The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

06 April 2006

Ann Coulter, Al Franken, Los Angeles Forum


Who's On First Flap Nearly Derails Franken-Coulter Debate

For over a week, we've been trying to track down the details of a reported backstage Al Franken pre-debate meltdown. If it did occur, what triggered the tantrum?

Because our tipsters had only second-hand information, we've been looking for a full eyewitness account of what happened before last week's Al Franken-Ann Coulter showdown at the Universal Ampitheatre in Los Angeles.

Do you think Coulter, an eyewitness who wasn't one of our sources, would be eager to spill the beans? Guess again.

To get her version, we enlisted several Radio Equalizer friends who've probably by now driven the fiery conservative bombthrower batty.

While we were never able to get Coulter on the record, our friend Ned Rice, a writer for the Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson on CBS, was able to track down an account from her bodyguard. While Rice attended the event, he missed this particular backstage exchange.

At the same time, Franken himself has written a nasty piece about the event for the Huffington Post. Completely missing is any discussion of the backstage brawl over who would speak first:

Last Monday, after my debate with Coulter at the Universal Amphitheatre in L.A., there was no sympathy from Franni. Just a strong sense of disgust. Because Coulter had chosen a strange strategy. Offend the audience and then act the victim.

The event was part of a lecture series sponsored by the University of Judaism. The previous debate had featured Newt Gingrich and John Edwards before a crowd of about 5000 subscribers. About 5500 had gathered for me and Ann. The extra five hundred presumably were fans of mine and of Ann's.

Before the debate, there was a dinner for about 75 sponsors – mainly middle-aged-to- older Jewish couples. Between dinner and dessert Ann and I were to each make three minutes of remarks. I had planned to open with my usual at such Jewish events: "I'm going to start by answering the question I've been asked most tonight – Yes, I've had enough to eat."

But Ann went first, and set her tone for the entire evening. "It was fascinating being here for the demonstrations this weekend," she said with a snotty Darien sneer. "I guess that's why I didn't get clean towels in my hotel room this morning."

There was an audible gasp from the Jews. Ann continued: "I haven't seen so many agitated Mexicans since the World Cup Soccer Games were in L.A." As offended as the diners were, the waiters were pissed. Ann was actually dumb enough to drink her coffee afterwards.

I answered by saying that I hadn't seen so many agitated Mexicans since 1846 when James K. Polk invaded Mexico because he thought Santa Ana had weapons of mass destruction. I wasn't sure of the year, but I thought the different approaches to our "agitated Mexican" jokes might give everyone an idea of what to expect.

Fortunately, the debate had something of a formal structure to it. I led off with a twenty minute speech in which I eviscerated Ann, followed by her twenty minutes in which she defended herself by saying she was a flawed person and then proceeded to accuse Democrats of being traitors.

Then there was about an hour with the president of the university leading a discussion during which she lost everyone but her most dedicated fans, of which there were maybe fifty by the end of the evening. At one point, when I was talking about making sure our returning veterans got proper medical care, one of her nutcase followers yelled, "Boring!"

Are these bona fide Coulter quotes? If so, why didn't Franken's lefty followers plaster them all over the Internet the next day?

Even if she did say what Franken attributes to her, how many in that audience happen to employ illegal aliens as maids, gardeners, and nannies? In upscale Los Angeles communities (tickets to this debate were very expensive), it's almost routine.

Talk about living in glass houses.

While the bodyguard supplied a written account on the condition his name not be used, we know and trust Rice, who obtained it for us. We've made a few changes to account for issues of spelling and grammar.

As it's still a bit of a rough read, please bear with it:


In the Green Room before the Franken/Coulter debate, the rabbis began discussing who would speak first and Coulter said she didn't care, that no one had ever asked her.

But Franken was on the radio that day saying he asked the school if he could go second, but the Universary of Judaism told him Ann Coulter insisted on going second and was a real b---- about it, so he was a gentleman and agreed to speak first.

Since none of that was true, Coulter told the rabbis she NOW wanted to go first. Franken threw a temper tantrum, leaping from his chair and screaming that he HAD to go first.

The rabbi who had spoken to Franken denied that he had ever told Franken that Coulter was a b--- about going second, but said he did think she had a slight preference to go second.

So then, Franken invented a phony conversation with a Coulter 'agent', Coulter herself said doesn't exist.

Franken crazily screamed for a good ten minutes, repeatedly leaping from his chair and screaming that he HAD to go first. Franken's wife also piped in that he should go first.

Coulter was calm and remained seated throughout Franken's hysterics, but when asked by the rabbis if it was okay with her that Franken went first she again said, no, she wanted to speak first.

Things were going nowhere since both of them wanted to go first, so one rabbi suggested a coin toss, but Franken again leapt from his chair screaming "NO COIN TOSS! I'M GOING FIRST!" he said he was going first and he'd clear up during his presentation that Coulter hadn't been a b---- .

