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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Has Ann Coulter Gone Too Far?
Aired June 12, 2006 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANN COULTER: (INAUDIBLE) talk about it while preventing people from responding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, has Ann Coulter gone too far? The controversial right wing commentator has attacked some 9/11 widows saying "I've never seen people enjoying their husband's death so much." That's just the start of it.
We'll get reaction from furious families of other 9/11 victims and two New Jersey politicians calling for a boycott of Coulter's new book, plus a conservative who defends Ann Coulter as a national treasure, and more, all next with your calls on LARRY KING LIVE.
Good evening. You've probably been following the story about those controversial comments conservative commentator and author Ann Coulter has made in her new book. She goes after a small group of 9/11 widows. Here is some of what she wrote.
"These self-obsessed women seemed genuinely unaware that 9/11 was an attack on our nation and acted as if the terrorist attacks happened only to them. The whole nation was wounded, all of our lives reduced. But 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."
A few days Matt Lauer confronted Coulter on "The Today Show." Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT LAUER, TODAY SHOW: And this part 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 (INAUDIBLE). I've never seen people enjoying their husband's death so much."
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 in somebody we're allowed to respond to? No, 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.
LAUER: And by the way...
COULTER: That does not entail the expertise...
LAUER: ...they also criticize the Clinton administration for their failures leading up to 9/11.
COULTER: Oh, not the ones I'm talking about.
LAUER: No, they have.
COULTER: No, no, no, no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Ann Coulter's book is "Godless, The Church of Liberalism." What do you make of it Congressman Charlie Rangel?
Our other panel members are Tim Rutten, the L.A. Times columnist who wrote an article about Ann Coulter's book comparing the book to pornography.
In New York is Georgette Mosbacher who generally supports what she calls Ann Coulter's provocativeness and courage.
And, in L.A., is David Horowitz, founder of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, author of the "The Professors."
Now, we go to Mr. Rangel, Charlie, what do you make of it?
REP. CHARLES RANGEL (D), NY: Well, I think she's a cartoon. There's just nothing she would not do or say if it means that she'll get on television and sell her books. I don't think there's any low that she would sink to. She doesn't seem to mind the criticism. She relishes in it. She supported apartheid. She's against all Muslims and Arabs.
I think it reaches a new low in terms of satire but she's becoming a millionaire doing it and it's sad that people would allow her to cause such pain among the widows who are suffering so much every day.
KING: Georgette Mosbacher, as a supporter of Republican policies for many years what do you make of this?
GEORGETTE MOSBACHER, REPUBLICAN FUNDRAISER: Well, I don't know. I think there's two issues here. One issue is what is Ann saying? What's the point she's trying to make? And, two, the way she says it. There's a lot of adjectives that come to mind. I mean outrageous, bad taste, et cetera.
But I do think that it resonates with some people in terms of even as widows to speak out on a political issue one should have the right to criticize that without -- just because they're widows they're not sacrosanct. My mother, I grew up in a one parent home. My mother was a widow with four of us at 27, not by terrorists, by a drunk driver.
But, that doesn't -- I still think that even though it may be reprehensible to use some of the rhetoric she does, I do think it's fair to criticize in a political forum.
KING: Tim Rutten of the L.A. Times, where is she wrong?
TIM RUTTEN, L.A. TIMES: Well, I don't think given what Ann Coulter is saying that you can separate the style of the presentation from the substance, the remarks. It's perfectly possible to differ with these ladies from New Jersey, these women who have lost their husbands over what they think ought to happen in foreign policy and security policy, whether or not they have any credentials to have strong opinions about those things that ought to be listened to.
That's a very serious issue and it's an issue worth raising and it can be raised in a civil way. To do that you don't have to call them broads, witches, harpies. You don't have to allege that they enjoy their husband's death.
I'm sure that when Georgette's mother was criticized as she was as a widow for some things nobody called her a broad. Nobody called her a witch or a harpie. I hope they didn't. They shouldn't have.
KING: All right, David Horowitz?
DAVID HOROWITZ, CENTER FOR STUDY OF POP CULTURE: Well, first of all, Ann Coulter did not support apartheid and she is not opposed to all Arabs and Muslims and this was not a piece about all the widows of 9/11. It was about four widows who use their widowhood as a shield to protect them from any kind of criticism and attacked.
They supported Kerry. They went out and campaigned for Kerry. They demanded this 9/11 Commission, which whitewashed the Clinton administration. And that's the (INAUDIBLE) of her criticisms in the book.
