Lauer Offended By Ann Coulter; Delighted by Al Franken

Matt Lauer has two different sets of standards for politically provocative authors. If you are on the left he laughs with you, if you are on the right he slams you. On this morning’s Today show Ann Coulter’s statements drew outrage from Matt but last October when Al Franken suggested Karl Rove and Lewis Libby be executed for treason Matt and the Today show crew laughed. Lauer’s interview with Coulter got particularly testy when he read excerpts from Coulter’s new book and demanded she defend them. Below are the most explosive portion of this morning’s Coulter v. Lauer showdown

Video clip (2:30): Real (4.4 MB) or Windows Media (5 MB), plus MP3 audio (750 KB)

Matt Lauer: "Let me give you some quotes from your book, alright? These are random. 'Environmentalists..."

Coulter: "Yes! Now we're on a subject I want."

Lauer: "'Environmentalists' energy plan is a repudiation of American Christian destiny which is jet skis, steak on the electric grill, hot showers and night-skiing. Liberalism is a religion. A comprehensive belief system denying that the Christian belief in man's immortal soul.' And you go on to say, 'liberalism is the opposition party to God.' How do you think Democrats who believe in God are gonna feel about that statement?"

Coulter: "They probably won't like it. They don't like a lot of things I say."

Lauer: "Is it a fair statement you think?"

Coulter: "Yes, yes."

Lauer: "How about this one?"

Coulter: "That's why I wrote a book about it."

Lauer: "Referring to liberals again. 'To a liberal 2200 military deaths in the entire course of the war in Iraq is unconscionable but 1.3 million aborted babies in America every year is something to celebrate.'"

Coulter: "Yes."

Lauer: "You think people celebrate..."

Coulter: "They manifestly do. They are huge rallies for it. That is the one issue that's more important to the Democratic Party than any other. I mean Bill Clinton, the last..."

Lauer: "Do you think they celebrate the right to choose or, or the actual abortion?"

Coulter: "The last candidate the Democrats got into the White House was Bill Clinton. I, I take that as a fair assessment of whom the Democrats will choose as their representative. Bill Clinton sold out every single special interest group. The criminal rights group, the welfare bureaucrats. The one group he would not stand up to were the abortion ladies. Vetoing bans on partial birth, a gruesome procedure passed by overwhelming majorities in the House and Senate. Twice, Clinton vetoed that. That tells you what the Democratic Party thinks about abortion."

Lauer: "Do you, do you believe everything in this book, do you believe everything in the book or do you put some things in there just that cater to your base?"

Coulter: "No of course I believe everything."

Lauer: "Alright on the 9/11 widows and in particular a group that had been outspoken and critical of the administration. 'These self-obsessed women seem genuinely unaware that 9/11 was an attack on our nation and acted as if the terrorist attack only happened to them. They believe the entire country was required to marinate in their exquisite personal agony. Apparently denouncing Bush was an important part of their closure process.' And this part is, is the part I really need to talk to you about. 'These broads are millionaires lionized on TV and in articles about them reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis. I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' death so much.'"

Coulter: "Yes."

Lauer: "Because they dare to speak out?"

Coulter: "To speak out using the fact that they're widows. This is the left's doctrine of infallibility. If they have a point to make about the 9/11 commission, about how to fight the war on terrorism. How about sending somebody we're allowed to respond to? No, no we always have to respond to someone who just had a family member die..."

Lauer: "But aren't they the people in the middle of the story?"

Coulter: "...because then if we respond, 'Oh you're questioning their authenticity.' No the story is..."

Lauer: "So grieve but grieve quietly."

Coulter: "No the story is an attack on the nation..."

Lauer: "And by the way..."

Coulter: "That requires a foreign policy response. That does not entail the expertise..."

Lauer: "And by the way they also criticized the Clinton administration for their failures leading up to 9/11."

Coulter: "Oh not, not the ones I'm talking about."

Lauer: "No they have."

Coulter: "No, no, no. Oh no, no, no, no."

Lauer: "But is your message to them just grieve..."

Coulter: "No, no they were cutting commercials for Kerry. They were using their grief in order to make a political point while preventing anyone from responding."

Lauer: "So if you lose a husband you no longer have the right to have a political point of view?"

Coulter: "No but don't use the fact that you lost a husband as the basis for your being able to talk about it while preventing people from responding. Let Matt Lauer make the point, let Bill Clinton make the point. Don't put up someone I'm not allowed to respond to without questioning the authenticity of their grief."

Lauer: "Well but apparently you are allowed to respond to them."

Coulter: "Well yeah I did."

Lauer: "Right so in other words..."

Coulter: "But that is the point of liberal infallibility. Of putting up Cindy Sheehan, of putting out these widows of putting out Joe Wilson. No, no, no you can't respond it's their doctrine of infallibility."

Lauer: "But what I'm saying is they've..."

Coulter: "...somebody else make the argument..."

Lauer: "I'm saying I don't think they've ever told you, you can't respond. So why can't they make their point?"

Coulter: "Look you're getting testy with me."

Lauer: "No I'm not. I just..."

Coulter: "Ohhh."

Lauer: "I think it's, I think it's, I think it's your dramatic statement. 'These broads,' 'you know are, are 'millionaires stalked by grief-arazzi.'"

Coulter: "You think I shouldn't be able to respond to them."

Lauer: "'I've never seen people enjoying their husbands deaths so much.'"

Coulter: "They're, they're, yes. They're all over the news."

Lauer: "The book is called Godless: The Church Of Liberalism. Ann Coulter always fun to have you here."

Coulter: "Hey where's Katie? Did she leave or something?"

Lauer: "She did. 7:17am. And now here's Ann."

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.