RUSH: I’m getting a lot of e-mails, ‘When are you going to talk about this Ann Coulter thing with Chris Matthews?’ Yes, we’ve got audio sound bites about it. I just want to say one thing about this, well, maybe a couple things about this. If you don’t know what happened which is not hard to understand because it was on Hardball and nobody watches that show in great numbers, we’ll have some audio and we’ll get to it at some point. I don’t know when, Mike, so don’t panic setting it up. It’s not going to be any time soon. But just a clear setup. It was like when George H. W. Bush back in the ’90 campaign was on Larry King Live and Stephanopoulos called in and started arguing. George H. W. Bush is a guest, he’d been invited on, and he was ambushed by George Stephanopoulos. King is out there acting all surprised that Stephanopoulos got through. I know how these things work, because I, ladies and gentlemen, have been on these shows and have been ambushed too. That’s why I don’t do these things, it’s not productive.
Ann Coulter was clearly ambushed. If you listen to the transcript and you listen to what Elizabeth Edwards said when she called in, it was a script she was reading. Now they’ve put out a fundraising letter on their website and in an e-mail, because the Edwards campaign is foundering, the Edwards campaign is in trouble. They need money. Look, it’s easy, you go on television, you finish, and somebody says, ‘You know what you shoulda said,’ and sometimes I’ve resented that, but if I would have been on that show last night and been ambushed by a guy’s wife, the guy doesn’t have the guts to call himself. By the way, to skewer Ann Coulter for bringing up the death of their son, Wade, they’re the ones that exploit their son’s death. I’ve got two pages of websites and links that I can establish and prove that these two are the ones exploiting their own son’s death. But here’s the thing. If I’m Ann Coulter what I coulda said or woulda said, ‘Well, what is this? This is interesting, Chris, here I am as a guest on a national cable show hosted by you, a notorious left-winger, I am appearing willingly, even though I don’t suspect ambushes like this, I’m not surprised that you’ve set one up. Yet Mrs. Edwards, so glad you called, so nice to talk to you, so nice that your husband has your skirt to hide behind. Your husband refuses to appear on Fox News in any format because he considers them hostile, he considers them invalid, and yet he sends you out to criticize me because I’m appearing on an enemy network. So nice to have you call in, Mrs. Edwards, so that your husband can send you out to fight his battles. This is some presidential quality that he is displaying here by having you go out and do this.’ That’s one of the things that I would have said. It’s easy to come up with this stuff after the fact. I’m not being critical of Ann Coulter. She’s my vice president on the 1/2 Hour News Hour on the Fox News Channel, and, you know, when I’m down in Cabo Wabo, sometimes she’s running the country.
Matthews is all over television today trying to score ratings out of all of this. Ann Coulter got all kinds of applause for her comments last night, and Matthews couldn’t believe that. So he started treating these people as a bunch of Neanderthals and just like the way he was talking about Tennesseans during the election last November, when that Harold Ford ad was running, (paraphrasing) ‘When they’re sitting there in the tavern at midnight on Friday drinking the long necks, when that ad comes on what do you think they’re going to think?’ These elitist snobs set up this ambush and so forth, and Ann did not waver from it whatsoever. It was cool. It was good. I mean, what Matthews said when she got applause last night, Matthews said, ‘What do we have, a Deliverance audience here?’ Incest, southern hayseed hicks, rolling down the river, Creedence Clearwater Revival, 1968, Proud Mary.
RUSH: We’ll get to the sound bites now, because I didn’t want to leave you hanging on this. Ann Coulter was set up on Hardball last night. Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of the Democrat presidential candidate, John Edwards, the Breck Girl, called in to implore Ann Coulter to stop being mean. They wanted her to be nice, stop the personal attacks. I have comments on that aspect of it, but let’s just go straight to the audio, and I want to set a couple things up that happened on Hardball last night with something that happened Monday on Good Morning America. The cohost of that show, Chris Cuomo, was talking to Ann Coulter. He said, ‘You said that you were joking about John Edwards and using that slur against gays, the F-word.’
COULTER: Oh, yeah, I wouldn’t — 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.
RUSH: Now, let’s go back, March 2nd, Real Time with Bill Maher. His guests were Barney Frank, Joe Scarborough. They’re discussing comments posted on the Huffington Post expressing regret that the supposed assassination attempt in Afghanistan in February on Vice President Cheney failed. Here’s a portion of that exchange.
MAHER: But I have zero doubt that if Dick Cheney was not in power, people wouldn’t be dying needlessly tomorrow.
SCARBOROUGH: If someone on this panel said that they wished that Dick Cheney had been blown up, and you didn’t say…
FRANK: I think he did.
SCARBOROUGH: Okay. Did you say…
MAHER: No, no. I quoted that.
FRANK: You don’t believe that?
MAHER: I’m just saying if he did die, other people, more people would live.
