(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.
Who is Ted Nugent?
I think the criticism was heavy because of the "sub-human" part of the conversation that was the issue. Of course, Teddy doesn't address that but focuses on the term "mongrel" because BO used it on The View. Let's see him weasel out of the more obscene "sub-human" phrase instead of a mixed-breed mongrel.
Ted is NOT a man of his word.
He made a promise lin 2012 that if Obama were re-elected, he'd be either in jail or dead by now. Now come on. Keep your word.
Nugent is a good example of the uninformed yet highly opinionated.
Stay in the woods and hunt ... it seems to be the only skill you have.
Nugent has not been paying attention if this is first he's ever seen such public discourse.
How does a deep thinking compassionate man respond to this article above? Thank god the human life span is as short as it is, that is all I can say.
What causes this man to act so disrespectful? Boy oh boy has the republican party lost its way by pandering to the likes of Nugent. I'm looking for problem solving leaders not ranting troublemakers. We are hurting in middle America and these people are making it worse by obstructing sensible solutions by either party. In my humble opinion , we cant wait another election cycle for compromise. Congress quit the childish games.
Name-calling is the only way Ted Nugent can get any attention and publicity, so I doubt that he'll stop
Good call Ted. Keep it up.
The GOP will NEVER successfully appeal to minorities so long as it harbors people like this.
Nugent don't mention your from Michigan we are embarrassed of you here stay in Texas!!!!
No he won't
Please stop stating that Mr. Nugent apologized. He did not. An apology is directed to the one you've aggrieved. Even your own reporting states from his quote, in part, "not to the president himself." He did not apologize to President Obama. On another note, Mr. Nugent, you don't have enough decency in your body to "shame" me into doing anything.
Your are a moron Ted, you think your right wing buddies don't lie? Welcome to politics buddy where they all lie and say whatever to stay in office. Maybe one day you will come out of your daze and realize there really is no difference between the two parties they both serve the same corporate masters.
Nugent speaks for Guns Over People tea potty wingnuts. They love him.
Ted Nugent's hate speech (and that is what it is) is the same language used by the Nazi's to marginalize and ultimately murder millions of people. Define them as sub-human, beneath consideration, no rights, no expectation of a right to live. He say's he is delivering a message of self-reliant work ethic versus the government assistance provided to people at the very bottom of the economic ladder. Well his message is lost in his delivery. A delivery that is hateful and repugnant to most true Americans.
With all that childish name calling Ted is starting to sound like a liberal.
Not racist? Let's break it down by what the dictionary says. This doesn't include what he has called women either.
Subhuman = relating to or displaying behavior that is distastefully inferior in sophistication, moral standards, or intelligence to what is regarded as usual for human beings; at the level of biological development that is considered just below humans.
Mongrel = a dog that is a mixture of different breeds (they are very healthy though); an animal or plant that is a mixture of different breeds or strains; but here's is where this has been was going . . . . . . . . an offensive term for somebody who is of mixed racial ancestry.
No he is not racist nor did he mean to demean our President.
Where was Nugent when GW lied to us, repeatedly, about those invisible WMDs?
Where was Nugent when GW intentionally failed to budget for 2 wars.....was sneaky about how to hide the costs so his budgets looked better than they were?
Where was Nugent when Cheney and Bush ok'd torture, which was against international law?
Where was Nugent when GW sent thousands of soldiers to their deaths, and hundreds of thousands to a lifetime of medical and psychological traumas over his lies?
Anyone who believes anything from Nugent is missing a chromosome.
Hey, Nugent: just stop talking altogether.
The hate that comes from the far right is unbelievable. These are the so-called Christians. The GOP is full of grumpy greedy old men and witchy women. Talk about liers and cheaters. These are the people who believe they have to do everything they can to suppress to vote in order to win elections. They are truely disgusting people.
Nugent is a joke... And a sad one at that.
Nugent might have used wrong wording but his message was clear. Obama is NOT GOOD FOR THIS COUNTRY!!
Ted Nugent need to keep up the assault on the DEMS and Obama..
People that contribute to this country's well being (working people) need to hear his message.
I wish I know why this guy was relevant