And everything has to be done, you know, taken in the context of what she was doing. It was a critique of the 9/11 Commission. And when she said they enjoyed their husbands' deaths she was talking about getting publicists, going on TV.
KING: Could she have toned it a little?
HOROWITZ: I think that we all respect grief. And there's also another context, which is Cindy Sheehan. We all respect the grief of a mother or...
KING: Are you mad at her?
HOROWITZ: ...or a widow. I think she's a disgrace, Cindy Sheehan because she...
KING: She lost her boy.
HOROWITZ: Well, excuse me, she has defamed her own child and dissociated herself. He's a hero. He volunteered twice yet she -- he volunteered after the Iraq war had started. He volunteered for the mission and she calls him, you know, she says Bush lied and my son died. Her son is a hero. Pay tribute to the son for being a hero and then you can, you know, criticize Bush.
KING: So you don't think Ann Coulter was in any -- back to Ann Coulter -- was in any way out of line?
HOROWITZ: No, look, Al Franken, Bill Maher, they all get free rides from the media. I mean I think...
KING: Do you think she's as funny as they are?
HOROWITZ: I think she is much funnier...
KING: Funnier than Al Franken and Bill Maher?
HOROWITZ: ...than the two of them combined. I mean read the book.
RUTTEN: David, what kind of conservative position is this? This is moral equivalence. I mean what does Al Franken have to do with this? What does Cindy Sheehan have to do with this?
HOROWITZ: I was just pointing out...
MOSBACHER: This is all just Iraq.
RUTTEN: It's all about these women and it's all about what they said.
HOROWITZ: Satire is understood.
RUTTEN: And it's all about Ann Coulter.
HOROWITZ: When Al Franken does satire people understand it's satire.
RUTTEN: Do you think this was satire?
HOROWITZ: Yes, I absolutely do.
RUTTEN: Really? Really?
MOSBACHER: No, it's not satire at all.
KING: Did you see it as satire Georgette?
MOSBACHER: I didn't see it as satire.
KING: Satire would mean she doesn't mean what she said.
KING: She's kidding when she said it.
MOSBACHER: No, I think she did. No, I think she did mean what she said. I think that's the issue. I think she meant what she said. Again, I do think there's a difference in the way she said it and some of the terms she used I personally found very insensitive.
But I do think that the argument that she makes is one that we can debate and that just because one is widowed doesn't give you a right to say what you want and not be challenged on what you say.
KING: Let me get a break and we'll come right back, pick up with more thoughts from Charlie Rangel.
We're going to meet some widows of 9/11 as well and others along the way.
The panel will be with us all the way. Here's more of Matt Lauer and Ann Coulter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAUER: 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, yes, 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: Well what I'm saying is they...
COULTER: Have somebody else make the argument then.
LAUER: I'm saying is I don't think they've ever told you, you can't respond so why can't they make their point?
COULTER: But you're getting testy with me.
LAUER: No, no, I'm just -- I think it's -- I think it's a dramatic statement. These broads, you know, are millionaires (INAUDIBLE).
COULTER: Yes, you think I shouldn't be able to respond to them.
LAUER: I've never seen people enjoying their husband's death so much.
COULTER: Yes, they're all over the news.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, HANNITY & COLMES: I've never seen people enjoying their husband's death so much.
COULTER: That's right.
HANNITY: This is the heart. Did that take it out of the arena of debate and go to the personal?
COULTER: The truth cannot be delivered with Novocain. There have been plenty of precious little acerbic articles written about these women. No, the truth comes out screaming and bops people on the head. Now Americans recognize this. And I think in the future they won't fall for this practice of liberals voicing their (INAUDIBLE) political opinions on us by using a victim we're not allowed to respond to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That was from the FOX News Channel, the Hannity & Colmes program. Congressman Charles Rangel in Washington, the title of her book is "Godless, The Church of Liberalism." Do you believe that liberalism is irreligious?
RANGEL: Are you talking to me, Larry?
RANGEL: Oh, come on. She's a buffoon. She doesn't believe what she's saying. It's all about a dollar and short skirts and the problem is that she really doesn't care... MOSBACHER: Now that's a sexist remark.
MOSBACHER: I hope -- that's a sexist remark Charlie. Come on.
RANGEL: Get out of here.
MOSBACHER: It's OK for Ann Coulter, Charlie shame on you.
RANGEL: When she gets on these shows it's all show business with her.
KING: One at a time!
MOSBACHER: Why would you use an insult? Why would you...
KING: One at a time, hold it Georgette. Let him finish.
RANGEL: I really think that it's OK to do the show business thing and to make a buck but it's outrageous.
