Thursday Night Fights: Chris Matthews and Audience Take on Ann Coulter

July 28th, 2006 11:11 AM

For your viewing pleasure, MSNBC decided to add to the Friday Night Fights series with a special Thursday edition. However, as "Hardball's" producers must have believed the challenger in the left corner, host Chris Matthews, was going to be outmatched by the challenger in the right corner, they decided to film the segment with an audience conveniently stocked with Ann Coulter haters. As a result, the fight turned more into a tag-team wrestling match than traditional mono-a-mono boxing.

It was quite evident from the onset that this was going to be a team effort by Matthews and his audience when he began:

Now, I want to know right off the front -- we`re going to use our audience in a very profane way. Who loves Ann Coulter? (APPLAUSE) Who vomits at the mention of her name? (APPLAUSE)

Nice way to introduce your guest, Chris. It seems impossible to imagine you introducing someone like Al Franken in such a fashion. Yet, Matthews wasn’t done. His next uppercut came only seconds later when he asked Coulter, “Do you have a soul?” This was followed a bit later with a right hook when Matthews said Ann was "All brain, no heart."

With that as pretext, this is a melee that must be watched to be fully appreciated. Here is the video. Pay particular attention to the people standing behind Coulter strategically placed to always be shaking their heads in disgust on virtually every one of her words. And, make sure that you have no drinking vessels around when Matthews asks Coulter to elaborate on the position she recently espoused concerning a former president’s sexual preference. (Transcript follows).

(Update: For those interested, here is a video of the beginning of the interview, as well as another part of this segment.)

MATTHEWS: Take him down. Let me ask you about the name of your book "Godless." Is that a metaphor or is it real?

COULTER: It`s real.

MATTHEWS: Do you really believe the Democrats are godless?

COULTER: Yes, I think liberalism has taken on all the attributes of a religion, they advance by denying that they`re a religion and it is a godless religion.

MATTHEWS: When go to church and I don`t go every week, I see Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, people go to church, Hillary I guess goes to church. Why do you think they go to church in little towns where nobody sees them? Because you can always, Catholics of course, if you`re Catholic, you can skip, because nobody knows what church mass you went to. Why do they go if they`re godless?

COULTER: Well it`s striking that a lot more Democrats go to church depending on their proximity to elected office.

MATTHEWS: Do you think they go for that?


MATTHEWS: Well I can tell you, you`re wrong. Nobody knows they`re there. They`re little towns. Little towns

COULTER: But they will do everything in their power to promote sucking the brains out of an unborn baby.

MATTHEWS: You`re saying they go to church to fake it? You mean like Ted Kennedy goes to church to fake it? I`m asking. You say they`re godless. You`re saying that Democrats are godless because they what? How many Democrats are godless? How many are? 10,000?

COULTER: Very small group of practicing Catholics for partial birth abortion.

MATTHEWS: How many Democrats are godless out there? It`s your book. Can I talk about the title of your book?

COULTER: I don`t know, I`m trying to convince the ones who are not godless to leave that party.

MATTHEWS: Let`s see. Name a godfull Democrat.

COULTER: You always want to make this personal. I`m talking about the ideology of liberalism.

MATTHEWS: Your book is personal.

COULTER: It is the church of liberalism.

MATTHEWS: I just want you to name godfull Democrats. Name ones that you like.

COULTER: They`re trying to wrap this up.

MATTHEWS: That`s our director. Let me ask you this. Now you have an automatic applause. By the way, Tammy Haddad, vice-president of MSNBC right over there. Let me ask you this, give her he a hand. No, really, I don`t know how you can say that all these people in the country who vote Democrat year after year are godless.

COULTER: No, you`re missing the point. It`s that liberalism is a religion and it`s a godless religion. People who believe in God, who are still voting Democrat, ought to read my book and ought to do that.

MATTHEWS: You mean Martin Luther King, who was out there working the religious issue on civil rights, using his cloth, was a godless man?

COULTER: Right, isn`t that curious that you have to go back 50 years to come up with a Democrat who provably believes in God.

MATTHEWS: You believe that Hillary Clinton is godless, Bill Clinton is godless, every Democratic candidate for president is godless, right? It says it here.

COULTER: You keep turning it into a person. I`m describing liberalism as a religion. Yes, I think it is a godless religion and anyone who believes in God, if they knew what liberalism stood for as for sucking the brains out of little babies, would flee the building, and she definitely wants you to take a break.

MATTHEWS: OK, thank you, we`ll be back with more with Ann Coulter. You`re watching HARDBALL, on MSNBC.