RUSH: The instance here was an assassination plot against Cheney, there’s Bill Maher — and of course nobody wants Bill Maher to shut up. Only he did get fired by ABC for some comments. But all this Fairness Doctrine talk and all of this — of course he’s on cable so it doesn’t apply, but all the mean-spirited attacks, Maher somehow always escapes these criticisms, always does. So now let’s move forward to last night on Hardball. During the interview with Ann Coulter, Elizabeth Edwards called in to the show and it was set up with NBC that she would call in. Coulter was sandbagged. She was set up, didn’t know it, but it didn’t faze her. Chris Matthews says to Elizabeth after she called in, ‘Do you want to say something directly to the person who’s with me?’
ELIZABETH EDWARDS: In the South, when someone does something that displeases us, we ask them politely to stop doing it. I’d like to ask Ann Coulter, too, if she wants to debate on issues, on positions, we certainly disagree with nearly everything she said on your show today, but it’s quite another matter to — for these personal attacks, the things that she has said over the years not just about John, but about other candidates, it lowers our — our — 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, to ask her politely to stop the personal attacks.
COULTER: Okay, so I made a joke, let’s see, six months ago, and as you point out, they’ve been raising money off of it for six months.
RUSH: Right. Now, what’s going on here is obvious, is it not? This is just as I had a caller the other day, you are responsible for the Hispanics in this country not voting Republican, you’re mean, you’re not nice, and you’re hateful rhetoric, and is this the same thing now. In fact, I think this has Fairness Doctrine implications. I think that this attitude from Elizabeth Edwards, you’re too mean, you need to stop saying things the way you are saying them. Meanwhile, all the viciousness that comes out of the mouths of Democrats is never mentioned. They then had this exchange with one another.
COULTER: I didn’t say anything about him actually either time.
ELIZABETH EDWARDS: Ann, you know — you know that’s not true, and once more, it’s been going on for some time —
COULTER: 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 web pages, but as for a debate with me, yeah, sure, we’ll have a debate.
ELIZABETH EDWARDS: I’m asking you politely to stop — stop personal attacks —
COULTER: How about you start raising money on the web page, then? No, you don’t have to, because I don’t mind.
ELIZABETH: It did not start with that. You had a column a number of years ago —
COULTER: Okay, the wife of a presidential candidate is calling in asking me to stop speaking? You’re asking me to stop speaking? Stop writing your columns. Stop writing your books.
ELIZABETH: — 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 that said, ‘Ask me about my dead son.’
COULTER: That’s — now — three years ago.
ELIZABETH: — dialogue. It debases political dialogue, it draws people away from the process.
RUSH: The fact of the matter is, it’s the Edwards themselves, folks, have been exploiting the death of his son, not Ann Coulter. I’ve got two pages here of examples, web links, quotes of the Edwardses doing this. What I would have said is, ‘You know, this is really cool, Mrs. Edwards. Your husband doesn’t have the guts to go on Fox. He’s running for president. That’s not very presidential. Sends you out, he hides behind your skirt, yet here I am with a liberal on a liberal cable network, not afraid to take your phone call. I’m more qualified to be president than your husband.’
RUSH: I just saw that the Breck Girl is going to be on Hardball tonight on MSNBC, which begs a couple of questions. ‘Are we going to be more interested in what he has to say or what his wife has to say?’ and, ‘I wonder if they’ll let Ann Coulter call in and sandbag John Edwards just as she was sandbagged last night by Mrs. Edwards?’ Let’s go back in time, shall we? Let’s go back to our audio archives, October 5th, 2004, Cleveland, Ohio, a presidential debate.
THE BRECK GIRL: I think the vice president and his wife love their daughter. I think they love her very much. And you can’t have anything but respect for the fact that they’re willing to talk about the fact that they have a gay daughter.
RUSH: Now, what is that? Kerry did the same thing, and then here came the Breck Girl. That was a vicious personal attack, and it was aimed at the Republican Christian conservative base, who these clowns thought maybe didn’t know that the vice president and his wife had a gay daughter, and it’s all couched in this (Breck Girl impression), ‘I think the vice president, wife, love their daughter. I think they love her very much, but I…’ whatever he said. The day after this comment, the Breck Girl then sent out his wife, Elizabeth, to bash the Cheneys again. This was on ABC Radio Network. Jim Hickey interviewed Elizabeth Edwards on October 14th. This comment is about Lynne Cheney’s remarks about Kerry’s comments about Mary Cheney.
ELIZABETH: I think that it indicates, uh, a certain degree of shame with respect to, uh, her daughter’s, uhhh, sexual preferences.
RUSH: Well, a little tag-team action going on here. The Breck Girl goes out and talks about what a wonderful couple the Cheneys are. Why, they are not afraid to speak publicly — and then Lynne Cheney said what John Kerry said about their daughter being gay was uncalled for, was not part of the campaign, did not raise the civility of the debate. So Edwards’ wife goes out and says, ‘It indicates a certain degree of shame with respect to their daughter’s sexual preference.’ Of course, ladies and gentlemen, that’s not a vicious personal attack, and that’s not lowering the discourse of American politics — and let’s go back to 2004 again, October 11th, in Iowa. This is the Breck Girl himself.
