Ted Nugent comments prompt Secret Service investigation

STEVE MARCUS/REUTERS - Ted Nugent plays his guitar during an interview before a concert at the House of Blues at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada in this file image from August 11, 2007. Republican candidate Mitt Romney's campaign called for civility on Tuesday after aging rock star Nugent made an apparent threat against President Barack Obama before an audience of U.S. gun lobbyists. Nugent told the National Rifle Association convention in St. Louis last week that "If Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year."

Ted Nugent has an appointment with the Secret Service on Thursday after he was called in to explain his comments about President Obama at a National Rifle Association Conference in St. Louis last week. The Associated Press reports:

“The conclusion will be obvious that I threatened no one,” Nugent told radio interviewer Glenn Beck on Wednesday. Nugent said he’d been contacted by the agency and would cooperate fully even though he found the complaints “silly.”

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The controversy erupted after the self-styled “Motor City Madman” made an impassioned plea for support for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney during the National Rifle Association meeting in St. Louis last weekend. “We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November,” Nugent said of the Obama administration.

He also included a cryptic pronouncement: “If Barack Obama becomes the next president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.”

Outraged Democrats circulated the remarks and suggested they were threatening. Secret Service spokesman George Ogilvie confirmed that the agency was looking into the matter but declined to give details. “We are aware of the incident and we are taking appropriate follow-up,” Ogilvie said.

Nugent said he was simply trying to galvanize voters. The hard rocker, best known for ’70s hits like “Cat Scratch Fever,” is a conservative activist and has a history of heated and sometimes vulgar criticism of Obama. Nugent endorsed Romney after speaking to him last month.

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Nugent’s words at the NRA convention and following it could backfire on the candidate he hoped to support, according to She the People’s Suzi Parker.

On Tuesday, Nugent found fire in his belly again on a radio show. He spewed venom toward Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who condemned Nugent's comments about Obama, and toward Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

“Wasserman Schultz is such a brain-dead, soulless idiot,” Nugent said. “I could not be more proud that this soulless, heartless idiot feebly attempts to find fault with Ted Nugent, because I am on the right track and she just encourages me to stand stronger.”

Nugent then called the two female Democratic leaders “varmints.”

In a year when the war on women rages, Nugent’s words leave a sour taste and conjure up unsettling, violent images. Of course, under the constitution, Nugent has the right to say anything. But, as my mother always says, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s camp tepidly denounced Nugent’s comments about Obama, but has said nothing so far about his comments on Schultz and Pelosi. “Divisive language is offensive no matter what side of the political aisle it comes from,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said. “Mitt Romney believes everyone needs to be civil.”

When Nugent endorsed Romney in March, his son, Tagg Romney,tweeted, “Ted Nugent endorsed my Dad today. Ted Nugent? How cool is that?! He joins Kid Rock as great Detroit musicians on team Mitt!”

Come on, Mitt. What if Nugent had called Ann Romney a varmint or brain-dead?

Why should Romney, or any other Republican politician, step lightly around Nugent, who makes no apology for his hedonistic rocker ways? Sure, he likes hunting and guns – so do a lot of people – but his inconsiderate rhetoric toward women is right up there with Rush Limbaugh’s comments on Sandra Fluke.

The Republican National Committee and Romney should take a crash course in Nugent 101.

Jonathan Capehart had more questions for Romney over his response to Nugent’s comments:

Hilary Rosen made a comment about Ann Romney last week that got media mauled and misconstrued. The Romney campaign, including Ann and her son Josh, jumped on the comment. But what gave the faux-troversy life was how quickly the Obama reelection high command threw the highly connected Democratic operative with no formal connection to the campaign or the administration under the bus.

So, what happened when (off his) aging rocker and Romney endorser Ted Nugent said some blunt and violent things about President Obama, his administration, the Supreme Court and Democrats at the National Rifle Association convention over the weekend? Not a whole lot.

Now, it might be tempting to write Nugent off as a right-wing gun totting crank. After all, who talks like that and expects to be taken seriously in the realm of presidential politics? But what makes Nugent’s nuttery alarming is that it has the tacit endorsement of Romney.

See, Romney sought out the rocker’s support. Nugent made the announcement via Twitter on March 2. 

Team Romney was so excited about the Nugent nod that Tagg Romney pom-pomed it via Twitter

So, we have a guy who says incendiary things. A guy whose support was actively sought by the candidate. A guy whose support was championed by said candidate’s son. But now that it is called on to disavow and condemn Nugent’s poisonous words, all the outrage that Team Romney fired upon Rosen seems to be depleted.

“Divisive language is offensive no matter what side of the political aisle it comes from,” said Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul. “Mitt Romney believes everyone needs to be civil.”

This doesn’t cut it, folks. Nugent accused the president of the United States, the vice president, the attorney general and four justices of the Supreme Court of not liking or believing in the Constitution. And he did so in vivid, if not vile, language.

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