Ann Coulter wasn't officially invited to speak at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference -- many on the right were still upset at the bad publicity she brought last year after calling John Edwards a "faggot." But to no one's surprise, she showed up anyway, commandeering the spotlight.
Speaking before the Young America's Foundation, who invited her over CPAC's objections, the conservative author spent most of her time viciously attacking her party's new presumptive presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain.
No topic was out of bounds, including the five years McCain spent as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
"I know that [he was a POW]," Coulter declared, "because he mentions it more often than Kerry mentions he was in Vietnam. There were hundreds of POWs and we are not going to make all of them president. Can't we find a POW who doesn't want to shut down Guantanamo."
That was mild. Take Coulter's rationale for supporting Sen. Hillary Clinton's candidacy over McCain's:
"A serious case could be made to support Hillary Clinton," she declared, offering the analogy of Winston Churchill backing Stalin in the fight against Hitler in WWII. "I'm not equating Hillary Clinton to Stalin, and if I did I apologize to Stalin's descendents... I'm not comparing McCain to Hitler. Hitler had a coherent tax policy." Later, she added, "The only way I can promise that I won't vote for Hillary Clinton is if John McCain appoints her as his vice president."
Remarkably, Coulter's comments reflected what conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh predicted would be the reception McCain would receive from the antagonistic mainstream media.
"Once [McCain]'s got this sewn up you're going to see the Drive-By Media start doing stories on his age, and they're not going to be mean, they are not going to be vicious, they're going to be almost sorrowful," said Limbaugh. "I am telling you, if that doesn't work, they're going to go after this age business, and they'll do it almost regretfully."
And indeed, Coulter speech contained repeated subtle and not so subtle digs at McCain's age.
"He has been in the Senate for about 100 years," she said (he's actually 71), long enough "to vote on the Spanish-American War." She even declared, playing off the mutual admiration between McCain and the media, that "[he] is working for the New York Times obituary."
Coulter ripped him over policy issues as well, taking on his signature legislation McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform, as well as his vote against President Bush's tax cuts, and his stance on climate change. In the process, she contrasted the Arizona Republican with the GOP candidates that he bested for the presidential nomination.
"McCain and [Mitt] Romney are mirror opposites of one another," said Coulter. "Romney is a conservative who had to win votes from liberals in Massachusetts. McCain is a liberal who had to win votes from conservatives in Arizona."
As for former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani: He "enthusiastically supported torturing terrorists," she said to great applause. "McCain hysterically opposes dripping water down the terrorist's noses."
And what if the unthinkable happens, and President McCain is inaugurated? I've led an impeachment movement before, Coulter said, and "I can lead another one."