Coulter Spars With Kathie Lee and Hoda About Her 'Venom' in Second 'Today' Chat
Ann Coulter made a second appearance during the 10 am Eastern hour of Wednesday’s Today show, and hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb continued the discussion about the apparent “venom” in her books. Kotb asked if Coulter’s style was “kind of like shock jock, shake the cage, freak everyone out, wake everybody up,” and later stated that she felt the tone of the conservative’s writing was “dripping with venom.” The two hosts focused Coulter’s take on single motherhood in her new book, as Matt Lauer had done in her earlier appearance on the NBC program.
Kotb began the interview with her “shock jock, shake the cage” question. Coulter answered that she tries to “write in an entertaining, intriguing way, so that people will read what I have to say.” After the three briefly discussed the writing process for the author, Kotb then brought up the title of Coulter’s chapter on the problem of single motherhood: “Victim of a Crime? Thank a Single Mother.” Coulter explained her central point in the chapter, that single mothers are “victimizing their children by raising their children without fathers,” and how these children are “70% of the prison population, 60% to 70% of future unwed mothers -- of murderers, of rapists, of juvenile delinquents, of teenage runaways.”
Despite acknowledging this point, Kotb complained about Coulter’s tone: “I feel like it’s dripping with venom, so when you read it, you go, ugh and you just roll your eyes.” Coulter replied that “the most important point, as Matt Lauer said this morning, we’re in the Obama era -- we’re going to talk about issues. So, I think this is an important issue, and it does need to be discussed, and liberals don’t talk about it because they don’t like the nuclear family, as I document in that chapter.”
Gifford objected to this “liberals don’t like the nuclear family” line as being a “blanket statement,” and voiced her agreement with Kotb about Coulter’s tone: “I think it’s tone, because oftentimes, I’ll hear you say something, and I’ll think, well, she’s right, but Ann, oh, don’t say it like that because you’re not going to win anybody over that way.” Coulter’s reponse: “I think there’s a little too much discussion of tone...I think we should be talking about the substance of the book. Apparently, the tone is zippy and enticing enough that I have written six massive New York Times best sellers, so people are reading, and if nobody reads it, you’re not getting the message out.”
Later, Kotb continued with the tone subject by bringing up how the conservative author criticized some of the 9/11 widows, the so-called Jersey Girls: “You lost me when you were talking about the victims of 9/11 -- the wives....You called them ‘griefazillas -- I've never seen someone enjoying their husbands’ deaths so much.’ That kind of tone, those kind of words are -- it’s just a turn-off.”
Coulter answered that “these women were using their victimhood in order to make political points to attack a sitting president in a time of war, to take positions in a presidential election, and to use their victimhood to say no one -- don’t respond to me, I’m a victim....I mean, that is a microcosm of someone advancing while using victimhood as a shield.”
Both Kotb and Gifford made light of Coulter’s famously thin figure before the interview and at its conclusion. At the top of the hour, as they gave a promo of the interview, Kotb exaggerated that Coulter is “about as thin as my pinky.” Gifford replied to this by using the title of the conservative’s book: “That’s what she’s guilty of, being way too thin and wearing very little on the cover of her book.” As the segment closed, Kotb tried to get Coulter to stand up to demonstrate how thin the author was: “Look how skinny she is!...You are too thin!”
During an interview of Rosie O'Donnell in May 2008, Kotb and Gifford apparently failed to find "venom" in the entertainer's past as she claimed that people misidentified her "passion for rage."
The full transcript of Coulter’s interview, which began 13 minutes into the 10 am Eastern hour of Wednesday’s Today show:
GIFFORD, In 13 days, millions of Americans will be cheering as Barack Obama is sworn into the White House.
KOTB: It is no secret -- conservative columnist Ann Coulter will not be one of them. She is just out with her book. It’s called ‘Guilty: Liberal Victims and their Assault on America.’ Hello, Ms. Controversial Ann.
GIFFORD: Good morning!
