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BBC TwoNewsnight
Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 June 2006, 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK
Ann Coulter - did she beat Paxman?

By Peter Barron
Newsnight editor

Jeremy Paxman interviews Ann Coulter

When the BBC starts running programmes called How to beat Jeremy Paxman you know there's trouble lurking.

Last night we booked Ann Coulter, the extraordinary new phenomenon of the American right who has been topping the US bestseller list with, among other books, her own guide - How to talk to a Liberal (if you must).

Jeremy wouldn't categorise himself as a liberal, and Newsnight certainly welcomes conservative and alternative thinkers, but in the course of the day he wondered with some anxiety how best to talk to her.

Her many utterances are so outrageous, for example, "I think the government should be spying on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport, dropping daisy cutters wantonly throughout the Middle East and sending liberals to Guantanamo." that he had to challenge them, and ask if she really believed it or was just saying so for effect.

Once the interview was underway it quickly became resoundingly clear that she believes everything she says, otherwise why would she have said them?

Some bloggers felt Coulter beat Paxman.

I prefer to think that in this electric encounter TV was the winner.

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