On tonight's Hardball, MSNBC's Chris Matthews blind-sided his guest, conservative columnist Ann Coulter, with a live call from Elizabeth Edwards. The wife of presidential candidate John Edwards proceeded to demand Coulter stop her "personal attacks" on her husband, but Coulter shot back that at least she wasn't "bankrupting doctors by giving a shyster, Las Vegas routine."
The following is the full transcript of the exchange as it occurred on the June 26th edition of Hardball:
Chris Matthews: "You know who's on the line? Somebody to respond to what you said about Edwards, yesterday morning, Elizabeth Edwards. She wanted to call in today, we said she could. Elizabeth Edwards go on the line, you're on the line with Ann Coulter."
Elizabeth Edwards: "Hello Chris."
Matthews: "Do you want to say something directly to the person who's with me?"
Edwards: "I was calling, you know, in the South when we, when someone does something that displeases us we want to ask them, politely, to stop doing it. I'd like to ask Ann Coulter to, if she wants to debate on issues, on positions, we certainly disagree with nearly everything she said on your show today. But, but it's quite another matter, to, for these personal attacks. The things she has said over the years, not just about John but about other candidates is, lowers our, our political dialogue, precisely at the time 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."
Coulter: "I don't have enough money."
Edwards: "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, since then."
Matthews: "But this is just yesterday morning, what you said about him."
Coulter: "I didn't say anything about him, actually, either time."
Edwards: "Ann, Ann you know that's not true. And, and once more, this has been going on for some time."
Coulter: "I don't mind you trying to raise money. I mean it's better this than giving $50,000 speeches to the poor-"
Edwards: "I'm asking you-"
Coulter: "-just to use-
Edwards: "I'm asking you, politely-"
Coulter: "-my name on the Web pages. But as for a debate with me, yeah sure. Yeah we'll have a debate."
Edwards: "I'm asking you, politely, to stop, to stop personal attacks..."
Coulter: "How about you stop raising money on your Web page then? No, you don't have to because, I don't mind."
Edwards: "It didn't start, it did not, it didn't start, it did not start with that. You had a column a number of years ago where you suggested-"
Coulter: "Okay the wife of a presidential candidate-"
Edwards: "Wait till I finish talking please."
Coulter: "-who's calling in and asking me to stop speaking?"
Matthews: "Let her finish the point, let her finish the point."
Coulter: "You're asking me to stop speaking. ‘Stop writing your columns. Stop writing your books.'"
Edwards: "You had a column, you wrote a column several years ago-"
Matthews: "Ann, please."
Edwards: "Which made, 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."
Edwards: "This is not legitimate political dialogue. It debases political dialogue. It draws people away from the process. We can't have a debate about issues if you're using this kind of language."
Coulter responding to audience member: "Yeah why isn't John Edwards making this call?"
Matthews: "Well do you want to respond, while I end this conversation?"
Edwards: "I, I haven't talked to John about this call."
Coulter: "This is just another attempt for-"
Edwards: "I am making this call as a mother. 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, particularly, you're asking them to participate in a dialogue that's based on, on hatefulness and ugliness instead of on the issues and I don't, I don't think that's serving them or this country very well."
Matthews: "Thank you very much, Elizabeth Edwards. Well do you, you have all the time in the world to respond to that."
Coulter: "I think, I think we heard all we need to hear. The wife of a presidential candidate is asking me to stop speaking. No."
Matthews: "No, she said you should stop being so negative to people, individually."
Coulter: "Right, as opposed to bankrupting doctors by giving a shyster, Las Vegas routine-"
Coulter: "-in front of juries based on science. Wait, you said I'd have as long I would have-"
Matthews: "Go ahead, go ahead, go ahead."
Coulter: "-and you instantly interrupted me. As I was saying, doing these psychic routines in front of illiterate juries to bankrupt doctors, who now can't deliver babies. And to charge a, a poverty group $50,000 for a speech. Don't talk to me about, about how to use language."
Edwards: "That language of hate. And I'm, I, I'm gonna ask you, again, to politely stop using personal attacks as part of your dialogue."
Coulter: "Okay, I'll stop writing books."
Matthews: "Why do you talk about-"
Edwards: "If you can't write them, without them, then that's fine."
Matthews: "Why do talk about Hillary's chubby legs in your book?"
[laughter from audience]
Matthews: "Why do you, I mean, that, that might fall under the category of personal attacks, I don't know, but why do you do that? Why do you talk about Monica Lewinsky's chubbiness? If she were skinny would it had been okay?"
Coulter: "I don't know, read the sentence."
Matthews: "I read the whole sentence, I couldn't feel the context."
Coulter: "Well you have to give it to me and I could explain."
Matthews: "Why do you bring up the word, ‘chubby?' Why do you make fun of Hillary's chubby legs?"
Coulter: "I, I don't know, you're going to have to give me the sentence. And I think-"
Matthews: "It's in the afterward of your book, I just read it this morning."
Coulter: "Well read the sentence!"
Matthews: "We'll, we'll be back and read the entire sentence. We're gonna come right back, I don't know why we're reading, the full intellectual context will be coming in a moment."
Coulter: "Thank you."