February 18th, 2014
12:18 PM ET
10 months ago

Ted Nugent hits campaign trail after calling Obama 'subhuman mongrel'

Updated 5:06 p.m. ET, 2/18/2014

(CNN) - Controversial 65-year-old rock star Ted Nugent is campaigning Tuesday with likely Texas GOP gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbott, the state's current attorney general who makes no apologies for inviting Nugent on the trail with him.

Democrats were quick to point to Nugent's outlandish comments, with likely Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wendy Davis calling Abbott's decision "repulsive."

But a senior Abbott aide admitted their campaign is only bringing on the gun rights activist to help spur voter turnout among the base, as the state begins early voting for the upcoming March 4 GOP primary.

The aide said the campaign originally had 100 people commit to their event Tuesday morning at a Denton restaurant, but when they announced Nugent was coming, the number of expected attendees tripled.

"On a Tuesday mid-morning at a local restaurant in Denton, Texas, that's a lot of people," the campaign aide said.

Nugent is known for making controversial comments about Democrats and President Barack Obama in particular.

Just last month, he called the president a "subhuman mongrel" in an interview with Guns.com.

"I have obviously failed to galvanize and prod, if not shame enough Americans to be ever vigilant not to let a Chicago communist-raised, communist-educated, communist-nurtured subhuman mongrel like the acorn community organizer gangster Barack Hussein Obama to weasel his way into the top office of authority in the United States of America."

Nugent was interviewed in 2012 by the Secret Service after he said at the National Rifle Association's annual meeting that he would be either "dead or in jail by this time next year" if Obama is still in office.

The agency later cleared Nugent, saying the issue had been resolved and they were not anticipating further action.

But Abbott's campaign is brushing off Nugent's history of contentious comments.

"The controversy is what he said in the past. We are not endorsing Ted Nugent, he is supporting us," the aide said.

"It's easy to criticize some of the language he has used in the past," the aide continued. "He is protected under the Constitution, like you and I."

At one of the stops Tuesday, Nugent praised Abbott for being the "epitome" of what the country's Founding Fathers envisioned.

"We all love Greg," he said. "He has served We The People."

Nugent also took time to explain his love for the Lone Star State.

"I moved to Texas 12 years ago because this is special," he said. "There is no other Texas anymore. This is the last bastion of rugged individualism, of true independence."

Wendy Davis, the Democratic state senator who will likely face Abbott in the general election, said the attorney general's "embrace of Ted Nugent" is an "insult" to all Texans.

"I think the fact that Greg Abbott is embracing those values is repulsive. And that Texans should consider it and will consider it," she said in comments taped by CNN affiliate WFAA in Dallas-Ft. Worth.

Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa also criticized Abbott's use of Nugent as a surrogate.

"Texans deserve better than a statewide office holder and candidate running for governor who welcomes Ted Nugent and his repugnant comments," he said in a statement.

Video: Ted Nugent like you've never seen him

While Nugent's comments may make headlines, he's still considered a superstar to some on the far right, especially for his staunch defense of gun rights. He was a guest of outspoken Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, at the State of the Union address last month, and he's campaigned for tea party-backed candidates in the past.

"There are two things that you have to do to win high public office in Texas, and that's know how to lead a prayer and know how to shoot a gun,” Christy Hoppe, Austin bureau chief of the Dallas Morning News, said on CNN's "Newsroom." “And Greg Abbott has done both, and he's underscoring his credentials there by inviting Ted Nugent.”

CNN Crossfire co-host Van Jones, a Democrat, called Nugent's comments "racist."

"Sub-human mongrel - that is language from the days of slavery, and I cannot for the life of myself understand why a leading Republican candidate would associate in any way with somebody saying stuff like this and a guy like this," he said on the show Tuesday.

Newt Gingrich, former Republican House speaker and also a co-host on Crossfire, called the uproar over Nugent's comments "selective media outrage," pointing to controversial comments made by Democrats that he suggested were largely ignored.

