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Coulter under fire for anti-gay slur

Story Highlights

• Coulter condemned for referring to John Edwards as a "faggot"
• Edwards attempting to raise $100,000 in 'Coulter Cash' for his campaign
• Comment was made by Coulter at 34th Conservative Political Action Conference
• CNN has reached out to Coulter and has so far had no response
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Prominent politicians from both parties and a gay-rights group on Saturday condemned right-wing commentator Ann Coulter for her reference Friday to Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards as a "faggot."

"Ann Coulter's use of an anti-gay slur yesterday was un-American and indefensible," Edwards said in a posting on his Web site,

"In America, we strive for equality and embrace diversity. The kind of hateful language she used has no place in political debate or our society at large.

"I believe it is our moral responsibility to speak out against that kind of bigotry and prejudice every time we encounter it."

Edwards' campaign posted the video on their Web site, and asked readers to help them "raise $100,000 in 'Coulter Cash' this week to keep this campaign charging ahead and fight back against the politics of bigotry."

Coulter made her comment in Washington during an address to the 34th annual meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference, during which she gave her opinions about the Democrats' slate of presidential hopefuls.

"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,' so I'm - so, kind of at an impasse, can't really talk about Edwards, so I think I'll just conclude here and take your questions," said Coulter, whose comment was followed by applause.

CNN has reached out to Coulter's representative, and received no response.

But the New York Times reported that she responded, in an e-mail, "C'mon, it was a joke. I would never insult gays by suggesting that they are like John Edwards. That would be mean."

A spokesman for Sen. John McCain, a Republican presidential candidate, called Coulter's comments to the conservative group "wildly inappropriate."

In a written statement, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, said, "Ann Coulter's words of hate have no place in the public sphere much less our political discourse. Not only should she apologize but those who participated in the conference with her should denounce her shameful and divisive actions."

"Ann Coulter's use of this anti-gay slur is vile and unacceptable," said Neil G. Giuliano, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, "and the applause from her audience is an important reminder that Coulter's ugly brand of bigotry is at the root of the discriminatory policies being promoted at this gathering."

In a written statement, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean called on Republicans to denounce her remarks. "There is no place in political discourse for this kind of hate-filled and bigoted comments," he said.

During a question-and-answer session, Coulter referred back to the issue of gays by alluding to the bid for the Republican presidential nomination being made by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

"I do want to point out one thing that has been driving me crazy with the media -- how they keep describing Mitt Romney's position as being pro-gays, and that's going to upset the right wingers," she said. "Well, you know, screw you! I'm not anti-gay. We're against gay marriage. I don't want gays to be discriminated against."

She added, "I don't know why all gays aren't Republican. I think we have the pro-gay positions, which is anti-crime and for tax cuts. Gays make a lot of money and they're victims of crime. No, they are! They should be with us."

A spokesman for Romney called Coulter's use of the slur "offensive."

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Conservative commentator Ann Coulter has been widely criticized for calling presidential candidate John Edwards a 'faggot.'



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