COULTER: So happy to be here. Thank you for having me.
KOTB: Let’s start with just -- just the beginning. Okay, is this kind of like shock jock, shake the cage, freak everyone out, wake everybody up when you’re -- when you’re writing some of the things in this -- in this book of yours?
GIFFORD: And we’re just talking about the cover.
COULTER: (Laughs.) No, not really. I mean, obviously, I try to write in an entertaining, intriguing way, so that people will read what I have to say, and, of course, I have to edit it many, many times before it comes out. If it’s not interesting to read, I don’t even want to edit it.
GIFFORD: And other people vet it as well, right? So you have attorneys who have to look at everything.
GIFFORD: I mean, everybody does it when you do a book. The publishers are protecting themselves.
COULTER: Well, it’s more than attorneys. I also send it out to -- I have a few liberal friends -- big news here today.
GIFFORD: Who? Name names.
COULTER: I don’t want to ruin their reputations, but I always send them -- we don’t have gallies, but I do send them copies of the book before it comes out, so they can tell me, you know, attack it, so I’ll be prepared, and they never pick out the one line that will be elevated as, you know, me starting the next Kristallnacht. They can never guess what it’s going to be, but it’s like a game of ‘Where’s Waldo,’ and they have finally given up with this book, and they say, no, we think you’re going to be invited into the Obama tent.
COULTER: Everyone’s going to love it this time.
GIFFORD: They were wrong though, right?
KOTB: Well, wait -- listen to this. Here’s the title of chapter two -- ‘Victim of a Crime? Thank a Single Mother.’
KOTB: That was -- that, that really caused ---
GIFFORD: That’ll get your attention.
KOTB: A lot of issues so far. Explain your point.
COULTER: Thank you. Yes, actually, that’s the first time -- this is the chapter that I thought ought to get the most attention. It is basically that we have, you know, 30 years of numbers on this. This is just numbers crunching in a somewhat innovative way -- that single motherhood is responsible for -- I mean, they are victimizing their children by raising their children without fathers. It’s about 70% of the prison population, 60% to 70% of future unwed mothers -- of murderers, of rapists, of juvenile delinquents, of teenage runaways. You could -- you could, you know, you could solve many of the world’s problems, reduce all of these problems by 60% to 70% if women would just get married before having children.
KOTB: But I think the point’s valid, but I think it’s when you read through it, it’s all about tone. I feel like it’s dripping with venom, so when you read it, you go, ugh and you just roll your eyes --
COULTER: I don’t think it is.
KOTB: You don't?
COULTER: No, and I think, you know, ‘Miss Dangle with an Angle,’ -- everybody becomes a chaste Victorian virgin when they read my book.
GIFFORD: Well, I am one, honey. I was born in the Victorian age. So --
COULTER: Well, so was I, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a joke, and suddenly, I just think there is a very different attitude, and moreover, the most important -- important point, as Matt Lauer said this morning, we’re in the Obama era -- we’re going to talk about issues. So, I think this is an important issue, and it does need to be discussed, and liberals don’t talk about it because they don’t like the nuclear family, as I document in that chapter --
KOTB: That’s -- but liberals not liking --
GIFFORD: That’s a blanket statement.
COULTER: And conservatives don’t talk about it because they’re so upset about it -- well, of course, but you have to talk in blanket statements. Conservatives don’t talk about it because they’re, you know -- they’re so traumatized by the backlash against Dan Quayle for the Murphy Brown speech. So, no one’s talking about this and millions of children are being victimized every year.
KOTB: But -- go on.
GIFFORD: No -- again, I think it’s tone, because oftentimes, I’ll hear you say something, and I’ll think, well, she’s right, but Ann, oh, don’t say it like that because you’re not going to win anybody over that way.
COULTER: I thought that when I heard ‘dangle with an angle.’
GIFFORD: Oh, did that --
COULTER: I was shocked!