MOSBACHER: You're back pedaling.
RANGEL: It's outrageous to do this and lack the sensitivity of people who have lost their loved ones and it's just morally wrong to make a dollar doing this type of thing and there's another word for doing that.
MOSBACHER: Well, I just, I don't think that -- I think his remark was sexist and I don't think you stoop to her level in order to make the argument, Charlie. I'm disappointed, shame on you.
KING: Wait a minute, Georgette, you're defending her and you're accusing him of stooping to her level.
MOSBACHER: No, I didn't -- no, I didn't defend the way she said it. That's not fair, Larry. I said that I do think that there is -- it's fair to debate her argument. I don't think that I found -- personally I found it outrageous the words that she used. But I don't think we need to use that same kind of rhetoric to debate the issue.
KING: I see.
RANGEL: What I've said isn't anywhere near as to what she'd doing to the lives of so many people. If I offended any woman, I can apologize, but for the broad sweeping way that she has a lack of sensitivity for people who are mourning their loved ones that is completely outrageous.
KING: All right.
MOSBACHER: I agree with you, Charlie. It's insensitive.
KING: Tim Rutten -- hold on, hold on. Tim Rutten, is there any, can you find any merit to her argument? Let's say you can argue with the way she did it but does she have a point?
RUTTEN: She has an argument. It's not one with which I agree, no, but there's an argument there and there is a good argument to be had more generally about the practice that we've taken on in this country of granting victims absolute moral authority in every instance.
That's not to say you don't respect people's grief. Of course you do. That's the decent thing to do. But, look, for 20 years or more all criminal justice policy in this country has been driven by people who -- politicians who pander to victim's lobbies. So, you can't say anything about that.
I think that, you know, it's nice to see this argument coming from the right because purging our political debates of, I would not say unwarranted sympathy, but of (INAUDIBLE) to people simply because they've had a tragedy in their lives that would be a positive thing.
But, nowhere, nowhere in the process of doing that is it necessary to disrespect these people, to disrespect their experience, to disrespect their grief, or to call them names. That's just wrong.
KING: Supposing, David, that these people, these victims, had gone on to encouraging increased war? Supposing they had said "Let's go to Iran, supposing they had taken strong conservative approaches to things would you criticize them for speaking out?
HOROWITZ: Well, here's the...
HOROWITZ: First let me say that I think satire is deadly serious. What it does though is it just pushes the envelope. It exaggerates at a certain point to get your attention which is done very well.
Look, if a conservative widow accused Bill Clinton of, you know, betraying the country, I would think the Democrats have every right to attack her politically and that's all that this is about.
KING: Would you attack her? Would you attack her?
HOROWITZ: Well, I wouldn't because I think that Bill Clinton was, you know, largely responsible for keeping...
KING: For Iraq?
HOROWITZ: Not for Iraq, for keeping us...
KING: Oh, for 9/11.
HOROWITZ: ...defenseless over 9/11. Look, we're in a war and that means there are heightened passions. Everybody has them. And, there's no way you can stop it. It's in the public arena, so, you know, but we have to have ground rules that are fair and it's clear that -- I mean one of the things the Democrats are doing, you know, we have the other case of Jack Murtha who is a veteran, so he is allowed to say we should cut and run and give Iraq to the terrorists.
KING: And the other side is presented too but Murtha gets attention because he's a Marine veteran.
HOROWITZ: Yes, but it -- he gets attention but they also hold him harmless.
RUTTEN: He's also a congressman by the way.
RUTTEN: He's also a congressman by the way.
HOROWITZ: No, I'm not against him having this position but he's going to be attacked and I don't care if he's a veteran he's going to responsible for his political views.
RUTTEN: I'm going to keep this relentlessly focused on Ann Coulter but there is a difference between attacking a person's argument or ideas and attacking the person and that's the distinction that's being lost here.
KING: You think she's attacked the people?
MOSBACHER: I agree.
RUTTEN: Well, of course she has.
KING: Yes, all right. Let me get a break. The 9/11 widows that Coulter went after have responded with a statement. Here's part of what it says.
"We are forced to respond to Ms. Coulter's accusations to set the record straight because we have been slandered. Contrary to Ms. Coulter's statements, there was no joy in watching men that we loved burn alive.
There was no happiness in telling our children that their fathers were never coming home again. We adored these men and miss them every day. it is in their honor and memory that we will once again refocus the nation's attention to the real issues at hand, our lack of security, leadership and progress in the five years since 9/11."