THE BRECK GIRL: If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk — get up out of that wheelchair and walk again!
RUSH: Now, that was not being nice. That is mean, that is passing on information to people, giving them false hope that stem cell research — which Bush, by the way, was doing; you know the drill on this — misleading all these people with spinal injuries that only when John Kerry is president will they walk again. It’s like Michael J. Fox and his ads during the last election about Parkinson’s Disease. It’s the same thing. These are not nice people. These are mean people. This whole episode, by the way, there are two reasons why it was orchestrated, this thing on Hardball. They’re running out of money at the Edwards campaign, and he’s not doing all that hot. They’ve had two big fundraising days. The last one was when Elizabeth had the press conference announcing that she had cancer, or her cancer had come back. I forget what the previous one was, but I’ve been watching Pat Buchanan today talk about this, and he’s exactly right. Pat Buchanan said there’s no question what this is. This is a sympathy play. It is a play for pity. The Edwardses are not these weak-minded, dispirited little people that can’t handle hardball in politics. This is just a sympathy play. The second thing it is, it falls right in line with this effort to characterize conservative speech as ‘unbalanced, unfair, mean-spirited, extreme. We need to regulate it.’ Here’s one more little exchange between Ann Coulter and Elizabeth Edwards last night.
An audience member said, ‘Why isn’t John Edwards making this call?’
ELIZABETH EDWARDS: Yeah, why isn’t John Edwards making this call?
MATTHEWS: Well, do you want to respond? We’ll end this conversation.
ELIZABETH: I — I haven’t talked to John about this call.
COULTER: I think this is just another attempt for —
ELIZABETH EDWARDS: I — I — I — I’m making this call as a mother.
ELIZABETH EDWARDS: I’m — I am — I’m the mother of that boy who died. I — my children participate. These young people behind you are the age of my children. You’re asking them to participate in a dialogue that’s based on hatefulness and ugliness, instead of on the issues, and I don’t think that serves them or this country very well.
MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Elizabeth Edwards. So you want to…? You have all the time in the world to respond.
COULTER: I think we heard all we need to hear. The wife of a presidential candidate is asking me to stop speaking. No!
RUSH: Now, I want to wave these two pieces of paper at you when I say that it’s Edwards who has been exploiting his son’s death, not Coulter. There’s a link here from Front Page News: ‘Edwards’ public success spotlights son’s death.’ They used it again at the end of 2003 in Edwards’ own piece called ‘Four Trials.’ Another one: ‘Running for his son, teen’s death changed Edwards’ life.’ The Edwards press machine was making an issue in 2004, acting as if they’re finally opening up about it, but they were on record talking about the death of their son in 2001. Then again in the Chicago Tribune in 2005, Edwards pretends he’s finally opening up about his son’s death: ‘Throughout his campaign for president and then vice president in ’04, former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina made it clear the death of his teenaged son in a car accident was off limits, not for discussion, in the political context.’ They’re the ones that have been talking about this. ‘But now his wife Elizabeth sent an e-mail to supporters voicing connection that she shares with Cindy Sheehan.’ This is in the Chicago Trib article two years ago.
‘As Sheehan was camped near Bush’s ranch protesting the war, Edwards called on her own family’s backers to support Sheehan and in a departure from a campaign trail silence that the Edwards have kept about the death their 16-year-old son, Elizabeth Edwards noted that Sheehan son Casey died in Iraq eight years to the day after her own son,’ and then here the Edwards are in 2006 using it with Oprah and her dim-witted audience. ‘Book saves memory of son, Edwards tells Oprah.’ Here’s John again, ‘finally opening open up.’ It was like characterized as finally, after all these painful years, finally opening up after his son’s death. Yet he’s been opening up for four or five years in a row — and of course the Edwards campaign site loves to bring it up also: ‘A tribute to Wade Edwards.’ That’s what Elizabeth Edwards called last night about, to get Ann Coulter to stop talking about their son’s death and exploiting it, and she’s written about it in a column six months ago, and then today: ‘Dear friend, last night I had an important talk with Ann Coulter, and I want to tell you what happened. How did she respond? Sadly, perhaps predictably, with more personal attacks. John’s campaign’s about the issues, but pundits like Ann Coulter are trying to shout him down. If they’ll not stop, it’s up to us to cut through the noise. Help us fight back. Please give what you can today. There are just over three days left to hit our $9 million goal for the end of the quarter. If we make it, we can directly reach voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, and all over the country with our detailed plans on the issues that matter. Why do Ann Coulter and other right-wing pundits keep attacking John? Because John’s bold, specific plan hits them where it hurts: solving global warming, ending the war, building a fair economy. John’s agenda threatens everything these talking heads and their corporate cronies stand for, and they know John can win, but we need your help to hit our goal. Please give what you can today.’
The whole thing is about money. The whole thing. That’s the best script they could come up with — and it’s Elizabeth Edwards today, dated today. They sent that out on a blast e-mail, and I guess they put it on their website as well.