(guest blogged by Logan Murphy)
While the Romney and McCain campaigns have given perfunctory statements distancing themselves from Ann Coulter's disgusting statement yesterday about John Edwards, none of them feel particularly moved to condemn her altogether or marginalize her out of speaking at national Republican forums.
Matt Browner Hamlin at The Huffington Post gets it right:
Romney did pick up Ann Coulter's endorsement today. After her panel, a questioner asked who she would pick amidst the Republican field and Coulter replied that "He [Romney] is probably our best candidate." She added, "Romney tricked liberals into voting for him. I like a guy who hoodwinks liberals so easily." [Andrew Sullivan confirms this quote.]
Of course, Coulter's more notable comment wasn't about Romney, but Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards. "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." The CPAC audience hooted and hollered their approval of Coulter's blatant homophobia, something that they knew would likely manifest itself during her talk.
Earlier in his speech, Romney said, "I'm happy to learn that after I speak you're going to hear from Ann Coulter. That's a good thing. I think it's important to get the views of moderates." It is truly shameful that Romney thinks it's a good thing for Coulter to spew her bigotry at anyone, let alone a candidate for the presidency. Does Mitt Romney agree with Coulter's homophobia? Does he think there's something wrong with being gay, as Coulter clearly does? Romney values Coulter's support because, as Glenn Greenwald notes, "she reflects [the] true impulses" of the conservative movement." It is the same part of the conservative movement that is in attendance at CPAC every year and it is who Romney came to court and Coulter came to speak to.
Everyone got all up in arms about a few anonymous posts by citizens on blogs saying that the Afghans should have been successful in assassinating Cheney, but this woman has a national platform. By continuing to give her a national platform and being seen at engagements with her, they are tacitly approving of her tactics if not this one statement. She made those horrible 9/11 widow statements last year (they responded first here at C&L), at last year's CPAC, she called Muslims "ragheads" and yet, she was STILL invited to speak at CPAC and Romney didn't seem all that bothered by her statements.
Romney and McCain are trying to get a pass by denouncing this one statement, but will they invite her again? Will Romney reject her endorsement? The answer should be a resounding "yes".