You have to hand it to Steve Roberts, husband of NPR's Cokie Roberts, for even attempting to moderate a talk between Al Franken and Ann Coulter. The polar-opposite pundits, and frequent critics of each other, appeared together for the first time at a panel "discussion" hosted by Roberts. The combination resulted in a bizarre and predictably harsh exchange.
Roberts: Do you think the Bush administration did anything wrong in regard to the war in Iraq?
Coulter: "When we won the war in a few weeks with amazingly few casualties, all the liberals had to complain about was some broken pottery. Any college student who was ever forced to gaze at Mesopotamian pottery was relieved."
When the crowd gasped at some of Coulter's comments, she told them to continue to be rude: "It keeps getting Republicans elected."
Franken's take on Coulter's anti-gay marriage stance: "This whole Christian thing is weird to me. In the Bible it says it's an abomination to eat pork, and there are also instructions on how to sell daughters into slavery, which maybe I can ask for your advice on, Ann."
Franken also baited Coulter about her age, which has been a source of speculation, to which Coulter responded: "I've written books about Joseph McCarthy, Bill Clinton getting impeached, but all Al can argue about with me is that I lie about my age. I don't lie about my age. I'm 23."
Franken shot back: "I think you should be in Guantanamo where under John Ashcroft the rules of the Geneva Convention wouldn't apply."
Roberts tried to break it up and called for an intermission, but Franken wouldn't relent. Coulter changed the subject: "The important question is how tall are you?"
Franken: "Five foot eight."
Coulter: "No you're not."
Franken: "Yes, I am. It's on my driver's license."
And who said the state of American political debate is polluted by partisan rancor?