'Conservative provocateur' Ann Coulter speaks in Columbia

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 | 10:25 p.m. CDT
Ann Coulter speaks at Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts on Wednesday. Coulter is the author of seven New York Times bestsellers and has been a guest on shows such as Jay Leno, HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" and "The O'Reilly Factor."

COLUMBIA — Conservative author and columnist Ann Coulter stopped in Columbia on Wednesday to give her views on unemployment, the Republican primary elections and President Obama's plans for health care reform.

Coulter's visit to the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts was sponsored by the Mizzou College Republicans, and tickets were free.

In Coulter's talk, which lasted less than an hour, including time for questions, she criticized Obama and the Democratic Party for both economic and social policies. About half the theater was filled for Coulter's presentation. Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder introduced Coulter, saying she is "one of America's great conservative provocateurs."

Coulter lamented that anyone would celebrate Obama for the currently decreasing unemployment rates, when the lowest unemployment rates of Obama's time in office were his first day. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate during January 2009 was 7.8 percent, and rates have not been that low since then.

"If he directs any more of his brilliance toward the economy, we could all be on bread lines, which sucks for me because I'm on Atkins," she said.

She said that Obama's health care reform was a solution to a problem created by the government. When states mandate what health insurance must cover, then insurance ends up covering any ailments with a lobbying group behind them, such as gambling addictions, she said.

Instead of having a free market for health insurance, the Democrats' solution is more government, she said.

"It's like trying to sober up by having another drink," she said, before adding slyly, "But that's fun."

Coulter said the upcoming presidential election is the most important election in Americans' lifetimes.

"If we don't repeal Obamacare in the next four years, that's it," she said, adding that the U.S. would then be like a European country without any of the cute cafés.

To address the Republican primary elections, Coulter said she believes Gov. Mitt Romney is more conservative than both Newt Gingrich and Sen. Rick Santorum. To further her point, she said that he was able to slash government spending in "North Korea" — referring to Massachusetts.

Two MU seniors protested the event by holding signs outside the theater during Coulter's talk.

"What we came out here to promote today is the general attitude of the university and the people who inhabit Columbia ... I can't let her think that this town supports her being here," said Lana Minor, who said she identifies as liberal.

Minor added that she believes that the majority of conservatives want to work with liberals.

Sarah Ivey, holding a sign that said "Ann Coulter is not Mizzou," said Coulter is selling an image of a right-wing conservative through her messages.

"But when you dig deeper, it's hateful and inflammatory messages that are detrimental to everyone," Ivey said.

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Mark Foecking April 12, 2012 | 1:29 p.m.

"I can't let her think that this town supports her being here,"

I'm fine with her being here, even though I think a lot of what she said is election year hyperbole (the most important election in American's lifetimes? Haven't they all been for the last 30 years?)

It's called freedom of speech. Don't like it? Don't listen to it. However, a lot of times one can learn by putting partisanship aside and actually listening and checking what pundits say. Of course, many times you'll simply find the pundit is wrong, but that's what makes you a better informed citizen.


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