When we come back, some others who were widowed on 9/11 just a couple minutes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Spend a few minutes with the Jersey girls and you may think they're lifelong friends. They are not. The four mothers never knew each other before September 11th but when all of them lost their husbands that day...
MINDY KLEINBERG, 9/11 WIDOW: We wanted to know how could this have happened? How could we live here and have been taken over by 19 terrorists from another country?
PATTY CASAZZA, 9/11 WIDOW: For us there would be no peace until we had the answers to all of our questions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We are now going to meet three victims of 9/11. They are not any of the five mentioned in Ann Coulter's book. In Boston is Christie Coombs. Her husband Jeff died on the flight from Boston to Los Angeles. She wrote an opinion piece about Ann Coulter this past weekend in the Patriot Ledger.
In New York is Gran Kestembaum. Her husband Howard died in Tower 2.
And, in Washington, is Rosemary Dillard. Her husband died on 9/11. That's the one that crashed into the Pentagon on Flight 77.
Christie, what's your read on this book?
CHRISTIE COOMBS, HUSBAND KILLED ON 9/11: Well, I don't know too much about the book. All I know is about what she's come out and said in the media with her various interviews that she's had. I know I won't be reading the book and I don't understand why she chose to attack a group of women that have done nothing to her and obviously women that she knows very little about because of the accusations that she's made against us.
KING: Were you shocked, Christie?
COOMBS: I was, you know at first I just kind of shirked it off and I laughed and said, you know, just somebody else slamming the 9/11 widows. And then as I was out and about, I was absolutely shocked at the response that people had that they kept asking me about it. And just they were flabbergasted and they were disgusted with her.
So, at that point, when the Patriot Ledger asked me to write an editorial I thought at first I wasn't going to but then I thought, you know what, people are frustrated enough, they're furious enough that they want to hear our response so that's why I decided to do that and that's why I decided to come here tonight. It shocked America I think even more if not as much as it shocked us.
KING: Gran Kestembaum in New York whose husband died in Tower 2, what do you make of this?
GRAN KESTEMBAUM, HUSBAND KILLED ON 9/11: Well, I know that there's not just one chapter in a book but that's all we know about. I don't think a purpose is served by what she did. Unfortunately it seems there's an atmosphere in this country that condones character attack in lieu of information.
I don't know if they trust the citizens of this country as I do to get information and to make up their own minds. These character attacks really make issues become smirky and almost impenetrable. I don't know what Ann Coulter's point was. I have no idea what it was because of the invective involved in it.
And, I'm quite -- I'm actually disappointed in her. She represents a person who has had an excellent education, who has been able to take advantage of wonderful opportunities who makes a really good living and there are so few of us who have a forum in which to voice our opinions that it's been wasted. I don't know what her opinion is. All is I know is the invective.
KING: Gran, do you know the other five, the five women mentioned in the book?
KESTEMBAUM: No, but I know their hearts are broken and I know the rest of the citizens in this country for the most part their hearts are broken too. The difference, of course, is with us that our loved ones are not going to come home again.
KING: Yes. Rosemary, what did you make of this book?
ROSEMARY DILLARD, HUSBAND KILLED ON 9/11: I think she's absolutely outrageous. I just, I couldn't believe it because I do know the women. I've worked with the women when they were trying to get the commission started and went to the commission hearings with them.
I think they've done nothing but -- and it's all been for the United States. It's been for Americans. I think that she's kind of lost somewhere and somewhere she's in trying to make money she lost sight on what's actually out there.
These four women it was not about profit. It was about accountability. We all wanted accountability. How could we let 17 people come into our country, get on our airplanes and cause that kind of havoc and death and destruction in one day in less than three or four hours?
KING: Rosemary, do you, even though you aren't named in the book, you're not one of the women, do you take it personally?
DILLARD: Yes, I do. I definitely take it personally because I think we stood up for Americans. I think they stood up for Americans. I think Mindy and Christian I think they went forward. They talked about -- they talked about issues. They didn't talk about people.
And then so far -- and even last week Congressman Shays had a meeting with 9/11 widows and some family members and they're still talking about America is not safe. There is still work to be done. Even though the commission has put these things out there, there are still things that must be handled. KING: Christie, do you think they will be handled?
COOMBS: I think they're on the right track to handling them and it's thanks to all the 9/11 widows and the 9/11 organizations that have been established to keep on the government to make sure that these things are going to be handled.
And, I think one thing that Ann Coulter should do is look into what these women are actually really about, to look into the great foundations that everybody has set up to help their communities, to help students get scholarships, to do all these things in their husband's memories because we all loved our husbands so much and we wanted to do something to keep their memories alive and to help the people that reached out to us just immediately after September 11th that helped us get through this. And, I think she totally missed the boat.