GIFFORD: I shocked Ann Coulter. I guess I've arrived. But Ann, you know what I’m saying. Are you trying to win converts, or -- because sometimes it’s not the message, it’s the messenger. I’m responsible for that myself. Sometimes I want something --
COULTER: I think there’s a little too much discussion of tone, and, like I say, I think people do become chaste Victorian virgins when they’re reading my book. I think we should be talking about the substance of the book. Apparently, the tone is zippy and enticing enough that I have written six massive New York Times best sellers, so people are reading, and if nobody reads it, you’re not getting the message out. So let’s get to the message.
KOTB: Just real quick -- you lost me a while ago, okay? You lost me when you were talking about the victims of 9/11 -- the wives, and you called them --
COULTER: Three books back.
KOTB: I know. But just, you know, sometimes something sticks with you. You called them ‘griefazillas -- I've never seen someone enjoying their husbands’ deaths so much.’ That kind of tone, those kind of words are -- it’s just a turn-off. So then the next time you see Ann Coulter --
COULTER: I don’t think so. I mean, ‘Godless’ was the best-selling of all of my books so far, and there were important points in that book, including that point, which is a microcosm of the whole point of this book, and that is these women were using their victimhood in order to make political points to attack a sitting president in a time of war, to take positions in a presidential election, and to use their victimhood to say no one -- don’t respond to me, I’m a victim.
GIFFORD: But here’s the problem --
COULTER: But you know there were also families -- widows from the 9/11 attack, and I heard from a lot of them, and they --
KOTB: Yes, you did.
COULTER: And they were with me on those ‘Jersey Girls,’ because they supported President Bush, and they weren’t out there saying, ‘And you can’t criticize me. You must vote for President Bush because I'm a widow.’ I mean, that is a microcosm of someone advancing while using victimhood as a shield.
GIFFORD: But is this getting us anywhere in terms of the dialogue between liberal -- I mean, the worst thing that happened is the partisanship and the venom on both sides that keeps us from -- yes, we discuss things, but we don’t find -- we’re not finding solutions.
COULTER: Well --
KOTB: Yeah, because of this.
COULTER: I’m in favor of that dialogue, which is why I’m so happy I’m here. I would like to engage in dialogue. I sure sense a lot of venom coming my way. I think I’m just selling jokes.
GIFFORD: Not from us, though.
COULTER: No, no, no, no. I'm not saying that.
GIFFORD: I hope you’re not saying that. We don’t want to be venomous to anybody.
COULTER: No, no, no, I’m not saying that about you.
KOTB: But what’s -- give me a solution to the single mother problem -- the single mother problem.
COULTER: I would love to give you a solution, and it’s in the chapter.
KOTB: What is the solution?
COULTER: I mean, this has been a 30-year plan. You reverse the plan -- first, with the courts. It started in the ‘70s when the courts basically stopped acknowledging the law of marriage, which is, if a man wants rights to his child, he best be married to the mother before he has the child. If the mother wants income from the father, she better be married to the father. The Supreme Court overturned that in the ‘70s saying that unwed fathers could come in and start disrupting adoptions, and you remember all those ‘Baby Richard’ cases. Well, that was the beginning of it. Now, you know, all these state laws we have had to create, like paternity registries, so if a man has sex with a woman --
KOTB: So it’s a legal thing. You think this is all a legal thing.
GIFFORD: The glamorization, you say -- the Hollywood glamorization of the unwed mother. I wish we could sit and talk.
COULTER: Thank you.
KOTB: They’re playing the music. We’ve got to go, Ann Coulter. Look how skinny she is!
GIFFORD: Can you come back tomorrow?
COULTER: I would love to.
KOTB: Can you stand up for one second? Just stand up for one second --
COULTER: I am not standing up.
KOTB: You are too thin!
GIFFORD: Don’t sexualize the woman.
KOTB: I’m just saying --
COULTER: Hang from a ski lift.
GIFFORD: And dangle her angle or whatever. Her book is called what?
KOTB: It's called ‘Guilty: Liberals and their Assault on America.’