Matt Lauer Vs. Ann Coulter: ‘Not Banned For Life’

NBC’s “Today” show co-host Matt Lauer faced off against conservative political pundit Ann Coulter Wednesday morning following Tuesday’s reports that she had been banned forever from the NBC morning show.

“I’m glad you’re back,” Matt told Ann Tuesday morning.

“So am I,” she replied with a coy smile.

“You’re not banned for life,” Matt added.

“I’m delighted to hear that,” Ann said.

After Ann’s appearance to promote her latest book, “Guilty: Liberal ‘Victims’ and Their Assault on America,” was bumped for a live interview from Israel with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Drudge Report reported that NBC had banned Ann for life, due to her often-controversial opinions and statements.

Never shying away from controversy or media attention, Ann fueled the fire with appearances on other news programs (including CBS’ “The Early Show” yesterday morning) and entries on her Web site, suggesting she might even cancel on the “Today” show at the last minute, in order to get back at NBC for her alleged permanent ban.

Ann complained to Matt that it took eight hours after the Drudge Report ran its story for her to be invited back to “Today.”

Even after Matt’s explanation for her segment getting bumped, Ann continued to complain, saying the “Today” show could have given her a different time slot during the same program.

“The point is, I was canceled twice,” Ann pressed, referring to a second scheduled slot on Tuesday with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford in the show’s fourth hour, which was also bumped.

“We switched you for Tony Blair,” Matt said.

“And Rachel Maddow, and various gossip columnists and a bear,” she continued.

And that was just the beginning of the barbs tossed around the set of the “Today” show.

Later Matt accused Ann of saying, “The mainstream media hates conservatives,” during an appearance on Fox’s “Hannity and Colmes.”

“I didn’t say that,” Ann countered, but admitted that she agreed with the opinion. “But I have much more colorful language.”

And Matt wasn’t afraid to fire back — in a good-natured way of course.

“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean you don’t have enemies,” Matt quipped with a smile.

Though Ann is known for her strong anti-liberal views, she told co-hosts Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford during the fourth hour of the “Today” show that she’s willing to stretch across the partisan aisle in order to make changes – along with revealing that she believes her books’ rants are a type of comedy.

“This isn’t getting us anywhere in terms of the dialogue,” Kathie Lee said referring to Ann’s strong political points of view. “The partisanship and the venom on both sides that keeps us from…yes, we discuss things, but we are not finding solutions.”

“Well, I am in favor of that dialogue, which is why I’m so happy I’m here,” Ann replied. “I would like to engage in the dialogue. I sure sense a lot of venom coming my way. I think I’m just telling jokes.”

To see Ann’s entire “Today” show interview… click HERE!

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