KING: Thanks, Christie and thanks Gran and thanks Rosemary.
The day after 9/11, one of my guests was Laura Van Auken. She's one of the so-called Jersey Girls that Ann Coulter attacked in her book. What you're about to see is very compelling. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Laura Van Auken is in New York. Her husband Kenneth is missing. He was working on the 102nd floor. What does he do Laura?
LAURA VAN AUKEN, HUSBAND KILLED ON 9/11: He works for Cantor Fitzgerald and he's a bond broker and he was on the 102nd floor and we just haven't heard anything at all.
KING: Did you talk to him at all? Did he call home?
L. VAN AUKEN: He called home. He left a message and that's the last I heard from him.
KING: We had -- that message was left on your answering machine?
L. VAN AUKEN: Yes, it was.
KING: Yes. Let's listen to the voice of Kenneth Van Auken calling home.
KENNETH VAN AUKEN, KILLED ON 9/11: I love you. I'm in the World Trade Center, the building was hit by something... I don't know if I'm going to get out but I love you very much. I hope I'll see you later...bye.
KING: Boy, Laura, what must it be like to hear that?
L. VAN AUKEN: It was just horrible. It was really just horrible. I could hear the terror in his voice and he was trying to sound like he was calm for us but you could hear the chaos in the background and the terror in his voice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COULTER: There are a lot more attacks on one side than the other. And if you're describing what I say about The Jersey Girls as reducing dialogue in America, au contraire. I think it's precisely the opposite. That is my objection to what liberals are doing by sending out victims as their spokespeople. I think it's the ugliest thing liberals have done to dialogue in this country.
Yes, there are important issues and we should discuss it, but if you have a point to make send out somebody who isn't a widow, who isn't an orphan, who didn't have a son die in Iraq, who didn't lose limbs in Vietnam to make the point so that we can respond because I don't want to hear when I respond, oh, that's mean, oh, that's mean. Let's have a dialogue about the issues. You never see conservatives doing that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back. Sounds angry. Anyway, just a point. I'll reintroduce my panel. She seems so mad. Anyway, the five widows mentioned in the book are not making media appearances. We issued their statement earlier. And Ann Coulter is on a media tour right now, is not available tonight. Back to our panel. Charlie Rangel, do you think she's going to make headway with this?
RANGEL: I think so. She's show business, and notwithstanding some of the televisions who say they're fair and balanced, they really like to have her out front because she's controversial and being controversial gets viewers and gets people mad and it gets people turning on the television.
KING: Georgette Mosbacher, doesn't she appear like -- just judging in appearance in that last clip from Lou Dobbs, angry at the victims?
MOSBACHER: Yes. And I think that's part of the issue. I mean, not only what she says and how she says it but the way she says it. And she does. She does seem angry. But that also may be Ann's schtick. I mean, let's face it. She may just be a brilliant marketer. Because here we all are, talking about her. This has been going on for a week.
The last time I looked her book was number one on Amazon.com. If this is her marketing tool, you grudgingly have to admire her for being a good marketer. Even if she had to take the low road to get there. As they say, she's laughing all the way to the bank. And we're helping her.
KING: Does that excuse it?
RUTTEN: No. I don't admire that kind of marketing at all no, matter what sort of results it gets. KING: Why does it get results?
RUTTEN: Well, because unfortunately, this is a very mean society these days. And it's one in which the differences between people have been personalized, people -- no one's just mistaken anymore. No one's wrong. They're dishonest. They're treasonous. They're conspiratorial.
No one's ever incorrect. They're a liar. So we've lost the habit of being civil to each other. Ann Coulter is an enabler, a facilitator of all this. And commentators like her. They are. I'm sorry, David, but they are. And you know, it's not necessary to have these discussions. You know what?
Let me say the unsayable in this sophisticated company. You know, we've talked about marketing and so forth. You don't come to a serious issue like this and you don't come to people who've experienced this thing with a schtick. You come with honesty. You come with your heart in your hand. And you're sincere. And you're serious. And you know what? This isn't serious. And that's the worst thing about it.
HOROWITZ: I disagree. I think this is serious. I think that Ann has done is a service. And I don't think people understand it, obviously, at all. There's a great human -- there's a great human tragedy. There's also a political argument. It wasn't Ann who crossed the line. It was these widows who crossed the line. They have called Bush a liar. They have accused him of being responsible for 9/11. And then you want to say --
KING: Hold on, Georgette. Don't speak --
HOROWITZ: Then you want to say hold them harmless. They can go out and call the president a liar and make him responsible for all these deaths but you can't respond to them.
