(CNN) - Texas Gov. Rick Perry is playing down a controversial campaign appearance for the Lone Star State’s leading Republican gubernatorial candidate by rocker Ted Nugent, who has stirred outrage with controversial comments about President Barack Obama.
"The idea that Ted Nugent has said something that's outrageous shouldn't surprise anybody. He's been saying outrageous things for a lot of years,” Perry told Wolf Blitzer on Thursday on CNN’s "The Situation Room.”
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Nugent, an outspoken conservative who in an interview last month referred to Obama as a “sub-human mongrel,” appeared with GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott at a campaign stop in Denton.
Perry, who is not running for reelection, is backing Abbott in his campaign against Democrat Wendy Davis, said Nugent’s support for the Texas attorney general on the stump does not define his candidacy.
“I will suggest to you, is not what this campaign is going to hinge on,” Perry said.
Perry, who has campaigned with Nugent in the past, wouldn’t say definitely whether he would appear with him in the future if he fails to apologize.
"Ted and I have been on the stage together. He is a proud and a strong defender of the Constitution of the United States. We've all said things that we would like to reel back in. I suggest to you that this is probably one of those for him," Perry said.
Perry praises Cruz for taking a stand on debt
Perry also praised fellow Texan Ted Cruz for taking a stand on reining in government spending after the first-term senator angered many fellow Republicans by forcing them to take a potentially damaging vote politically over raising the nation’s debt ceiling.
"We have to get the spending under control in this country. That's the real issue. Ted Cruz, although sometimes we don't always agree on tactics, his position of being a clarion voice about getting spending under control," Perry said when asked if he would support legislation that would extend benefits to the long-term unemployed, a partisan issue that has stalled in a Congress.
For his part, Cruz also refused to say whether he would campaign with Nugent, telling CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash that while he disagrees with the remarks, "I'm going to avoid engaging in hypotheticals."
Perry to Iowa, sparking 2016 speculation
Perry, who ran for president in 2012, has said he will not run for re-election as governor, stoking speculation that he is considering another run for the White House in 2016.
And further sparking rumors of another presidential campaign is Perry’s upcoming trip to the key early voting state of Iowa next week.
If Perry decides to run, he'll have some ground to make up among other potential GOP contenders.
A CNN/ORC poll conducted from January 31 to February 2 shows him with 8 percent support, nearly last in a list of Republican choices for a presidential nominee in 2016.
He can't compare to obamas good friend, rev. wright.
Lets tolerate racism in America. These politicians apathy infuriates me.
Ted Nugent would have been a brownshirt in Munich in the 1930's.
Another idiot, ex-governor from the succession-minded lone star state running for president...I feel like I've walked into yet another Kafkaesque bad movie with(Hopefully)a happy ending...
I am sure Nugent's racist comments do not suprise the GOP base in Texass, and there, Nugent is exercising his "freedom of speech" without using that pesky "political correctness" filter.
Kinda like the skirt that thought rifle crosshairs over Democratic districts was "all in good fun"!
nugent is a has been trying to be relevant and the republican party and its members eat this crap up. Being the intellectual giants that they are this is the kind of stuff they love. Don't we want a president that adheres to this to this kind of behavior. The world is so jealous of us . Not!!!!
I agree with Nugent. Totally. Every bit of his critique is well merited. I just wish he would run for office before it's too late. Nugent is one of the last people with realistic views of what America should be, that can afford to run for office. He has my vote, and the rest of educated, working, Florida voters.
This is yet another disgraceful aspect of Republican politics!!
You can hide behind freedom of speech etc and yet Perry cannot simply say this not republican thinking/ policy/ ideology even.
Can you imagine the apoplexy of a Republican caucus if someone had said the same about Bush I /II or Reagan.
Perry's comments would make ashamed to be a Republican.
"[A]n insight we find frightening."
Rand Paul came out first. Perry now. They are the only Guns Over People tea potty wingnuts with the guts to tell the truth about the over the top crazy that defines them.
And Ted need NOT apologize. I'm sick of the racists in this country getting caught saying something bad, then turn around and apologize because of the bad press. No need Ted. You said what you meant, an apology would be phony as a $3 bill. Keep your empty apology and go take a bath, you look filthy.
TN has the right to say what he wants and I certainly do not agree with him or support anyone who agrees with or allows him to be a part of their campaign. We should have respect for our elected officials and more importantly our President. TN is nothing more than a racist.
Just another clown in the car