Progressive political pundit Cenk Uygur and “combative conservative commentator” Ann Coulter battled it out on Saturday at the inaugural Politicon Conference, a two-day event in Los Angeles billed as a nonpartisan fan fest for politics and entertainment – in short, the Comic-Con of politics.
The heated debate between Uygur, the founder and CEO of The Young Turks, and conservative favorite Ann Coulter, the author of eleven New York Times bestsellers, was billed as One on One: Ann Coulter vs. Cenk Uygur and didn’t disappoint.
Coulter was booed, heckled and had obscenities hurled at her from the audience throughout the debate, particularly when she lashed out at President Barack Obama for “destroying our victory” in Iraq and for suggesting the United States should have used “daisy-cutters”1 and nuclear weapons in Iraq.
The crowd was particularly noisy, erupting after Coulter told Uygur that: “I know this is apparently mostly an audience that doesn’t really care about 9/11.”
Below are a few highlights (or low-points, as you will) from the hour-long discussion.
8 minutes, 48 seconds:
- Cenk Uygur: So we’re going to talk about immigration in a minute, and women – we’re going to get some of your quotes about women as well because you have addressed that topic.
- Ann Coulter: Are you Megyn Kelly? [laughter]
- Cenk Uygur: If you want to question people’s gender, we can go down that road. [laughter, applause]
9 minutes, 40 seconds:
- Ann Coulter: I was a huge supporter of the Iraq War. I’m angrier at Obama for destroying our victory there than I am… [the rest was drowned out due to booed and cat-calls from the audience]
16 minutes, 43 seconds:
- Cenk Uygur: So, the reason I mention the thing about the filibuster is that what I had asked you – you said you wanted to drop nukes – so would you have dropped a nuke? I get your reasons why you thoroughly explained how much you hate Saddam Hussein and we’re all with you that he’s a bad guy, a terrible dictator. So would you have dropped the nuke? I mean that’s what – Ann, do you get what I’m saying? I’m trying to figure out, do you really mean it? Is it just a joke? If it’s a joke, they don’t get that it’s a joke [pointing to audience]. It could be dangerous [alluding to an earlier observation that he was not worried so much about Coulter as he was about those who might take her comments serious and act upon them]. Would you have dropped the nuke?
- Ann Coulter: Nuke, daisy-cutter, drone – it doesn’t matter. And by the way, the way this is supposed to work is a question an answer and I have given the same answer now 16 times.
- Cenk Uygur: Okay. So now we’ll all move on. You have clearly answered – you would have dropped a nuke and Saddam would have probably died as well as maybe a million others… babies burned alive – but hey, we’re having fun – it’s a hyperbole.2
- Ann Coulter: [Initially drowned out by applause] I know this is apparently mostly an audience that doesn’t really care about 9/11, but I am an American [drowned out by loud booes]
At 18 minutes, 11 seconds, Uygur asked Coulter about her attacks on 9/11 widows:
Here’s what you said about the 9/11 widows: “They believe the entire country was required to marinate in their exquisite personal agony.” This is about the 9/11 widows. “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’ deaths so much.”3
Uyger also got into an exchange about Coulter’s remarks about Latinos at 20 minutes, 52 seconds that Coulter tried to turn around as a pitch for her newest book:
On immigration, you said about Latinos: “There’s a cultural acceptance of child [email protected] in Latino culture that doesn’t exist in even the most dysfunctional American ghettoes. When it comes to child [email protected], the whole family gets involved.”4
As the Hollywood Reporter notes: “The most contentious point of the discussion occurred toward the end when an audience member of Afghan heritage berated Coulter for remarks she made about “peasant cultures,” including those from Mexico and the Middle East and for the statements Coulter made concerning being in favor of using nuclear weapons in the Middle East.”
The exchange occurred at 49 minutes, 12 seconds:
- Crystal Keshawarz: Hi Ann. I’m from one of those peasant cultures that you so eloquently referred to and my great-grandparents had huge [indecipherable] so thank you for putting me in that category as well as most of the people in this room. Thank you very much. My question to you is: when you say just drop nukes and daisy-cutters and all this bullshit on people, on people who live, people who are on this planet, human beings, what makes you different, what differentiates you from ISIS and Daesh5 and Wahhabi?6 [Keshawarz was drowned out by several seconds by loud applause at this point] … How dare you claim to be a Christian. How dare you claim to say anything in the name of Jesus Christ and wear that cross around your neck.
- Ann Coulter: Why are you in this country if your culture is so hot?
The last big blow-up occurred near the very end of the discussion at 52 minutes, 11 seconds:
- Cenk Uygur: I love this country. That doesn’t mean I hate my former country. That means I love this country. You know why? Because it isn’t a Christian nation; it isn’t a nation just for white people. [drowned out by cheers]… unlike you.
- Ann Coulter: It is a Christian nation, it’s not a country just for white people but it was a country created by white people and the only way to keep….[drowned out by boos].
You can watch the full discussion, below:
FOOTNOTE 1: Daisy-cutter refers to Daisy-Cutter Bombs, described by the University of Notre Dame as:
It is big and destructive. To be exact, the Daisy Cutter bomb weighs in at 15,000 pounds and destroys anything in a 600-yard radius. First used during the Vietnam War, these huge bombs have since been employed in the Gulf War and most recently in Afghanistan. Although the “Daisy Cutter” bomb is not a nuclear weapon, its use in battle has caused controversy because of its terrifying and utterly destructive nature.
The BLU-82B or “Daisy Cutter” is the largest conventional bomb in existence and is 17 feet long and 5 feet in diameter, about the size of a Volkswagen Beetle but much heavier. It contains 12,600 pounds of GX slurry (ammonium nitrate, aluminum powder, and polystyrene), and is so bulky that it cannot even be launched in a conventional method. To put that in context, the ammonium nitrate in just one Daisy Cutter bomb is about six times the amount used in the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. Although the blast from this bomb is extremely lethal, it still has less than a thousandth the destructive power of the atomic bomb used on Hiroshima.
FOOTNOTE 2: Hyperbole refers to an earlier part of the discussion wherein Coulter claimed that most of her outrageous remarks in the past were merely hyperbole designed to make a point. She also admonished her critics, saying they should go back to school and study hyperbole.
FOOTNOTE 3: The quote is from “If Democrats Had Any Brains, The Would Be Republicans” by Ann Coulter.
FOOTNOTE 4: The quote is from an August 5, 2015 column by Coulter.
FOOTNOTE 5: Daesh is “A term used to describe the terrorist organization Islamic State introduced by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. The organization went with multiple names in previous occasions like Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) before the public settled with just Islamic State (IS). Fabius argued that since IS is not Islamic and absolutely not a state, he said “…the Arabs call it Daesh…” (from Arabic “to tread upon”, “to trample or crush underfoot”).
The cutthroats from Daesh do not like their new name.”
FOOTNOTE 6: A Wahhabi is a member of a strictly orthodox Sunni Muslim sect founded by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703–92). It advocates a return to the early Islam of the Koran and Sunna, rejecting later innovations; the sect is still the predominant religious force in Saudi Arabia. Critics say that Wahhabism’s rigidity has led it to misinterpret and distort Islam, pointing to extremists such as Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network and the Taliban. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) also draws on Wahhabism for its ideology.