MATTHEWS: I`m back in heaven. I think I`m on college tour again. This is the University of HARDBALL. Here we are. We have Ann Coulter. Look at her. The picture of heaven. All brain, no heart. Just kidding. OK. Let`s go now to the first question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: HI, if we`re fighting Islamic fascism in the war on terror, I`m wondering if we can American Muslims to fight the war on culture in the United States.

COULTER: I`m not sure what you mean by that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They tend to be socially conservative like against abortion and against gay marriage.


MATTHEWS: Do you want to respond to that?

COULTER: No, I agree with her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wanted to ask about the polarization in the country. It seems to me that you use a lot of rhetoric, what you write, and that people just get angry, they get the emotional side of their brain, and they completely lose track of the argument you`re trying to say. Why don`t you just drop the theatrics, I mean Chris even did it when he talked about the midgets, and it`s like drop the theatrics and make your arguments and people will remember ...

COULTER: I know, even Chris won`t argue about the arguments of the war. I don`t know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People will understand what you`re talking about. You know what I mean?

COULTER: I don`t know. I don`t know. After five massive "New York Times" best-sellers, I think I`m doing just fine.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But do you really think ...

COULTER: What am I supposed to say? Why don`t you write differently.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s the thing. They just buy your books ...

COULTER: Apparently they are with five massive "New York Times" best- sellers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They just buy the books, though, to, you know, what`s she saying. I`m going to watch this now.

COULTER: OK, let me write in a more boring fashion -- OK, maybe I`ll -- you try that.

MATTHEWS: Do you want some advice?


MATTHEWS: Never argue with someone whose life depends on not being convinced.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But do you think you serve your country best by being a critic an choosing words that tend to inflame and overshadow any information?

COULTER: Apparently, it`s not overshadowing any information. That`s kind of a loaded question. Do you think you`re serving your country by writing rotten books? Well, I don`t think I write rotten books. I think they`re very influential and if liberals didn`t think they were influential, they wouldn`t keep investigating my private life to find out if I`m into ...(CROSSTALK

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m not saying they`re not influence. I`m saying it tends to alienate large groups, and your ideas might actually carry more weight otherwise.

COULTER: Yes, OK, you don`t like me.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about your private life. How do you know that Bill Clinton is gay?

COULTER: He may not be gay, but Al Gore, total fag. No, I`m just kidding. As someone ...

MATTHEWS: That`s based on your private life?

COULTER: No, that`s a joke.


COULTER: That`s what we call in the writing business a joke. No, I mean, I state a manifestly obvious fact. Someone pointed it out on Free Republic, I think, a little disgruntled yesterday. Ann`s amazing capacity is to state the obvious and make it news. I mean, everyone has always known wildly promiscuous heterosexual men have, as I say, a whiff of the bathhouse about them.

MATTHEWS: But you know, you were on -- I was watching you on Deutsch last night. I watched it because it`s all over the blog sites. You were immortal in that interview, by the way, and you said it because you were sort of pushed to say it. I just wonder if you believe it.

COULTER: This is standard ...

MATTHEWS: It`s a joke. It`s a joke. It`s not a joke.

COULTER: It`s not only not a joke, it`s not even surprising. If feminists were not so in love with Bill Clinton -- this is like standard -- for any feminist with the benefit of something beyond a community college education, this is standard feminist doctrine that wild promiscuity shows a fear or hostility of women.

MATTHEWS: Well, you here it -- thanks, Ann. You`re great.

COULTER: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: You heard it here, Ann Coulter. By the way, she`s back by popular demand. And get this right, that was not a joke. You`re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.(MARKET REPORT)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.We`re out here enjoying the First Amendment at HARDBALL Plaza with the controversial Ann Coulter.Let`s get some questions for Ann and her new book, "Godless: The Religion of Liberals." First question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Ann. I`m just wondering how you can call yourself a Christian or even look at yourself in the mirror in the morning and use words like the ones you`ve just used to describe Al Gore. Just curious. Go.

COULTER: Which Biblical command does joking violate? And you`re a big Christian I`m guessing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think pure hatred violates, spewing hateful rhetoric violates a lot of Biblical commands.

COULTER: Yes, no. Well, I`ll try to adopt your charm.


MATTHEWS: So just to straighten it out for the record, because people check these things, Ann. Your word is taken seriously. The joke or the reference you made about Bill Clinton being some kind of raging heterosexual, therefore a homosexual, that logic is not a joke? That`s for real?

COULTER: It`s manifestly obvious and not contested by anyone except when you`re a defending and love Bill Clinton.

MATTHEWS: But the one about Al Gore is -- but the Gore -- but you`ve got to delineate these things. Is Al Gore being the guy that you said he was, is that description ...

COULTER: That was a joke.


COULTER: Thus the audience laughed except Little Miss Smarty Pants here.