What she is doing is breaking the sacrosanct bond around five women who misused their power. Look, they have a right to go into the political arena. But then they've got to, you know, take the heat.
RUTTEN: Why is being called a name -- why is being called a witch or a harpie part of being in the political arena?
HOROWITZ: Well, because that's what -- look, Bush is being called a murderer.
RUTTEN: What does that have to do with these women?
HOROWITZ: Who started calling the president of the United States --
RUTTEN: This is a school yard, you get me I get you? What kind of argument is that? HOROWITZ: What Ann is making here is a point about people that -- what she's saying is that Democrats, and this is true, put people like Max Cleland, who lost three limbs, you know, like Cindy Sheehan, who lost a son, and they put them in the front line so that Republicans and conservatives who support this war can't fight back. That's the issue.
I think it's perfectly legitimate --
KING: No Republican conservative has ever won the election with a lost limb? No Republican conservative --
HOROWITZ: Of course.
KING: So what are they doing?
HOROWITZ: The point is that on the war issue, it's very interesting. Jack Murtha. Jack Murtha is invulnerable because he's a veteran. Jack Murtha said we should get out immediately, which means give Iraq to the terrorists. So the Republicans put -- this is all described in Ann's book. The Republicans put up a bill saying let's withdraw now. And no Democrats voted for it. And that shows you what's going on. The Democrats want us to quit, but they are afraid to say it.
KING: Congressman Rangel, you want to comment on what David just said?
RANGEL: No. David's already got his schtick. I really think that a lot should be said about these courageous women. People mourn in different ways. And to think that they're just not staying home crying but they're trying to really let America know that they have concerns. Should people differ with them if they don't agree? Of course they should. But these are vicious attacks against people that are going through one of the most painful periods in their lives. And I really don't think for a couple of dollars and to sell a couple of books that this should be done. This shouldn't even be tolerated.
KING: Let me get a break. When we come back, we'll talk with two New Jersey assemblywomen who want to ban the book. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Patty Castasa and Mindy Kleinberg joined with Kristen Breitweiser and Lorie Van Aukin to form a group of 9/11 families hoping for answers.
LORIE VAN AUKIN: 9/11 for us was a colossal failure, a failure of defense, security.
ANNOUNCER: And change.
MINDY KLEINBERG: We don't want to have another attack. We don't want anybody to walk in our shoes.
REPORTER: So these women did something about it and pushed hard for the creation of a 9/11 commission.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: One conservative commentator Ann Coulter is her name, has triggered an uproar.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Someone comes along and makes a comment that goes over the line.
KEITH OLBERMANN, MSNBC ANCHOR: If you were Ann Coulter's attorney at a sanity hearing, where could you possibly start?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Conservative pundit Ann Coulter was front- page news today for what she's written about some 9/11 widows.
COULTER: He is in charge of...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you've actually attacked widows.
COULTER: ... running the foreign policy under the Constitution of the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've actually attacked women, bereaved women.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE in New York Joan Quigley and Linda Stender. They are Democrats, and they are members of the New Jersey assembly, and they are jointly urging New Jersey retailers to boycott Ann Coulter's new book.
Joan, that sounds un-American. Why boycott?
JOAN QUIGLEY (D), NEW JERSEY ASSEMBLY: I don't want to see her make money on the mockery that she's making. She complains in the book that these broads, as she inexplicably calls them, are millionaires. And yet she wants to become a millionaire from their misery. I don't want to see that happen.
KING: So Linda, you're not saying ban the book, are you?
LINDA STENDER (D), NEW JERSEY ASSEMBLY: No. I'm saying boycott the book. You know, Ann has every right to stand up and say and write whatever she so chooses. But we also have the right to stand up and say that this is cruel, it's heartless, how dare she, and don't buy the book.
KING: Joan Quigley, I guess someone once said boycott is as -- William F. Buckley -- boycott is as American as apple pie. If you don't like something, don't buy it. QUIGLEY: I suppose that's true. And that's what we want people to do. Larry, I'd like to comment on something you were talking about earlier. And that's some people, Ann Coulter and others, were saying that the widows were cloaking themselves in moral authority. And I don't agree with that. What they have is credibility. What they have is they've been there. And their activism is making things work. Without that we wouldn't have a Brady Bill or a Mothers Against Drunk Driving or Megan's Law. It's out of people's tragedy that good things can happen.
