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Coulter has a reputation for carelessness with facts, and if you Google the words "Ann Coulter lies," you will drown in results. But I didn't find many outright Coulter errors. One of the most popular alleged mistakes pinging around the Web is from her appearance on Canadian TV news in January, when Coulter asserted that "Canada sent troops to Vietnam." Interviewer Bob McKeown said she was wrong. "Indochina?" Coulter tried. McKeown said no. Finally, Coulter said haltingly, "I'll get back to you." "Coulter never got back to us," McKeown triumphantly noted, "but for the record, like Iraq, Canada sent no troops to Vietnam." What he didn't mention was that Canada did send noncombat troops to Indochina in the 1950s and again to Vietnam in 1972.
To be sure, Coulter's historical efforts can be highly amateurish. Her writings on the Civil War--she calls Confederate soldiers "a romantic army of legend"--could only be penned by a (Northern) dilettante. And although she has admiringly cited the work of cold war historian Ronald Radosh, he says she misinterpreted that period in Treason. "There were Soviet spies in postwar America," he says. "But McCarthy was really a nutcase ... She's like the McCarthy-era journalists in a way. She's just repeating what they said, that the only patriotic Americans are on the right." Radosh, a fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute, a Washington think tank, also says Coulter has exaggerated his own troubles as a conservative in academia. "She called me a victim of the left and the academy. That's partially true, but I've had plenty of jobs in academia." Coulter responded that Radosh had complained to reporters in the past about being blacklisted. She also called him "a chickens___."
One consequence of Coulter's feline aggression is that she wins not only enemies (including one who hired a private investigator to look into her past) but creepily devoted fans. She has had discussions with the FBI about her stalkers, one of whom sent flowers every day for six months. Coulter is terrified her address will become public, and she sometimes hides behind a surgical mask when she flies. Ever since two men threw pies at her at the University of Arizona last year, she has traveled with a bodyguard, a bourbon-drinking ex-cop who says, quite believably, that he can kill with his bare hands. Even so, Coulter told me her most persistent stalker "is the one who will kill me someday."
Meanwhile, she is a single woman in her 40s who has been engaged at least three times--"I don't know, something like that"--but never married. Instead she spends time with a large group of devoted friends, among them a restaurant critic, a children's-book author, an ex-supporter of Lyndon LaRouche's, a liberal p.r. agent, an actress and myriad bankers. She sees her friends for long dinners with lots of laughter and Ann Coulter stories. One friend has dubbed her "the blond-tressed fascist spellbinder."
Although it drives Coulter crazy, even friends sometimes say her public and private personas differ. Kent Brownridge, 63, general manager of Wenner Media and a longtime Democrat who used to work for George McGovern, says, "You couldn't find a nicer friend" than Coulter. But, he adds, "I think she has a professional point of view or a shtick or whatever ... Ann has perfected a thing she does on TV because she is outrageous and funny. That's her business, public commentator."