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Coulter's remarks aid Edwards' war chest

June 28, 2007|From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards said Wednesday that conservative author Ann Coulter's attacks on him were hurtful, even as his campaign used her remarks in an appeal for donations.

Edwards, a former senator from North Carolina, was responding 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 to supporters for donations.

It was not the first time Coulter had given the Edwards campaign a financial boost. In March, she used the word "faggot" in reference to Edwards, and his campaign used video of the comment to help raise $300,000 before the end of the first quarter.

In the latest 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 advisor Joe Trippi showed a clip of Coulter on ABC's "Good Morning America," where she made the assassination comments 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 -- whose comment about Cheney drew little attention -- 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 Elizabeth Edwards and demanding that the campaign stop using her name to raise money if they want her to stop such attacks. Response to the controversy was so large that it repeatedly crashed the server for MSNBC's political blog Wednesday.

Elizabeth Edwards followed up with an e-mail to supporters Wednesday morning that included a clip of their exchange and a donation request. 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 told the Associated Press. "What happens if you are silent when this kind of hateful language is used -- not just by her, but by anyone -- hate gets a foothold."

Edwards pointed out that Coulter's attacks hadn'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 Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama is outrageous," Edwards said. "And somebody has to stand up when she makes these kind of attacks."

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