KING: Is it true, Joan, that someone e-mailed you threatening to cut your throat so you could bleed all over everyone in New Jersey?
QUIGLEY: The blankety blank state of New Jersey.
QUIGLEY: Yes. I received about 200 pieces of hate mail, mostly from other parts of the country. And what astonishes me is the people who don't think that I should criticize Ann's criticism are threatening to kill me.
KING: Linda, you do realize that usually when you support a boycott or promote one you help sales.
STENDER: You know, Larry, I gave some thought to that before we started to even have this conversation. Do you say nothing? And it just seemed to me that to say nothing would be to stand idly by and not stand up for all that these women have done and all that we have all been through with this tragedy.
You know, living in New Jersey, you know, every person, I think, that lives in New Jersey can remember where they were on 9/11 and watched the smoke rise from where the towers had been. So this is very personal to people in New Jersey. And people are really upset that somebody so heartless could try to be so vindictive towards what these women have done when in fact they have put their hearts and their grief into making us safer.
KING: Thank you. Joan Quigley and Linda Stender, members of the New Jersey Assembly, calling for a boycott. You think that could work, Charlie Rangel?
RANGEL: Well, no, I think it works. But as she said, it works for Ann Coulter. She has no shame, and she's winning every day. And there will be more publicity as a result of your worldwide show, letting people know who she is, and as long as it works for her, if she can make a buck over the misery of victims, she's going to do it.
KING: But Georgette, a boycott is fair. I can ask someone not to buy a book.
MOSBACHER: Absolutely. I mean, you said it, Larry. It is very American as apple pie. And that's what people should do. I mean, if you don't agree, if you are offended by this, you shouldn't be buying her book. I couldn't agree more with the assemblywomen. KING: You want to say something, Tim?
RUTTEN: Yes. I couldn't disagree more with them. I'm against book -- organized book boycotts, full stop, no exceptions.
RUTTEN: Because it's a decision that ought to be made by individual consumers and not by people acting under the impulse of groups. A boycott of books are a bad idea. The remedy for bad speech is good speech. The remedy for uncivil speech is more civil speech.
KING: Let's check in with John Roberts. He's sitting in for Anderson Cooper. He will host "A.C. 360" at the top of the hour. John, what's up?
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Larry, you've got a whirlwind going there but we're looking at an even bigger one out there in the Gulf of Mexico. Coming up at the top of the hour on "360," the first-named storm of the season is bearing down on Florida as we speak. The National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Alberto threatens to become a hurricane. The Weather Service issues a new status report during our show tonight, and we'll bring that to you. You're going to want to make sure that you're around for that. We've also got teams along the Florida coast for the latest reports on the ground.
Plus a "360" exclusive. The shadowy world of security contractors in Iraq. Billions of your tax dollars going to these firms, but is anyone watching what they're doing? Tonight, why one violent video has some people saying it's an industry that's out of control. All that and more, Larry, coming up at the top of the hour.
KING: Thanks, John -- John Roberts, one of the best broadcasters. The host of "A.C. 360" tonight sitting in for Anderson, who's out on tour for his book out here out west. And as we go to break, another victim of 9/11 speaks out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KRISTEN BREITWEISER, 9/11 WIDOW: If you're going to use 9/11, if you're going to be impassioned about the lives lost on 9/11, then do so by making us safer. Don't use 9/11 to go to war in a country that had nothing to do with 9/11. Not on my husband's name.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Two more victims join us. In Boston, Massachusetts, Cindy McGinty, who lost her 42 year old husband Michael on 9/11. Michael was attending a meeting in the North Tower. And in New York, Charles Wolf, who lost his wife when the North Tower came down on 9/11. Cindy, your reaction to this book.
CINDY MCGINTY, HUSBAND KILLED IN WORLD TRADE CENTER OF 9/11: Well, you know, it's very troubling at best. I think that Ann Coulter's words are very calculated to sell books. I think it's -- you know, we're coming up on the fifth year since 9/11, and I think she chose her words very carefully in order to sell books and create controversy.
Personally, though, I find it insulting and think that she comes across as very uneducated and mean-spirited, and I think she owes everyone who lost someone on 9/11 a public apology for the words that she chose.
KING: Charles, have you seen any of her media appearances?
CHARLES WOLF, HUSBAND KILLED IN WORLD TRADE CENTER ON 9/11: Well, I watched the tape on the Internet of her appearance on "The Today Show," and I didn't know anything about this woman until then. And I must say that I thought that she was something of an idiot, to tell you the truth.