The rabbis let Franken go first for no reason other than that he was screaming and carrying on. Al then went on stage and began by re-telling the audience the story about Ann being a real b----.

He insisted on going second and further reversed what had happened in the green room, saying "you should have seen her back there," claiming Franken had been calm and gentlemanly and that Coulter actually threw the tantrum.

Next time, could somebody please plant a hidden camera backstage?

We'd love to capture this guy in the middle of one of his infamous meltdowns.

UPDATE: words of wisdom from The Anchoress. Thanks also to Orbusmax for recent support.

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Franken/ Coulter graphics: David A Lunde for the Radio Equalizer. Frankengolf (quickly becoming a classic): Pete at IHillary. Visit these sites today!


  • You couldn't make it up, really.
    They're all nuts.

    First time at your site - love it. But, you got've to do better with the "Ireland" links sidebar.

    RTE and the Irish Times? Come on!
    We've loads of bona vida Irish blogs -
    and of course, me -
    (shameless dig)

    By Blogger Auds, at 06 April, 2006 18:45  

  • Hey, any coverage on the media matters event in dc yesterday with franken, and the suddenly dropping out of the forum Goldberg?

    We know they encouraged the media to attend,did they? Anyone ask Frankin what he felt about Goldberg? I think that they liked each other, they have $$$ in common.

    By Blogger FYIFYI, at 06 April, 2006 20:40  

  • This is a non story, Franken said on his radio show before the debate that he did want to go last, but Coulter insisted she be given that position.

    Here is an account of the affair from The Jewish Journal

    By Blogger pbrauer, at 06 April, 2006 22:21  

  • This is hardly new territory for Al. He assaulted a heckler at a Howard Dean rally. He embarrassed himself twice on the Michael Medved show. They were having a face-to-face debate and Medved asked him why he was flipping through a notebook, and he acknowledged that we was trying to find his notes to back up some rhetoric he had just spouted. I believe that was the incident where Al got up and through his chair and stormed out.

    Or it could have been the time Medved invited him to debate John O'Neil (I believe it was broadcasted from the Republican convention). Franken had a meltdown and refused to talk with O'Neil who was standing a few feet away. But it didn't stop Al from insulting O'Neil repeatedly (liar, criminal the usual Frankenisms). Medved then repeated the offer to set up the debate and Franken said that he WASN'T PREPARED, that O'Neil was more knowledgeable. And then proceeded to insult the man!

    Both of these examples displays a man who doesn't know what he is talking about, almost by his own admission! He's a propogandist who couldn't breathe if the air was made up of political substance and intellectual honesty.

    And this guy thinks he has a snowball's chance in hell of becoming a US Senator? I'm here in MN and I can assure that not even here, could Franken get elected.

    By Blogger OttO, at 06 April, 2006 22:41  

  • Yes. I do wish there was a camera backstage.

    This would show Franken's yelling, complaining and grousing. And Coulter's blase eye-rolling.

    Does that prove Franken is an unhinged jerk and Coulter a calm sea of dignity? No, it shows that Franken has passion about his positions, doesn't like being attacked by Coulter, and is willing to make noise about it, and that
    everything that comes out of Coulter's mouth is a false shtick, a put-on concocted to raise hackles and money. As Janeane Garofalo so eloquently put it, Coulter is nothing but a performance artist, her every word that of a poseur.

    Franken might be a comedian, but most comedians that traffic in political humor are very passionate about their political positions.

    By Blogger Scott, at 07 April, 2006 03:56  

  • Sounds like anger management issues. Why are lefties so angry all the time?

    By Blogger eLarson, at 07 April, 2006 09:31  

  • Scott:

    Just so we have a clear grasp of this: Coulter is scripted, Franken is passionate, Garafalo is eloquent and you are delusional.

    Al Franken is not passionate. He's a moron. He has made it clear that without prepared notes or the aid of assistants to help him fill in the holes in his propoganda, he couldn't debate his way out of a paperbag. If he was so passionate about his beliefs, perhaps he would know at least the fundamentals of those beliefs BEFORE he runs his mouth about them.

    It will make for an interesting Senate campaign when he tries to debate the big boys and has to excuse himself because he's not prepared (maybe he'll then throw a chair!).

    I think you have confused 'passion' for 'frustration'.

    By Blogger OttO, at 07 April, 2006 14:28  

  • You could believe this article and believe in it blindly or you can read Franken's entire opening statement - from which none of it mentions Ann Coulter being a b**** about going first/second. The opening statement is a little long-winded (as it lasted 20 minutes), so I have to assume that the author of this radically right-minded article chose not to do his homework. Much like when Franken references Coulter's ability to intentionally distort facts, Maloney chooses to omit important information which may have let us in on what actually happened.

    By Blogger Jack, at 05 October, 2008 10:45  

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