"I think there's a double standard here. What Ted Nugent said was stupid. I don't support it," he said on "The Situation Room."

"But I do think the level of selective outrage, particularly on the entertainment left, where they often day after day say much more vicious things about Republicans. It's just kind of funny to watch."

CNN's Ashley Killough and Gloria Borger contributed to this report.


Filed under: Greg Abbott • Texas
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. independent

    This man is disgusting. Does this kind of rhetoric make people proud to call themselves Republicans?

    February 18, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  2. salty dog

    His contribution in life is minimal mama, he has a way of raising blood pressure, that's for sure. He kills animals when and where he likes, regardless of the rules, all his life, everywhere he goes.

    February 18, 2014 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  3. vic , nashville ,tn

    Mitt Romney lost because of his comments, In Texas GOP primary voters will appreciate his comments

    February 18, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  4. salty dog

    His words so vitriol, you can almost taste them, so full of hate.

    February 18, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  5. EDDIE

    Just another loud mouthed loser from Texas. If any one can spread hatred it's Ded Nugent. Speaking of dead isn't he supposed to be?

    February 18, 2014 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  6. Lisa P.

    Anonymous

    Thanks Ted. I appreciate all you do for us to retain our rights to bare arms. I am an avid hunter and fisherman.
    February 18, 2014 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm
    --------------------------------

    Bare arms, bare bottoms, what the heck! Why not let it all hang out? You have become the people that your parents used to warn you about. Avid, indeed.

    February 18, 2014 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  7. Bill from GA

    Rudy NYC – "Around NYC here, people haven't been able to fish out of the Hudson River for several decades. They tell you not to eat the fish. Well, that's not true. They tell you not to eat more than one or two per year, or about one pound."

    Its sad, but we get that "don't eat the fish" in Georgia, too. Beautiful rivers (and, yeah, the Hudson is too) surrounded by woods, but one factory can ruin them.

    I would have some respect for a 'rocker' who spoke out for cleaning our waters. Or a country star, but that's probably too 'leftist' for any of them. Righties aren't supposed to believe the environment is endangered.

    February 18, 2014 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  8. maximusvad

    Another good Christian who can't take care of his own children. Good music.... Real Hypocrite.

    February 18, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    independent

    This man is disgusting. Does this kind of rhetoric make people proud to call themselves Republicans?
    -----------------------------–
    Not sure. But, I am pretty sure that many Republicans would describe Nugent as "one of us."

    February 18, 2014 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  10. Dale

    Ted is the man!

    February 18, 2014 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  11. Peace

    Misuse of Second Amendment. That is not what it was meant for. Get him and do a thorough interrogation. He has gone so far. Remember it is not his first time doing this.

    February 18, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  12. CALIFORNIA

    Nugent reminds me of Obama with his rhetoric. Ha ha

    February 18, 2014 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  13. The Real Tom Paine

    -Bill from GA

    Rudy NYC – "Around NYC here, people haven't been able to fish out of the Hudson River for several decades. They tell you not to eat the fish. Well, that's not true. They tell you not to eat more than one or two per year, or about one pound."

    Its sad, but we get that "don't eat the fish" in Georgia, too. Beautiful rivers (and, yeah, the Hudson is too) surrounded by woods, but one factory can ruin them.

    I would have some respect for a 'rocker' who spoke out for cleaning our waters. Or a country star, but that's probably too 'leftist' for any of them. Righties aren't supposed to believe the environment is endangered.
    ***************************
    I grew up in the Finger Lakes region of New York, within 30 minutes of Lake Ontario. Can't eat the fish in Lake Ontario, either. Funny thing is that Nugent moved to the state in the Union with the worst environmental record: I don't think the Second Amendment will protect him from cancer caused by toxic dumping.

    February 18, 2014 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  14. 2L

    I'm guessing this will more likely hurt him more than help him in the long run. It's not only what you say, but how you say it

    February 18, 2014 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
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