February 24th, 2014
10:05 PM ET
9 years 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.

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"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. Wake up People!

    Maybe you should learn to read nk. Calling someone a subhuman mongrel is very racist. There are plenty that disagree with the POTUS but haven't resorted to names like that. But here are a few code words to clue you in to when they are racist. Kenyan, Muslim, subhuman mongrel, when words like that are used to describe a person of color are meant to be racist. Especially when they're not Muslim.

    February 25, 2014 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  2. Pam from Iowa

    The only ones creating a class warfare are the Republicans in their zest to keep the line between the 'haves' and the 'have nots'.
    Oh, and Ted? You represent nobody but the lunatic fringe!!!

    February 25, 2014 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  3. Dave1157

    Nobody but the NRA and a few delusional Republicans could care less what Ted Nugent has to say about anything. He's a has-been, with all the political clout of Forrest Gump. Send him and Sarah Palin on a long hunting trip with no microphones and no means of communication. Nobody would miss either of them.

    February 25, 2014 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  4. Mike

    When George Bush was president the GOP vilified anyone who spoke out against his policies. Some were even fired by conservative bosses. Now that same GOP vilifies the democrats for not allowing Nugent his right to free speech. Can you say double standards? They are truly the party of "Do as we say, not as we do". I wonder what their outrage would be if it was a black entertainer saying the same things against a white president?

    February 25, 2014 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  5. Justin Cider

    Are anyone's political views swayed or influenced in any way by a has-been rocker?!?

    February 25, 2014 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  6. kylefromohio

    In case some of you all do not know what a thug sounds like. Ted is what you call a thug. did not have the courage to serve his country, but brave enough to talk behind the protection of the country laws.

    February 25, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  7. Jim8

    The right and their heroes. They have't really thought this out, again, have they?

    I don't believe they took a close look at his history, all they can see is that he loves guns.

    February 25, 2014 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  8. Embarrassed Republican

    Sorry Ted...re-packaging doesn't work after you have already exposed yourself for what you really are.

    February 25, 2014 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  9. Stephen

    Regardless of intent─and I believe his intent was to be racist in a way he could deny later like he is now─calling a person of mixed race a "subhuman mongrel" was always going to come across as racist.

    People like Nugent might excite the base, but they do more harm than good in terms of bringing new people in.

    February 25, 2014 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  10. Blue

    Ted is what one would call the scrum of the Earth. The more he speaks, the lower he becomes. He is a joke and the GOP is welcome to him.

    February 25, 2014 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  11. Jim8

    Ted, I still have my same doctor. It's the deductible and high prices as you age they should be complaining about.

    This is the problem the right needs to get over, they aren't using real arguments, when there are so many if them, they would rather make stuff up.

    I 'm going to guess this is because they are not in the same world the rest of us are.

    February 25, 2014 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  12. wcb2000

    Seems Ted has become the poster boy for conservative ignorance. Too bad. He used to be a pretty cool easy going guy. Even though I own most if his albums, I no longer consider myself a fan.

    February 25, 2014 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  13. nik green

    Ted Nugent is a full member of that illustrious group of cowards – aka "The Chickenhawks". These are people who advocate taking the nation to war, as long as their personal safety is not compromised. Strangely, most of the most famous chicken hawks are of a right wing political stance. Nugent skipped out on serving his nation in Vietnam by pretending to be incontinent and pooping his trousers. Dick Cheney is another – he got 5 deferments on account of "other engagements".

    February 25, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  14. Mona

    Hey Ted, keep working for Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, they appreciate your expressive verbage! You piece of

    February 25, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  15. brp

    Mike. If a black entertainer said that about a white president? Have you missed when Kanye West said that George Bush doesn't care about black people?

    February 25, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  16. pj1009

    Ted is a LIAR LIAR LIAR in the first degree – He promised that if the President was re-elected he would be in Jail or Dead.

    February 25, 2014 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Phyllis Gwendoline Williams

    "Who maketh thee to differ from another:..What hast thou that thou didst not receive?? (1st Corinthians 4: 7)
    We are 1 Body,1 Spirit, 1 Hope, 1 Lord, 1 Faith, 1 Baptism, 1 God and Father of All, above All, through All, and in us/You All (Ephesians 4: 4-6). "there shall be ONE fold, and ONE shepherd" (John 10: 16)
    You're preaching to the choir, ma'am. Most Christians really do believe in separation of church and state.

    February 25, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  18. sly

    We are slowly eradicating the racists from America. Our nation is growing stronger, led by our progressive President Obama, who has successfully implemented pretty much everything he proposes.

    Congratulations America – these are excellant times. Our President killed America's #1 enemy of all time. Record stock market. Record 401ks. 50 million citizens no longer BANNED from health care. No foreign terrorist attacks on our soil.

    Good times. These racists? Who cares – they are going the way of the dodo bird.

    February 25, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  19. transcripter

    Liberals sure love to stereotype. I respect Ted's beliefs but don't in any way see him as some sort of spokesperson for Republicans or Tea Party members like liberals would like everyone to believe. I think Ted would be offended by being put into a category anyhow.

    February 25, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  20. Sam

    What a piece of filth Nugent is.

    February 25, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  21. Wake up People!

    Very well said Mike. I've been saying that same thing for more than 5 years now. Anyone that said anything negative about Bush, even after the collapse of the economy was branded unpatriotic.

    February 25, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  22. Kansas Cowboy

    Can we please please please ignore all moronic demagogues, left and right, and let them fade into the oblivion they deserve?

    February 25, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  23. babooph

    Ted is almost as good for the Democratic party as Bush W & Cheney.

    February 25, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  24. Malory Archer


    Liberals sure love to stereotype. I respect Ted's beliefs but don't in any way see him as some sort of spokesperson for Republicans or Tea Party members like liberals would like everyone to believe. I think Ted would be offended by being put into a category anyhow.


    Your lame attempt to bash liberals might have merit IF poopy pants the pedophile wasn't busy stumping for any con candidate foolish enough to allow him within shouting range.

    February 25, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  25. Malory Archer

    What "methodology"? Public facilities are under no obligation to promote corporations or their products.
    Oh, I don't know... how about leaving it up to the PARENTS?

    What metrics do they have that proves out the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of this approach? How will they know whether or not they've achieved their goal? This is just another "throw something against the wall and see what sticks". And I would be saying this no matter who proposed it – again, the goal is admirable.


    If junk food isn't being promoted and offered in schools, kids aren't going to learn poor nutritional habits in schools – it's that simple. What parents choose to feed their kids outside school or pack in their school lunches is on them, and if they choose to continue to send their kids to school with bad food once it's no longer available for purchase at school, at least they won't be able to blame "government schools" when their seven year-old develops type-2 diabetes.

    February 25, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
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