By Jennifer Amsler
EVAN CARAVELLI/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Conservative political speaker and author Ann Coulter addressed a crowd at Centennial Hall last night. Coulter's night was marked by surprises, including being almost two hours late due to a delayed flight, and having a pie thrown at her while she was speaking.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, October 22, 2004
Conservative author bashes Kerry, Democrats at packed Centennial
Two men ran up on stage last night and threw pies at conservative author Ann Coulter while she spoke in Centennial Hall.
Coulter was speaking to a full house, answering questions from the audience when the men approached the stage.
Lucina Kress, a junior majoring in Spanish, said she and others ran out of Centennial Hall to chase the two men.
Soaking wet from last night's rain, Kress said as a member of the UA College Republicans, she wanted to do her part to capture the men who disrupted Coulter's speech.
"They could have combated her with words, but instead resorted to physical violence," Kress said.
Coulter made light of the situation even after one of the men was taken away in handcuffs.
"From that far away they can't even hit me?" she joked.
Up until the pie-throwing incident, Coulter's speech was uninterrupted, even though a few dozen protesters stood outside with signs.
Following filmmaker Michael Moore's visit Oct. 11, at which students interrupted with vocal protests and more than 100 people protested outside the speech, Coulter's visit has stirred up political controversy for her conservative views.
She spoke about the war in Iraq and said there is a distinct connection between Iraq and Osama bin Laden, despite what Democrats have said.
"There is always evidence but maybe not enough to convince an O.J. (Simpson) jury," she said.
Coulter mentioned the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and said the man responsible ended up Iraq.
She said Democrats argue that George W. Bush went to war for oil.
"Has anyone been to a gas pump lately? I don't think the 'war for oil' has worked for us," Coulter said.
Coulter arrived two and a half hours late due to airplane delays and incorporated her experience into the speech. She said she thinks airport security needs to make changes in who they search and not be afraid to racially profile.
She said she was in a special line to be further searched for explosives and weapons.
"I realized the only people that need to be searched were the people doing the searching," Coulter said.
She said all of the people being searched were blonde women.
MICHAEL STRICKLER/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Protestors braved the rain outside of Centennial Hall last night in order to voice their opposition to conservative speaker Ann Coulter.
She said in the midst of tiptoeing around race, security is not searching the individuals that are Muslim.
"If ethnic appearances could be used, it could stop the next terrorist attack. It's not racial profiling, it's a description of the subject," Coulter said.
"Democrats have failed to make a connection between Muslim extremists and Muslim extremist violence," she said.
Coulter said Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., would not make a good president and called him a "bum."
"Kerry and his wife are sitting on money made by other men," she said.
Coulter said Kerry and other Democrats complain about the loss of jobs during Bush's term. She told the audience that Sept. 11, 2001 cost the country $1 trillion.
Coulter also criticized Democrats by saying they have no policies of their own, "unless constant harping is a policy," she said.
Coulter briefly spoke about other issues like women in combat, gay marriage and abortion.
She told the audience to vote for Bush because she said it won't matter if they agree or disagree with him, ultimately the American people can decide on important issues.
"All that happens is that you people will get to vote on it," Coulter said.
Many students said they attended Coulter's speech to hear her bold comments Adam Wardell, an engineering freshman, said he came to get politically fired up by listening to Coulter's comments.
"There is more truth than some people want to admit," Wardell said.
Ronnie Novacek, a political science junior, said she doesn't mind Coulter's daring statements.
"More power to her, she's speaking her mind," Novacek said.
Some students didn't agree with everything she had to say but attended because they saw Moore and wanted to hear both ends of the political spectrum.
Brian Wheelwright, an optical sciences and engineering freshman, said he attended the Moore speech and wanted to see what Coulter had to say.
"She is just as conservative as Moore is liberal, but I am willing to see both," said Wheelwright, who chanted "four more years" at Moore's speech.
"We've had such extremists on campus, there's been no one in the middle," Wheelwright said.
The College Republicans invited the conservative speaker to balance out Michael Moore's visit.
Pete Seat, a member of UACR, introduced Coulter and criticized Associated Students of the UA for being biased and unbalanced, but said it didn't matter because UACR prevailed last night.
Seat said ASUA backed out of supporting Coulter's visit to campus because ASUA didn't think it would generate enough support.
"ASUA can't stop her and the weather can't stop her," Seat said.
UACR paid Coulter $20,000 for her visit and opened it to the public for free.
Zoe Ott, history junior, said since it is an election year, more people are speaking out politically.
"She's just exercising her rights like anyone else. I respect her for what she thinks and believes," Ott said.