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CNNís Roberts Corners Columbia Dean on Ahmadinejad, Minutemen Project
NewsBusters.org ^ | 09/24/2007 | Matthew Balan

Posted on 09/24/2007 2:25:12 PM PDT by Pyro7480

While ABC’s Chris Cuomo played softball with Columbia University president Lee Bollinger on the upcoming speech of Iranian president Ahmadinejad, CNN’s John Roberts directed tough questions to John Coatsworth, dean for Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. Roberts opened the interview with a question which summarized Ahmadinejad’s record. "Here's a leader who's advocated the destruction of Israel, denied the Holocaust, and is accused by our government, the United States government, of supplying both fighters and equipment to insurgents in Iraq, to kill U.S. troops. Why would you ever want him on your campus?"

Coatsworth appeared during the 7 am hour of Monday’s "American Morning." Besides the opening question, Roberts brought up two of the condemnations that were issued in response to the upcoming speech, one from Newt Gingrich, and the other from Senator Chuck Schumer. Roberts also asked Coatsworth to clarify his recent comments regarding what would happen if Hitler wanted to speak at Columbia.

The last part of the interview concerned a lecture at Columbia by Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist in 2006 that was disrupted by a large contingent that included Columbia students. "Why didn't you allow Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist, that same opportunity to be challenged? I know that he spoke there last year, and his speech was interrupted by students who stormed the stage, but he had a speaking engagement coming up October 6th that was canceled. Why do you allow Ahmadinejad there and not the founder of the Minuteman Project?" After Coatsworth assured that Gilchrist would be allowed to speak at Columbia, Roberts followed up by asking, "Would you be willing to sponsor him? Does he have any value to you?" Coatsworth’s answer: "He doesn't have a value to the School of International and Public Affairs. He had value to the Young Republicans at Columbia, and if they wish to invite again, he will certainly be permitted to speak."

The full transcript of the interview from Monday’s "American Morning:"

JOHN ROBERTS: Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won't necessarily be getting the red carpet treatment when he speaks at Columbia University later on today, but he will be allowed to speak, regardless of the tough questions he'll face. Some say that he shouldn't be heard from, period.

DOV HIKIND, NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLYMAN: I call on New Yorkers to make the life of Ahmedinejad, as he is in New York, miserable. Make his life miserable.

ROBERTS: That's some very passionate arguments there today. Joining me now is the dean of Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs John Coatsworth. He's live on the Columbia campus here in New York. Mr. Coatesworth, thanks for being with us this morning....

JOHN COATSWORTH, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY DEAN: Good morning.

ROBERTS: ...Opening question: Here's a leader who's advocated the destruction of Israel, denied the Holocaust, and is accused by our government, the United States government, of supplying both fighters and equipment to insurgents in Iraq, to kill U.S. troops. Why would you ever want him on your campus?

COATSWORTH: Well, precisely because he is the leader of an important country, and one that our country is going to have to deal with in the future. Iran is infinitely more powerful today than it was just three years ago. In the future, Iran is going to be a – is going to hold the key to peace in the Middle East. We have to be able to deal with and negotiate leaders like this, however much we may disagree with their views. Like or not, he is an important guy.

ROBERTS: The question that some people are raising is, what are you going to hear from him, and will he be straight with you as you seek to challenge him? Here's what Newt Gingrich said that about that yesterday. Take a quick listen.

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: [Ahmadinejad] ...is a pathological liar. He is a very effective speaker. And I think that Columbia University is being very foolish to allow that kind of person to have a venue like an American university.

ROBERTS: So, Newt Gingrich is concerned – and it's a concern shared by other people – is that you're not going to get straight answers from this guy. He's a spin-meister. He's a propagandist. How will your students be able to challenge him in a way that they'll be able to cut through?

COATSWORTH: Well, look, we're going to ask him tough questions. If he gives us terrible answers, that will be known by not only the faculty and students of the university, but by everyone in the world. He's on TV when he speaks at Columbia. The Voice of America will broadcast his speech, but also the questions and his answers throughout Iran. The people of the world will know if he's giving answers differently today than he's given in the past.

