Ted Nugent was pressured into giving a half-hearted apology after calling President Obama a “subhuman mongrel” caused a firestorm of negative press for Greg Abbott and the GOP at large. Unfortunately, it was not sincere or directed at the President, but instead at the candidates he's perceived to have hurt.
It took Rand Paul the US Senator from Kentucky to call for “The Nuge” to take back his remarks before other Texas Republicans began to speak out. Greg Abbott has finally acknowledged the comment himself, but only after Gov. Rick Perry and Senator Ted Cruz also suggested Nugent's comments were out of line.
Before Nugent took to the airways to say, “I do apologize – not necessarily to the President – but on behalf of much better men than myself,” he went on an epic Twitter rank insinuating his comments weren't, “really more offensivethan [sic]” — insert harsh hyperbola implicating Obama.
See Abbott's response and more of Nugent's apology and rants below the jump…It appears from Nugent's “apology” that he was pressured to do so by the politicians he is stomping for. “I will try to elevate my vernacular to the level of those great men that I'm learning from in the world of politics.”
Now Abbott says, “I believe Ted Nugent recognized his language was wrong and he rightly apologized…This is not the kind of language I would use or endorse in any way. It's time to move beyond this, and I will continue to focus on the issues that matter to Texans.” I problem for him is that it always was, and it should not have taken so long for him to acknowledge as much. This turned out to be a completely unforced error on his part.
At two campaign events Saturday Wendy Davis pointed to Abbott's campaigning with Nugent as a mark against his character. She not only referenced Nugent's hateful comments against the President but also his admitted indiscretions with underage girls. Davis said Abbott's decision to embrace Nugent displayed the stark contrast between the two candidates and proved “Greg Abbott's values are not Texas values.”
According to several reports Perry and Cruz have not ruled out campaigning with Nugent but each actively chose to distance themselves from the heat of his racist Nazi propaganda rhetoric.
Gov. Perry who has his own Presidential aspirations to consider said, “He shouldn't have said that about the president of the United States…I got a problem calling the president a mongrel…I do have a problem with that. That is an inappropriate thing to say.”
Ted Cruz told CNN, “Those sentiments, of course, I don't agree with. You've never heard me say such a thing, nor would I.”
One of Abbott's opponents in the GOP primary was one of the first to come out strongly against Nugent's remarks. Lisa Fritsch who is also an African-American told CNN the GOP was in a “spiritual battle” and that the comments were “unacceptable.” Also unacceptable she said was that, “leadership [did]not come out and completely disavow that type of language.” She also noted that, “until the Republican party can solve its identity crisis, rebuild and rebrand,” that they are putting the party at risk and could lose the White House for many years to come.
So while Nugent was apparently receiving immense prodding to retract his statement Greg Abbott believed he was protected by some air of inevitability. He did however curiously retweet someone who @Mentioned him saying, “Lavandera great, Abbott utterly pathetic,” a reference to CNN's correspondent who tried to interview Abbott about the comments at a campaign stop with Nugent. That seems an arrogant play while at the same time actively dodging reporters over the biggest dust up of negative press so far in this race.
If Abbott is so confident he can take the Governor's mansion without support from minorities or women, instead of remembering the Alamo, he should remember Clayton Williams.
You can follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.