Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards on Wednesday encouraged his supporters to donate to his campaign in response to “hateful” comments from conservative author Ann Coulter.
Edwards made his first comments to The Associated Press in response to Coulter’s suggestion that she wished he would be “killed in a terrorist assassination plot.” His campaign cited her remarks in two e-mails and a telephone text message to supporters for donations, with the fundraising deadline on Saturday.
It’s not the first time Coulter has given the Edwards campaign a financial boost. In March, she called Edwards a “faggot” and the campaign used video of the comment to help raise $300,000 before the end of the first quarter.
In the e-mails, the campaign asked supporters to send donations to defy her remarks and help Edwards meet his goal of raising $9 million in the second quarter. The first e-mail from campaign adviser Joe Trippi showed a clip of Coulter on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” where she made the comments on Monday.
In answering criticism of her March speech, Coulter referred to comedian Bill Maher’s suggestion, also in March, that “people wouldn’t be dying needlessly” if Vice President Dick Cheney had been killed when terrorists launched an attack as he visited Afghanistan. She contends that Maher â€” whose comment about Cheney drew little attention â€” was not joking. “So I’ve learned my lesson,” she said on the ABC program. “If I’m going to say anything about John Edwards in the future, I’ll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot.”
When Coulter appeared Tuesday on MSNBC’s “Hardball,” Elizabeth Edwards called in to ask Coulter to stop making personal attacks on her husband. The exchanged deteriorated, with Coulter shouting over Mrs. Edwards and demanding that the campaign stop using her name to raise money if they want her to stop personal attacks. Response to the controversy was so large that it repeatedly crashed the server for MSNBC’s political blog Wednesday.
Mrs. Edwards followed up with an e-mail to supporters Wednesday morning that included a clip of their exchange and a donation request. The campaign also sent a text message to supporters’ cell phones, asking them to call to hear a recording of the clip and an appeal from Mrs. Edwards to donate. The campaign said it raised more money this week than from any previous e-mail campaign but declined to give a total.
“I think when they engage in these attacks and use the language of hate, it’s very important to stand up,” Edwards said. “What happens if you are silent when this kind of hateful language is used â€” not just by her, but by anyone â€” hate gets a foothold.”
Edwards pointed out that Coulter’s attacks haven’t been limited to him, but also included his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination. Coulter has made fun of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s legs and compared Barack Obama to terrorists because his middle name is Hussein.
“What she said about Senator Clinton and Senator Obama is outrageous,” Edwards said. “And somebody has to stand up when she makes these kind of attacks.”
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