ROBERTS: Right. There is opposition to his appearance today on both sides of the political aisle. We just heard from Newt Gingrich. Here's what Senator Chuck Schumer of New York had to say about it. 'Free speech means that you shouldn't silence anyone, but it doesn't mean you need to invite everyone to come to speak. I wish they hadn't invited Ahmadinejad.' The concern appears to be giving a platform to a leader, in this country, when the United States government has real problems with him. Aren't you afraid that you're going to be used in a way here?

COATSWORTH: No, Ahmadinejad is a world leader of consequence. He has a platform whenever he wishes to have one. What he doesn't have is a classroom, and that's what we're offering him; an opportunity not only to present his views, but defend them in the face of challenges and tough questions.

ROBERTS: Yeah. Also, you said, when you were asked about this a couple of days ago, quote, 'If he (Hitler) were willing to engage in debate and a discussion to be challenged by Columbia students and faculty, we would certainly invite him.' When it comes to inviting world leaders for this program that you've had going for a few years now, where do you draw the line? Is there anyone that you wouldn't invite? Would you really have invited Hitler?

COATSWORTH: Look, if Hitler had come to the Columbia University in 1939, I would have been outside with the peaceful protesters. Or if I had been dean, I would have been inside presenting him to our students to be challenged. You can't choose your role in life. You can only choose the principles you have to live by. And in this case, we're providing not a platform, but a classroom, and we're going to challenge this guy as he has not been challenged in other places.

ROBERTS: Okay, so why didn't you allow Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist, that same opportunity to be challenged? I know that he spoke there last year, and his speech was interrupted by students who stormed the stage, but he had a speaking engagement coming up October 6th that was canceled. Why do you allow Ahmadinejad there and not the founder of the Minuteman Project?

COATSWORTH: We certainly would invite him and allow him to speak on campus, so long as security could be arranged properly. We did not rescind an invitation to him. He's perfectly welcome to come and speak on campus, as long as there's a student or faculty group, or an institutional group, like a school or department that's willing to sponsor him.

ROBERTS: Right. Would you be willing to sponsor him? Does he have any value to you?

COATSWORTH: He doesn't have a value to the School of International and Public Affairs. He had value to the Young Republicans at Columbia, and if they wish to invite again, he will certainly be permitted to speak.

ROBERTS: All right, so, let me just check this with you. If you can provide security for Ahmadinejad, could you provide enough security for Jim Gilchrist?

COATSWORTH: Why, of course.

ROBERTS: Okay, well, maybe they'll re-invite him. John Coatsworth, dean of the School of International and Public Affairs, thanks for being with us today. We're going to be tuning in live this afternoon. We'll see how this whole thing turns out. Appreciate it.

COATSWORTH: Thanks, look forward to it.

—Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: academicbigotry; ahmadinejad; cnn; columbia; columbiau; doublestandard; electionviolence; gilchrist; goebbelswouldbeproud; jimgilchrist; minuteman; minutemanproject; mmp
Surprising for CNN
1 posted on 09/24/2007 2:25:15 PM PDT by Pyro7480
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To: Pyro7480

2 posted on 09/24/2007 2:34:29 PM PDT by McBuff
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To: Pyro7480

I’m kinda surprised as well....but he did leave the “reservation” and hit I’manutjob pretty hard—things we haven’t heard from the left...maybe CNN was showing him the error of his ways..


3 posted on 09/24/2007 2:36:32 PM PDT by conservativehusker (GO BIG RED!!!!)
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To: Pyro7480; Ladycalif; gubamyster; All

Good for Roberts....that sound you hear is hell freezing over....


4 posted on 09/24/2007 2:37:17 PM PDT by AuntB (" It takes more than walking across the border to be an American." Duncan Hunter)
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To: McBuff

I’m sure Pelosi, Feinstein, Boxer, and Hitlery are all thrilled over their ally being in town. Same talking points; same ideology.


5 posted on 09/24/2007 2:39:32 PM PDT by ExTexasRedhead
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To: Pyro7480
Good post!
Not like cnn to be so provocative.
6 posted on 09/24/2007 2:41:24 PM PDT by MaryFromMichigan
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To: Pyro7480
If this was broadcast live in Iran then maybe that's a waft of strategery I smell

(Yes, I know you can at least agree with the last two words of my post, lol.)


