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. OdinVonTogan

    Good job widdle sensitive wuns – you have awakened the sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible resolve.
    No more entertaining, just brutally honest discourse. You'll be sorry.

    February 24, 2014 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  2. TiskTiskTisk

    please continue the conversation Mr Nugent ... people are flocking to Hillary.

    February 24, 2014 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  3. musician

    Smart as a box of rocks.It's so embarrassing to think of him as a fellow American. Well, because he is an American he can say whatever he wants. And we can respond to it however we want. I think the blowback has been pretty fierce.

    February 24, 2014 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  4. elucidated1

    Big egos are an amazing thing. It allows one to say anything they want without regard to how much it hurts their own party. And it is no secret that Ted Nugent standing next to governors and Presidential candidates and then calling the POTUS names makes the GOP look like the party of anger and intolerance.

    February 24, 2014 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  5. leonides714

    He can call him a pedophile, a drug addict and a chicken hawk.
    I mean, he can call himself all of those things.

    February 24, 2014 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  6. Nameraymond

    I'll see it when I believe it Ted- Oh by the way, look at yourself in the mirror to spot the "Subhuman" !!!

    February 24, 2014 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  7. Mr Dalloway

    Nugent is deaf AND dumb

    February 24, 2014 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  8. Sweetday

    I saw the interview...he is the face of hate as well as the GOP.

    February 24, 2014 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  9. Junior

    Trying to be relevant for this unknown music rocker. Seen this drama before from a losing Vice President candidate?

    February 24, 2014 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  10. sounds pretty uncivilized

    Apologizing without really apologizing sounds like a 10 yr, old, i.e., "I'm sorry, but Frankie hit me first."

    February 24, 2014 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  11. emintey

    All you have to do is open a dictionary to know his comments are racist. It's Nugent who is the iar.

    February 24, 2014 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  12. David L Carnes

    Calling a garden variety shallow socialist sub-human is not necessarily racist but it is unnecessarily close.On the other hand when a one million dollar presidential supporter calls a woman a cxnt that is no more than a days work. Outrage?Outrage anybody?? No ?? I guess not.

    February 24, 2014 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  13. Secession Solution

    So, did Nugent say anything that wasn't true?

    February 24, 2014 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  14. noteasilyswayed

    The hate of the right wing extremists against anyone who dares to disagree with them on anything will probably lead the USA into its second civil war in the next decade or two.

    February 24, 2014 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  15. Richard Mitchell

    Why would anyone listen to a common criminal like Nugent. How smart can he be? He had himself video taped poaching wildlife. Not once but twice! Then had the gull to show it on National T.V. Does he really believe he is above the law? He is a very good example of why we need more indepth background checks before purchasing a firearm. Why we should take a serious look at the effects of drugs on the human brain.
    In his favor he has had several Youth Camps where youth were educated on firearm safety and hunting as part of his Court appointed Community Service.

    February 24, 2014 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  16. loser president

    good on the nooge for getting down to facts, which is precisely what he did here...specifiying that Obama IS a liar and the media ARE giving him the pass on every single lie he has uttered.

    February 24, 2014 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  17. bobsmith

    Nugent: "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."

    Once a guy talks like this about the president, why would a supposedly respectable news organization like CNN even take him seriously? Why give a bigoted hate monger any more oxygen that he's already got?

    Fact is, no one would care about Nugent (artistically or politically) if he didn't spew such extreme garbage. When was the last time you heard anyone talk about Nugent for any reason OTHER than vile insulting language aimed at Obama, Hillary, Democrats, liberals, etc. This is the ONLY reason he's ever in the news.

    February 24, 2014 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  18. Dori

    So... He won't call names because the people he supports think he'll be "more effective" that way, not because he's come to realize that his comments were offensive. Too late– NOTHING this creature will ever do could be "effective" in the view of anyone with an ounce of humanity.

    I understand what Mr. Obama meant in terms of "mongrel," and why the word might not have been the best choice to use in that context (perhaps "mixture" would have been a little better), the fact remains that ANY phrase he would have used would have been twisted by the likes of Nugent. By adding the term "subhuman," however, Nugent gave the phrase a particularly nasty, malicious, and racist twist.

    I can't believe that any candidate thinks he or she is doing their campaign a favor to let this creep campaign with them.

    February 24, 2014 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  19. Tim McDowell

    I've never seen such political discourse in all my life." Really, Mr. Nugent. What do you think was going on in the 50s, 60s,and 70s – a cake walk?

    February 24, 2014 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  20. Roscoe Chait

    Maybe Nugent should just shut his pie hole, period. The fact that he doesn't understand the racist overtones of what he said is shocking. He is as dumb as a bag of hammers.

    February 24, 2014 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  21. FrankinSD

    In what lexicon is the phrase "subhuman mongrel" not racist? Sounds like another patented non-apology apology from T.N. Maybe he should quit while he is behind.

    February 24, 2014 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  22. Randy Johnson

    Wow – no more racist comments from Ted Nugent??? Well – I guess until he becomes totally senile it will just be the flies on the wall that hear his rants.

    February 24, 2014 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  23. rl

    Intelligent people don't put much stock in what Nugent says, about much of anything. When is he going to tell the truth and tell us he was a Coward and not very Patriotic when he dodged the draft when his time came in the 1960s?

    February 24, 2014 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  24. Name

    Ted .get over it .you have bush in there ok..man just going thing the right way. Ok....man

    February 24, 2014 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  25. kebcarerra

    Where was this guy when the lies from our president led to the death of thousands of Iraqi's and Afghans and Americans . No Ted you are a racist plain and simple. Lies about keeping your doctor are a laugh when you consider Cheney or Bush

    February 24, 2014 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
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