February 24th, 2014
10:05 PM ET
9 months ago

Nugent insists 'subhuman mongrel' comments not racist, promises to stop 'calling people names'

(CNN) – Conservative activist and rocker Ted Nugent, whose comments referring to President Barack Obama as a "subhuman mongrel" sparked outrage across the political spectrum, insisted Monday that his remarks were not racist.

In an interview with CNN's Erin Burnett on "OutFront," Nugent said he would "stop calling people names," but he didn't back off the incendiary rhetoric that landed him in the political spotlight in recent weeks.

"Instead of using terms like ‘subhuman mongrel,’ I'm going to get right to the meat of the matter where our president is a liar. He lies about you can keep your doctor period. Over and over again he lies about Benghazi. He's lying about the IRS," Nugent said.

"So I won't call him names anymore. I'm going to get right down to the nitty-gritty and identify the criminal behavior by the people abusing power in the United States government."

Last month, Nugent 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."

He later apologized, though not necessarily to Obama.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, the likely GOP gubernatorial nominee this year, came under heavy criticism from Democrats this week for campaigning with Nugent, and conservatives on the national political stage, such as Texans Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Ted Cruz, have distanced themselves from Nugent.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky struck a more stringent tone when he called on Nugent to apologize, which he did last week in a radio interview.

"They think I'll be more effective if I back off that Detroit street fighter rock 'n’ roll stage rhetoric," Nugent told Burnett. "I'm here to tell you I'm going to do that because I do respect people like Gov. Perry and the great Greg Abbott and Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, and because I do represent a lot of the same people that they do, believe it or not, I think I owe it to those great Americans to be more civil when I represent them."

After Nugent apologized, he quickly pivoted to what he sees as a bias in the media, attacking CNN and other news outlets in the "propaganda industry" for seizing on his original comments.

Before the interview, Nugent prodded Burnett to listen to comments Obama made on "The View," where he used the word mongrel. In the clip, Obama used the word to underscore the need to treat people of different races with respect.

"The interesting thing about the African-American experience in this country is we are sort of a mongrel people," Obama said in a 2010 interview on the ABC show. "I mean we're all kind of mixed up. That's actually true for white America as well, but we just know more about it. So I'm less interested in how we label ourselves and more interested in how we treat each other."

Nugent said the President is "creating class warfare intentionally to get Americans to draw this line in the sand where I've never seen such political discourse in all my life."

CNN's Dana Davidsen contributed to this report.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (577 Responses)
  1. Mark

    "I think I owe it to those great Americans to be more civil when I represent them."

    While I am glad he apologized, I still see a few glaring problems. First, he is just some rocker, he has not been elected, he does not represent anyone which is different than having a view and people agreeing. Second, he complains of a a biased media that "jumped" on his remarks – if he did not make them there would be nothing to jump on, that is what media is SUPPOSED to do whether left or right.

    I am not an Obama supporter by any stretch, but all the claims he made remain little more than speculation, they have yet to show me a smoking gun – and I mean real evidence, not substandard opinion and conjecture.

    February 25, 2014 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  2. Art Farmer

    In response to Chuck (Ted Nugent? Who is Ted Nugent? Oh, he is a washed up rocker who took way too many drugs for years...)

    Not that I care a bit for Ted Nugent –but based on his history he never took drugs – as a mater of fact he fired the lead singer of the Amboy Dukes because he did do drugs.

    February 25, 2014 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  3. Dodging doucher

    I'm sorry I can't hear anything he says over all that draft dodging he did. What a worthless, racist piece of trash.

    February 25, 2014 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  4. Bob

    Why stop – your a GOP'er and we expect you to act like the fools you are.

    February 25, 2014 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  5. Name

    Is that like WMD,S? He,s an idiot TNuggent.

    February 25, 2014 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Nugent is a piece of work. He's a textbook example of hate clouding your sense of reason and better judgement. He offers an apology that is not an apology. He swears off name calling, but then calls Obama a liar.

    February 25, 2014 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  7. Wake up People!

    Thank you so much Lynda for understanding. You were the first person that came to my mind. As much hatred as I see daily and have since 2008, I refuse to let it change me too much. Luckily I was raised not to see skin color and it didn't matter until I became a victim of racism myself. I have my friends both black and white, some I've known since Kindergarten, and my new ones both my cyber friends and my two work BFF's, both of whom are white. So as long as I have you guys showing me love I'll be alright. But I'd be lying if I said it didn't hurt reading the things said about President and Mrs. Obama. I've never seen such disrespect leveled against a first family in my entire life.

    We've come a long way and we still have a long way to go. I watched the special on Sundown Towns last night and cried almost incessantly through the entire thing. If you get a chance, check it out.

    February 25, 2014 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  8. Deej

    Hey, RELL87. Couldn't help but notice that you actually said "Stupid of him to use the liberal's favorite tactic of insults and bullying." My head just about exploded when I read that. You think that's a LIBERAL thing? Buddy, I used to love politics, including the whole notion of compromise with the GOP. I thought that was how it was supposed to be. Now, after 30 years of volunteering for political campaigns and other things, I am so disgusted with the conservative hate machine I want nothing to do with politics. And as for bullying... Oh forget it. Nothing, including personal discovery that you're absolutely wrong, will stop you from spreading the kind of hatred you're accusing the liberals of spreading.

