On March 2 Ann Coulter gave a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). She was introduced by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and several other Republican presidential candidates were in the audience. Vice President Dick Cheney also attended. She concluded her remarks with this penetrating political analysis:
Oh, and I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards. But it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word "faggot," so I'm -- so I'm kind of at an impasse, can't really talk about Edwards. So I think I'll just conclude here and take your questions.Did Mitt Romney and other Republican Party notables walk out at this point? No. In fact, according to reports, there was enthusiastic and sustained applause from the audience.
These remarks were not simply hateful sentiments posted on an unofficial blog somewhere or sent as an anonymous email. These words were said in an official speech, introduced and attended by Republican presidential candidates. The speech was recorded and shown nationally by CSPAN.
And yet conservatives and Republicans still like to claim that Democrats and liberals are the ones who use hateful rhetoric.
The New York Times is now reporting that Senator John McCain of Arizona, Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts today (Saturday March 3, 2007) have all denounced Ann Coulter's remarks.
Of the major Republican candidates, only Mr. McCain did not attend, but he denounced her remarks on Saturday morning. “The comments were wildly inappropriate,” said his spokesman, Brian Jones.
Mr. Giuliani said, “The comments were completely inappropriate and there should be no place for such name-calling in political debate.”
Kevin Madden, a spokesman for Mr. Romney, said: “It was an offensive remark. Governor Romney believes all people should be treated with dignity and respect.”
Mr. Romney preceded Ms. Coulter at the event and mentioned that she was speaking later — he jokingly referred to her as a “moderate.” But he was not in the room when she spoke, Mr. Madden said.
I applaud the belated statements by the leading Republican candidates for president. A good next step would be for them to announce they will never again appear at the same podium as Ann Coulter or anyone else who engages in hate speech.