February 18th, 2014
12:18 PM ET
8 years ago

Ted Nugent hits campaign trail after calling Obama 'subhuman mongrel'

Updated 5:06 p.m. ET, 2/18/2014

(CNN) – Controversial 65-year-old rock star Ted Nugent is campaigning Tuesday with likely Texas GOP gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbott, the state's current attorney general who makes no apologies for inviting Nugent on the trail with him.

Democrats were quick to point to Nugent's outlandish comments, with likely Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wendy Davis calling Abbott's decision "repulsive."

[twitter-follow screen_name='politicalticker'] [twitter-follow screen_name='DanaBashCNN']

But a senior Abbott aide admitted their campaign is only bringing on the gun rights activist to help spur voter turnout among the base, as the state begins early voting for the upcoming March 4 GOP primary.

The aide said the campaign originally had 100 people commit to their event Tuesday morning at a Denton restaurant, but when they announced Nugent was coming, the number of expected attendees tripled.

"On a Tuesday mid-morning at a local restaurant in Denton, Texas, that's a lot of people," the campaign aide said.

Nugent is known for making controversial comments about Democrats and President Barack Obama in particular.

Just last month, he 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."

Nugent was interviewed in 2012 by the Secret Service after he said at the National Rifle Association's annual meeting that he would be either "dead or in jail by this time next year" if Obama is still in office.

The agency later cleared Nugent, saying the issue had been resolved and they were not anticipating further action.

But Abbott's campaign is brushing off Nugent's history of contentious comments.

"The controversy is what he said in the past. We are not endorsing Ted Nugent, he is supporting us," the aide said.

"It's easy to criticize some of the language he has used in the past," the aide continued. "He is protected under the Constitution, like you and I."

At one of the stops Tuesday, Nugent praised Abbott for being the "epitome" of what the country's Founding Fathers envisioned.

"We all love Greg," he said. "He has served We The People."

Nugent also took time to explain his love for the Lone Star State.

"I moved to Texas 12 years ago because this is special," he said. "There is no other Texas anymore. This is the last bastion of rugged individualism, of true independence."

Wendy Davis, the Democratic state senator who will likely face Abbott in the general election, said the attorney general's "embrace of Ted Nugent" is an "insult" to all Texans.

"I think the fact that Greg Abbott is embracing those values is repulsive. And that Texans should consider it and will consider it," she said in comments taped by CNN affiliate WFAA in Dallas-Ft. Worth.

Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa also criticized Abbott's use of Nugent as a surrogate.

"Texans deserve better than a statewide office holder and candidate running for governor who welcomes Ted Nugent and his repugnant comments," he said in a statement.

Video: Ted Nugent like you've never seen him

While Nugent's comments may make headlines, he's still considered a superstar to some on the far right, especially for his staunch defense of gun rights. He was a guest of outspoken Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, at the State of the Union address last month, and he's campaigned for tea party-backed candidates in the past.

"There are two things that you have to do to win high public office in Texas, and that's know how to lead a prayer and know how to shoot a gun,” Christy Hoppe, Austin bureau chief of the Dallas Morning News, said on CNN's "Newsroom." “And Greg Abbott has done both, and he's underscoring his credentials there by inviting Ted Nugent.”

CNN Crossfire co-host Van Jones, a Democrat, called Nugent's comments "racist."

"Sub-human mongrel - that is language from the days of slavery, and I cannot for the life of myself understand why a leading Republican candidate would associate in any way with somebody saying stuff like this and a guy like this," he said on the show Tuesday.

Newt Gingrich, former Republican House speaker and also a co-host on Crossfire, called the uproar over Nugent's comments "selective media outrage," pointing to controversial comments made by Democrats that he suggested were largely ignored.

"I think there's a double standard here. What Ted Nugent said was stupid. I don't support it," he said on "The Situation Room."

"But I do think the level of selective outrage, particularly on the entertainment left, where they often day after day say much more vicious things about Republicans. It's just kind of funny to watch."

CNN's Ashley Killough and Gloria Borger contributed to this report.

Filed under: Greg Abbott • Texas
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. The Real Tom Paine

    Lets see how many points he costs Abbott. It's like Clayton Williams all over again!

    February 18, 2014 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  2. Al-NY,NY

    gutless, lying, and overall worthless subhuman. C'mon Ted....jail or a hole in the ground? I prefer the latter but it's up to you

    February 18, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Thanks Ted. I appreciate all you do for us to retain our rights to bare arms. I am an avid hunter and fisherman.

    February 18, 2014 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "I have obviously failed to galvanize and prod, if not shame enough Americans to be ever vigilant
    And didn't you make a promise during our last presidential election that if you failed to keep Mr. Obama from being re-elected you would leave the country or shoot yourself, or some such tripe?
    How about keeping that promise and proving once and for all that your word means something besides diddly?