7 posted on 09/24/2007 2:41:38 PM PDT by I see my hands (_8(|)
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To: Pyro7480

Is someone at CNN a closet FReeper?


8 posted on 09/24/2007 2:44:06 PM PDT by Kimmers
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To: Pyro7480

ROTC is no allowed to offer public addresses on campus, god forbid!!!

BUT, a tyrant, supplying weapons to terrorists, holocaust denier, who participated in the hostage crisis during the Carter admin. -well roll out the red carpet.


9 posted on 09/24/2007 2:44:07 PM PDT by Fitzy_888 ("ownership society")
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To: McBuff

and that’s who he was talking to today....


10 posted on 09/24/2007 3:18:06 PM PDT by God luvs America (When the silent majority speaks the earth trembles!)
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To: Pyro7480
I thought Scott Pelly was hard on him last night on 60 min. I was surprised.
11 posted on 09/24/2007 3:20:32 PM PDT by mimaw
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To: Pyro7480
COATSWORTH:... Iran is infinitely more powerful today than it was just three years ago. In the future, Iran is going to be a –

Yeah, go ahead. Say it, you rat. Iran is going to be a nuclear power.

12 posted on 09/24/2007 3:24:04 PM PDT by Salvey (ancest)
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To: Pyro7480

Why not ask every candidate running for office on both sides of the aisle what they think of him speaking at Columbia? Are they for it or against it? I think it is a direct question and every candidate should have to answer it.


13 posted on 09/24/2007 3:27:43 PM PDT by cubreporter
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To: Pyro7480

Sooner all Ivy League goes down, the better.


14 posted on 09/24/2007 3:44:49 PM PDT by wastedyears (George Orwell was a clairvoyant.)
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To: Pyro7480
The students at Columbia will give Ahnadnejad much more respect than Jim Gilchrist! They would never rush the stage and shout down Ahmadinejad.....
15 posted on 09/24/2007 4:13:48 PM PDT by martinidon
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To: Pyro7480

What a piece of scum. Ahmabignutjob should take him back to Iran with him.


16 posted on 09/24/2007 5:22:12 PM PDT by Duke Nukum (He burns at the center of time and he sees the turn of the Universe.)
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To: martinidon
The students at Columbia will give Ahnadnejad much more respect than Jim Gilchrist! They would never rush the stage and shout down Ahmadinejad.....

Hearing the students applaud Adolph Nutjob's counter-insult just goes to show how many morons are accepted into so-called "Ivy League" institutions.

I think they would give anyone a degree if they paid enough.

17 posted on 09/24/2007 5:25:00 PM PDT by Duke Nukum (He burns at the center of time and he sees the turn of the Universe.)
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To: Pyro7480

Yes, it is.


18 posted on 09/24/2007 7:11:46 PM PDT by shield (A wise man's heart is at his RIGHT hand;but a fool's heart at his LEFT. Ecc 10:2)
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To: Fitzy_888; Duke Nukum
Check out my hot-off-the-press vanity on Ahmadinejad at Columbia here.

My question: when will Columbia invite the editor and/or author of the Jylland-Posten Mohammed cartoons?

Cheers!

19 posted on 09/24/2007 7:29:24 PM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: cubreporter

Duncan Hunter answered on FOX News today.


20 posted on 09/24/2007 7:45:14 PM PDT by lakey (Duncan Hunter for President!)
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To: Kimmers

CNN handing him his walking papers in 5...4...3...2...


21 posted on 09/24/2007 7:52:08 PM PDT by Windcatcher
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To: lakey

Good for him. I’m sure I know his answer. :)


22 posted on 09/24/2007 9:05:07 PM PDT by cubreporter
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To: Pyro7480

Duncan Hunter vs. Columbia University:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0370DeS6PU


23 posted on 09/25/2007 6:28:57 AM PDT by RasterMaster (Rudy McRomneyson = KENNEDY wing of the Republican Party)
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