From NBC's Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro
The wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards called into MSNBC's "Hardball" on Tuesday to confront Ann Coulter on her personal attacks on her husband and family.
Coulter, the controversial conservative commentator, appeared on an outdoor set with host Chris Matthews -- and also with dozens of supporters and detractors waiting to ask questions. But there was another person waiting to pose a question to Coulter: Elizabeth Edwards.
According to an Edwards campaign aide, Elizabeth Edwards wanted to call into the show when she heard that Coulter would be taking questions, and she called a Hardball producer to get the phone number needed to dial into the show. The result is the exchange below:
Chris Matthews: You know who's on the line? Somebody to respond to what you said Edwards yesterday morning -- Elizabeth Edwards. She wanted to call in today we said she could. Elizabeth Edwards go on the line you're on the line with Ann Coulter
Elizabeth Edwards: Hello, Chris.
CM: You wanna say something directly to the person who's with me?
EE: I'm calling you … in the south when we -- when someone does something that displeases us, we wanna ask them politely to stop doing it. Uh - I'd like to ask Ann Coulter -- if she wants to debate on issues, on positions -- we certainly disagree with nearly everything she said on your show today -- um but uh it's quite another matter for these personal attacks that the things she has said over the years not just about John but about other candidates -- it lowers our political dialogue precisely at the time that we need to raise it. So I want to use the opportunity … to ask her politely stop the personal attacks.
Ann Coulter: OK, so I made a joke -- let's see six months ago -- and as you point out they've been raising money off of it for six months since then.
CM: This is yesterday morning, what you said about him.
AC: I didn't say anything about him actually either time.
EE: Ann, you know that's not true. And once more its been going on for sometime.
AC: I don't mind you trying to raise money. I mean it's better this than giving $50,000 speeches to the poor.
EE: I'm asking you
AC: Just to use my name on the Web pages…
EE: I'm asking you politely…
AC: … but as for a debate with me, um yeah, sure. Yeah, we'll have a debate
EE: I'm asking you politely to stop personal attacks.
AC: How bout you stop raising money on the Web page then?
EE: It didn't start it did not
AC: No you don't have cause I don't mind
EE: It did not start with that you had a column a number of years ago
AC: OK, great the wife of a presidential candidate is calling in asking me to stop speaking
CM: Let her finish the point...
AC: You're asking me to stop speaking stop writing your columns, stop writing your books.
CM: OK, Ann. Please.
EE: You wrote a column a couple years ago which made fun of the moment of Charlie Dean's death, and suggested that my husband had a bumper sticker on the back of his car that said ask me about my dead son. This is not legitimate political dialogue.
AC: That's now three years ago
EE: It debases political dialogue. It drives people away from the process. We can't have a debate about issues if you're using this kind of language.
AC: Yeah why isn't John Edwards making this call?
CM: Well do you want to respond and we'll end this conversation?
EE: I haven't talked to John about his call.
AC: This is just another attempt for –
EE: I'm making this call as a mother. I'm the mother of that boy who died. My children participate -- these young people behind you are the age of my children. You're asking them to participate in a dialogue that's based on hatefulness and ugliness instead of on the issues and I don't think that's serving them or this country very well.
CM: Thank you very much Elizabeth Edwards. Do you want to -- you have all the time in the world to respond.
AC: I think we heard all we need to hear. The wife of a presidential candidate is asking me to stop speaking. No.