Ted Nugent has apologized for calling President Obama a “subhuman mongrel.” The shock rocker/political provocateur on Friday told conservative radio host and CNN commentator Ben Ferguson that he “did cross the line” with those words, uttered in an interview with Guns.com in January.
At first Nugent did not apologize directly to Mr. Obama himself. Instead, his main regret seemed to be that the controversy over his unrestrained rhetoric was affecting the man he campaigned with in Texas this week, state Attorney General and presumptive GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott, as well as other top GOP figures such as Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
“I apologize for using the term. I will try to elevate my vernacular to the level of those great men that I’m learning from in the world of politics,” said Nugent.
Pressed further, Nugent answered “yes” to the question about whether he was actually saying he was sorry to the president.
That doesn’t mean he’s changed his political views, though. He added that instead of “the street fighter terminology of ‘subhuman mongrel,’ ” he should have used more understandable words, such as “violator of his oath to the Constitution.”
The apology was also tempered somewhat by the fact that it followed an epic Twitter rant in which Nugent listed in great detail the many, many aspects of the Obama administration that he says he finds offensive.
“Are words really more offensive than 5 dead Americans on Obama’s watch?” Nugent tweeted early Friday morning. He then followed this “Are words really more offensive than …” pattern for another 40-plus tweets, ending the sentence with “a gunrunning attorney general,” “engineered recidivism,” “trampling the US constitution,” and “Obama Mao redistribution,” among other things.
We’d guess this means he and the president won’t be meeting over beverages in the White House for a quiet discussion of their respective political philosophies.
Nugent’s friends and allies in the GOP may have pressed him to take back his words to give Abbott and others a little breathing room. The Texas gubernatorial hopeful has been avoiding reporters’ questions about why he appeared with Nugent, and whether he agrees with Nugent’s sentiments.
Some Republicans have been even more direct – Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky denounced Nugent’s racially charged invective as “offensive” and “having no place in politics.” Sitting Texas Gov. Rick Perry told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he does “have a problem” with Nugent’s strong language.
Abbott is heavily favored to win the GOP Texas gubernatorial primary and a favorite to win the general election. In that context, the Nugent flap was an unwelcome distraction that allowed Democratic contender Wendy Davis an opportunity to change the subject from her own missteps. Press accounts have accused Ms. Davis of making her ascent from childhood poverty sound more difficult and dramatic than it really was.