But after I learned that she is very well educated, I realized that she was playing the American people. And she knows how to play the game, and she knows how to do it very, very well. And what she plays on is she constructs a sentence that's half truth and then half her own opinion and treats it all as truth. And a lot of people buy into it, and that's a really sad thing that a lot of the American public is buying into it.
Normally I would say that I wouldn't appear on anything like this because I wouldn't want to further her book and further the publicity about it. But as some of the other guests earlier said, that it's really, really important that people hear the other side. And they can know about that book. And they can choose not to buy it. Because those Jersey Girls and many of the other of us, including myself, we've put ourselves out there for the last four years.
WOLF: 9/11 -- having lost my wife on 9/11, it was really great seeing that photo of her. I haven't looked at that one for a while. It made me smile. But it's not like a normal death. It's not like losing your spouse or your husband or your daughter or whatever in a car crash or something. This has gone on and on and on. And some of us have chosen to carry the mantle.
If it wasn't for sally Reigenhart we would not have had the investigation into why the towers collapsed and getting new building standards. We wouldn't have had the 9/11 Commission. All these things wouldn't have happened.
KING: Cindy, were you offended at her calling the widows millionaires?
MCGINTY: You know, I really was. And part of that is it feeds into public perception that we all -- and according to Ken Feinberg, we all got about $2 million. That's not true. Each family got an award based on its circumstances. And the award that my family got was far less than that. And it offends me that she's going around feeding into that perception.
You know, I'm a widow now, unable to work because my children were so traumatized by 9/11 and I don't have any family in the area. You know, we have not changed our lifestyle at all since Mike died. We're still in the same place that we were. And we're very lucky to be there. But it does offend me that she's portraying us as millionairesses who are off jaunting out and about. I find that very insulting.
KING: Cindy McGinty and Charles Wolf, we thank you. We're going to be doing a major program, by the way, on 9/11 this year when we look back at the fifth anniversary. We'll have our panel with some concluding comments. As we go to break, the obvious. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I said that's going to go down like the first one. And it came down, and it was just this sound, this rumble. And this mass cloud coming at us. It was intense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID LETTERMAN, TALK SHOW HOST: Abu Musab al Zarqawi was the world's most unhinged lunatic. He's now dead. So that moves Ann Coulter up to first place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: All right, Charles. How well will the book do?
RANGEL: It's going to do extraordinarily well. You know, all my life I heard this saying that some people would do anything for a buck. And I think Ann Coulter really justifies and personalizes that saying. It's going to sell.
KING: Georgette, how well will it do?
MOSBACHER: Well, it's already done very well. It's already No. 1 on Amazon. So -- and I think all of this publicity, hey, what they say, you couldn't buy it.
KING: How do you think it will do, Tim? You've been talking about books for a long time.
RUTTEN: Well, you know, it'll sell books. But that's not the measure of this situation. It's the -- it's the consequence of selling books like this. It's the consequence of writing books in this style. It's the consequence of conducting political arguments in this style. That's what this is really about. It's not about sales. I mean, not everything is about money.
KING: David? HOROWITZ: I see David Letterman comparing Ann Coulter to Zarqawi. That's civilized commentary.
KING: It was funny.
HOROWITZ: It was funny. Ann Coulter's book is a riot. I hope it goes to No. 1 on "The Times" list. And I don't think for a second that she wrote this book for money, or did these things for money.
She did it because she passionately believes that we're in the middle of a war in Iraq and conservatives like myself see half the country abandoning our troops in the field. You cannot support the troops and not support the war and surrendering the country to the terrorists. And this woman, Kristen Breitweiser, who you just had on has attacked even the war in Afghanistan, saying that we're there to protect the pipeline. She's a mouthpiece for wild-eyed --
KING: Quickly, Tim.
RUTTEN: David, two thirds of this book, not about the war in Iraq. About her opposition to stem cell research, the theory of evolution, public school teachers who she accused of mass child molestation.
HOROWITZ: I agree with that.
RUTTEN: I mean, come on.
HOROWITZ: The teacher unions are destroying the lives of millions of young kids.
KING: We shall continue on another day. There's another book out, and Sunday is Father's Day. It's my book. "Larry King: My Dad and Me." It's a heartwarming collection of stories about fathers by famous fathers, including George Bush, Bob Costas, Derek Jeter, Don Mattingly, Donald Trump, and others. Make a great gift. And all of the proceeds go to Larry King Cardiac foundation. We thank all of our guests for being with us.
Now we turn things over to New York. John Roberts will host "AC 360" as Anderson Cooper is touring the West Coast. John, what's up?
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