(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.
I wish people like this would just be honest. You hate him and everything he does because in your mind he IS sub-human because he's not phenotypically white or mixed really. His perceived race is Black and that is really the issue. Sub-human? Wow how Nazi of you. The world would be a much better place if people stopped making up lies and just told the truth. Why can't all the people who hate everyone but white people just move to one place in America? IDK, it's annoying. Oh and I LOVE how people assume because you are talking about black people, the rest of us don't care. We care. Well I care because honestly the same is probably said about Asians and Hispanics. If you hate us so much, just leave the country. Go to Russia.
He's like he perfect front man for the tea party. You know his name, but aren't sure why. If he showed up at your door, you'd call the cops. Nothing he says will attract any rational human being
Does Nugent still perform musically, or is he a wash up?
Republicans, Ted Nugent is the most newsworthy of you at this point. How does that feel?
Why does anyone even care what Ted Nugent thinks or says? I sure as hell wouldn't want him representing me if I were running for political office.
This man is a complete waste of flesh and why on earth the media continues to give his air time to spout all his negative crap is ridiculous. He should crawl back under the rock he came from and take his so called music with him.
Some things can't be taken back. The man he supported needs to be defeated soundly by the electorate for not disowning Nugent.
It would be better if he just shut up. His opinion is his and no one cares what he has to say. If I were a republican before he would have made we switch parties. Just because you hate a black man as president does not give you the right to use free speech to create false facts. TED. PLEASE GO AWAY you are not an American
I guess Ted believes himself.
I don't think anyone else does though.
Shut up and sing, just like we and most likely Ted told the Dixie Chicks.
"I've never seen such political discourse in all my life."
Discourse: written or spoken communication or debate.
Gee, Ted – isn't one of the principles that America's founding fathers cherished?
This guy is clueless, but CNN continues to cling to him to hopefully catch those moments of controversy on tape for ratings. Both are disgusting.
I liked OB's comeback there...we are all mongrels. However the ACA is hurting more than its helping, certainly mostly the working poor. "Get it right or..." see that's where its coming from and the guns well, you as the gvt go and purchase as many rounds as you did.. for a domestic agency and then think that anyone is going to give you a gun? no we are going to go get our own and learn to shoot... your human nature adviser must be asleep somewhere...
Long Live Ted
Message to CNN. I don't care what Mr Nugent says.
I guess when Obama distances himself from a convicted terrorist like Bill Ayers then people can start worrying about stupid comments from an aging rocker. New Day was certainly offended by Nugent but no mention of Obamas White House visitors and past statements they've made. Nice bias.
Why does CNN continue to provide a soapbox to Nugent? News organization that have to manufacture controversy through inconsequential figure only demonstrate an inability to provide the audience with more substantial coverage. Why not just go the way of Fox, which is more successful with this kind of visceral journalism?
Hang in there Ted because the media loves to call everyone a racist who dislikes the president. It's in their play book of how to demonize the opposition by planting the seed of racism. I think i will go and make a donation to the NRA on behalf of Piers Morgan for you.
Keep calling people names. Then when cadidates or seated legislators support you then it will be easier to find out who the true lunitics are. It makes keeping or getting someone out of office a lot easier.
This guy is a moron of the highest caliber....consider the source and move on. And to you conservatives who say liberals also call people names, stop acting like little brats on a playground AND MOVE ON.
Ted Nugent should have just stopped at....The POTUS is a liar...it says it all.
He doesn't have anything intelligent to say so he has name-calling as his only fallback.
The democrats are better at calling names anyway.
Still waiting for him to identify **ALL** the criminals. Pretty long list, so far as that goes. Well, Teddy? How 'bout it?
Ted Nugent may just be a redneck. This day and age for people to think like that is crazy, and embarrassing. Like most Republicans this dude is an obvious RACIST. See Obama made it to a second term with no wars unlike many of the last republican presidents, He's brought home my friends from war safe, He's doing stuff people look right past. I mean look at 9/11 for instance, Did we know that four planes were about to be highjacked and flown into various locations? Obviously not. I don't remember MR. Bush getting this much heat, Even though I know he got some, And everyone wants to knit-pick for benghazi , which was an obvious terrorist attack, any human being that would think differently just doesn't get living to begin with. Do we really want to see another WAR? Well unless aliens invade, because i'm sure Ted Nugent will tell you Obama is lying about that too.