    February 25, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  9. HenryMason

    Nugent is not only a draft dodger, but now quotes Nazi talking points to describe the president. Nugent is a coward and a neo-nazi skinhead.

    February 25, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Wake up People!
    No offense taken Wake up.
    Quite refreshing.
    You could've said more...

    February 25, 2014 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  11. Pvinn

    Shame on CNN for giving this clown any airtime. He is clearly a deranged, hateful coward. He never provides anything to support his extreme opinions of Obama's alleged extreme agenda. Please do not give him any more air time to spout his hatred and delusional opinions.

    February 25, 2014 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  12. Karen

    If Obama is a "subhuman mongrel" (because that apology was no apology), I'm not too sure where that leaves Ted Nugent. "Trailer trash" isn't even close.

    However, that certainly places Nugent in interesting company. I would be very surprised if during WWII those exact words weren't used to describe at least the Slavs, if not everyone Hitler was interested in exterminating. For example, the siege of Leningrad was not implemented with the idea that the population would be starved into submission; it was effected with the goal of starving them to death. Hitler's plans for the Slavic race went on to imagine the entire Moscow area would be turned into a lake (seriously), and whatever remained of the Slavs would be used for slave labor until they were all exterminated.

    Unfortunately, we all know Nugent's despicable slur was a very accurate representation of what many fringe far-right conservatives really think. Maybe they should be careful of what they wish for. I wasn't exactly impressed with McCain appearing in a photo with Ukraine neo-Nazis. REALLY?

    February 25, 2014 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  13. Sang N.

    If Obama is a 'Subhuman Mongrel', I wonder what George Bush and Dick "Haliburton" Cheney would be? "Warring Weasel and Thieving Raccoon"? Or "Evasive Fox (i.e. in re Vietnam War Dubya didnt enlist for) or should that be Truant Fox and Slipperly Vole"?

    February 25, 2014 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  14. New york

    Ted Nugent is like the teddy bear in the movie Ted... childish, reckless and never grows up. He doesn't pay taxes so why does he care about IRS issues, He's never been to any middle east country or fought in any war so why does he care about Bengazi, he is well off financially and feeds the pockets of other rich Republicans so why is he suddenly concerned about who keeps or doesn't keep their healthcare. A typical political zombie... repeating rhetoric without substance, Grow up Ted and stop pooping on the living room floor!

    February 25, 2014 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  15. BobInIrvine

    I didn't realize that cat scratch fever led to mental illness.

    February 25, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  16. joe

    Ted Nugent is a draft dodger and pedophile who shouldnt say anything

    February 25, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  17. edog355

    That was one of the best interviews I've ever watched – Erin Burnett needs to lighten up.

    February 25, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  18. Friend of Bill W

    Why waste your time interviewing this trash?

    February 25, 2014 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  19. Deej

    Ted Nugent DOES represent a faction of society. One most of you, including the conservatives, wouldn't want to have anything to do with, if you'd met many of them. The GOP keeps associating themselves with Nugent, but they don't want the American people to think they're extreme. That's a head-scratcher.

    February 25, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  20. SV

    Hey Greg Abbott, when you've had enough of Ted Nugent's troubles why not give Hank Williams Jr. a call. There's another winner for ya.

    February 25, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  21. Anonymous

    Keep this birther in the headlines, all the way to the next election !!!

    February 25, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  22. Randyk

    He should have just said,

    "I'll stop calling people names as soon as you stop giving me headlines and prime time coverage for it."

    February 25, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  23. JustWho

    He's just another ignorant purveyor of filth.

    February 25, 2014 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  24. The Real Tom Paine

    rell87

    Stupid of him to use the liberal's favorite tactic of insults and bullying. He sounded like Bill Maher with his hateful rhetoric. No need to resort to such childish and petty behavior. Liberals are easy to discredit, just point out that they do nothing about any of the problems they preach about, like global warming.
    ***********************************
    Ironic that a conservative would accuse liberals of doing nothing about the problems they preach about, when modern conservatism has been about nothing but inaction. Thinking globally and acting locally is what liberals have been doing for generations, while the right-wing reaction seems to be centered around ignoring issues until they explode. Racking up debt was fine as long as a Republican occupied the WH and he had a GOP Congress to rubber-stamp legislation, no matter how ill conceived. As far as liberals being rude and childish, please: anyone who has listened to the barrage of slurs and insults coming out of AM radio over the last quarter century has been a witness to the coarsening of culture and our discourse, courtesy of the Far Right. It bagan with them, and when its returned on them, they whine and cry victim. Please. There is nothing empowering about Nugent, Limbaugh, or anyone on the radio. Its people being paid to rant the sort of garbage we used to hear in a bar from the town drunk. If Nugent had never played guitar, he would probably be screaming at people for walking on his sidewalk before shooting at them.

    February 25, 2014 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  25. emskadittle

    without name calling what does he have left? his crappy music?

    February 25, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
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