about” Edwards because “you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot' ” -- aired on C-SPAN, like many of the other speeches at the conference. Moreover, Coulter has previously used the epithet “on TV.” Indeed, during the July 27, 2006, edition of MSNBC's Hardball, she referred to former Vice President Al Gore as a “total fag.”
Additionally, in response to host Glenn Beck's question regarding whether or not she thinks the word “faggot” is a “slur,” Coulter defended her use of the term by claiming that “liberals don't mind” that comedian Sarah Silverman has used it. She said, “I think it's a comedic word, a schoolyard word. Sarah Silverman uses the word, and, oh, liberals don't mind it when she uses it.” Coulter went on to argue that "[t]he word means wimp, wuss, pathetic." In March, amid the controversy over her CPAC speech, Coulter similarly defended her use of the term, calling it a “schoolyard taunt” that “means wussy,” as Media Matters for America noted.
Coulter also criticized Beck for bleeping the word “faggot” when he aired a video clip of her CPAC comments. She said, “I like that you're bleeping that now. Are you also bleeping 'illegal alien' and 'amnesty,' other words we're not supposed to use? ... 'Niggardly?'”
Indeed, although Beck referred to the word “faggot” as a “slur” and bleeped it on June 27, the weblog Think Progress noted that during the January 22 edition of his show, Beck discussed actor Isaiah Washington's use of the word and referred to it simply as a “naughty name.” He asked: "[W]hat is the controversy? One of the guys called another guy a naughty name." Moreover, while Beck's program bleeped the word in the CPAC clip, on January 22 Beck criticized The New York Times for not putting the word into print. He stated: “Do you know that The New York Times wouldn't even print -- I mean, we could say the word. We're having an adult conversation here -- wouldn't even print the word 'faggot.' I find that amazing.”
Coulter's reference to Gore as a “total fag” on Hardball came after host Chris Matthews asked her, “How do you know that [former President] Bill Clinton is gay?” -- referring to her comment the night before on the July 26, 2006, edition of CNBC's The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch that Clinton “show[s] some level of latent homosexuality.” Coulter responded, “I don't know if he's gay. But Al Gore -- total fag.” She went on to defend her theory about Clinton's sexuality by stating that “everyone has always known, widely promiscuous heterosexual men have, as I say, a whiff of the bathhouse about them.” Coulter claimed she was “just kidding” about Gore, but said of her theory about Clinton, “It's not only not a joke, it's not even surprising.”
From the June 27 edition of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: I have said things on the air that have been taken out of context, they have been twisted. I've said things that just -- foot in the mouth, just stupid, stupid things.
This question on ABC and -- and this is the one thing that I haven't understood, and I wanted to talk to you about it personally -- this question that you answered on Good Morning America, and I think answered well, was -- stemmed from a comment that you made about John Edwards at a speech. And I want to play the clip. Here's the clip.
COULTER [video clip]: I was going to have 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 [bleep]. So --
BECK: So, you --
COULTER: -- I like that you're bleeping that now. Are you also bleeping “illegal alien” and “amnesty,” other words we're not supposed to use?
BECK: Well, one is a --
BECK: One is a slur. One is a slur. Do you believe -- do you believe that word is a slur?
BECK: You don't?
COULTER: No. No, I think it's a comedic word, a schoolyard word. Sarah Silverman uses the word, and, oh, liberals don't mind it when she uses it.
COULTER: And by the way, I wasn't saying it on TV. I was saying it at a right-wing political convention with 7,000 college Republicans. I didn't put it on TV.
BECK: OK, well -- but that doesn't necessarily -- I don't want to get into that. Here's -- here's what it --
COULTER: You don't think it makes a difference what the venue is? There's nothing you'd say in front of a group of college Republicans that you wouldn't say on TV? I doubt that.
BECK: No, there really isn't. I mean, I do comedy tours and I say, because you live in the -- you live in the world of YouTube now, where you know you're going to -- somebody's going to take it and spin it out of context, et cetera, et cetera. But I don't understand the joke. Can you -- was it --
COULTER: Well, you're going back six months. This was a week after Isaiah Washington, the actor --
BECK: I know, I understand that. But what is the connection --
COULTER: -- was sent to rehab for using the word.
BECK: I got that. But what's the connection to John Edwards?
COULTER: I had just done five minutes on Obama, five minutes on Hillary. I needed to end my speech, so I just threw in, “I can't say anything about him because I can't use this word.” The word means wimp, wuss, pathetic --
COULTER: That's what it means.
BECK: Got it.
COULTER: And someone who does, you know, the Las Vegas routine before illiterate juries in order to bankrupt doctors with junk science -- admitted by The New York Times to be junk science --
COULTER: -- is precisely what that word means, which is why 7,000 college Republicans laughed.
BECK: Ann Coulter, author of Godless: The Church of Liberalism.