    February 18, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  5. carlos

    Ted needs to take a journey to the center of his mind, or any other place where he can't bother us.

    February 18, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  6. Marie MD

    You Re not endorsing nugent but it's okay, regardless of what he has said, to support you.
    You are judged by the company you keep then again, this IS Texas who just wasted $350Kfor some gun right wacko to go kill an old rhino instead of just giving the money to Namimbia (if memory serves) to help conserve these magnificent creatures instead of killing them.
    It's the death panel of the teaklans/repugs. someng is old? Death panels to them.

    February 18, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  7. salty dog

    Ted is the biggest poacher I've seen, he's been doing it since he lived near Jackson. And has been caught numerous times since leaving, rules dont apply to some i guess .

    February 18, 2014 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  8. Steve, New York City

    Go campaigning with Ted Nugent? Why? He couldn't find Pee Wee Herman?
    This candidate will already capture the gun-crazed half wit vote. Perhaps he should have picked a more moderate travel companion.

    February 18, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  9. salty dog

    When you grow up in a small town, leave and become famous, shouldn't the town be proud of you, and actually like you? Certainly not the case with Ted, he's abused landowners all around him, poaching on their property.

    February 18, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  10. sonny chapman

    I wonder if he'll visit w/George W.; they're both Vietnam War Draft Dodgers.

    February 18, 2014 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  11. salty dog

    Hey Ted, could you help me cut some trees, haha, what a rube!

    February 18, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  12. Eric Teichman

    He's a draft dodger wana-be. He supports communism, not democracy. I guess that's why he's perfect for republicans.

    February 18, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  13. The Real Tom Paine


    Thanks Ted. I appreciate all you do for us to retain our rights to bare arms. I am an avid hunter and fisherman.
    There are plenty of people who do a better job of defending the Second Amendment than a sex- addicted, draft dodging hypocrite who fathered children out of wedlock with underage girls. If being unable to control yourself from your darker impulses is an art, then Nugent is a master of the craft.

    February 18, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    An interesting rebranding of the Republican Party is on display here. Not a whole lot is inclusive about Nugent.

    February 18, 2014 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  15. WB

    Clearly the author of this is using the term "rock star" very loosely.

    February 18, 2014 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  16. salty dog

    I'm sure he gained a few votes, and I'm even more certain he lost many more, the hatred this guy saturates himself with is beyond reason . If you can stand next to him knowing what he says and not want to vomit, says more than you think. The fact some actually like him because of it, are racist, ignorant, hateful people. Prejudice is stupid, but stupid is definitely not prejudice

    February 18, 2014 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  17. salty dog

    Kiss of death, continue.

    February 18, 2014 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  18. Lisa P.

    I'm sure the apologizing will start soon enough. You gotta give a 65-year-old loud mouth rock star attention whore a chance to - unexpectedly! never saw that coming! - offend people first; otherwise it would be pre-apologizing, and that might cause voters to question your judgement. Worse, they might think you are knowingly pandering to them as if they were the preadolescent mouth breathers you think they are, rather than it just being some kind of horrific unavoidable accident and/or campaign train wreck.

    The GOP is getting very predictable. I'm sure Ted Nugent will be running for Governor next.

    February 18, 2014 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |

    Nugent is as helpful to the republicans as Obama is to the democrats.

    February 18, 2014 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  20. nintex

    "A senior Abbott aide admits their campaign is only bringing on the rocker and gun rights activist to help spur voter turnout among the base, as the state begins early voting for the upcoming March 4 GOP primary."

    It should also do a lot to help spur turnout among the Democratic base. Just reading about this repulsive man makes me want to get busy helping make sure Wendy Davis is elected governor so Texans won't continue to be represented by backwoods rednecks the likes of whom adore this idiot.

    February 18, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Real Tom Paine
    Don't forget drug-addled Tom...it's not just for "Lefties" anymore! lol!

    February 18, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  22. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    I remember Ted being a great guitar player when I was in high school. I'm now pushing 60... Is he still relevant?

    February 18, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Thanks Ted. I appreciate all you do for us to retain our rights to bare arms
    I think that Michelle Obama does a much better job at helping us retain our rights to "bare arms".
    Jeezus Please us.....lol!

    February 18, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC


    Thanks Ted. I appreciate all you do for us to retain our rights to bare arms. I am an avid hunter and fisherman.
    Be sure to thank the business deregulation and anti-climate change crowds, too, for making these the most memorable of your life. Because,pretty soon you may not be able to go hunting and fishing.

    Around NYC here, people haven't been able to fish out of the Hudson River for several decades. They tell you not to eat the fish. Well, that's not true. They tell you not to eat more than one or two per year, or about one pound.

    February 18, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Oh dear, I'm starting to sound like the usual suspects.
    No human being is useless, not even Ted Nugent.
    My apologies to whomever read that post.

    February 18, 2014 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
1 2