Ted Nugent is sorry.
After several days of controversy surrounding his foray on the Texas campaign trail, the rocker/right-wing agitator expressed regret for using the words “subhuman mongrel” to describe President Obama.
“I did cross the line. I do apologize — not necessarily to the president — but on behalf of much better men than myself,” Nugent said Friday in an interview with Ben Ferguson, a Dallas-based conservative talk-radio host.
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Nugent, 65, said he regretted “using the street-fighter terminology of ‘subhuman mongrel’ instead of just using more understandable language, such as ‘violator of … the Constitution … the liar that he is.’ ”
The “Motor City Madman,” who has also suggested treating immigrants like “indentured servants,” campaigned this week alongside Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, forcing the GOP gubernatorial front-runner to defend their association after Democrats publicized some of Nugent’s more pungent remarks, including the slur against the president last month at a Las Vegas trade and gun show.
Abbott, who until Friday had claimed ignorance about Nugent’s comments, didn’t back away from inviting him to rallies in the first place.
“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,” Abbott said in a statement.
An Abbott spokesman added that the candidate appreciated Nugent’s “forceful (advocacy) for individual liberty and constitutional rights.”
Other Republicans, however, denounced Nugent, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Arizona Sen. John McCain and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a likely GOP presidential contender in 2016.
“I will try to elevate my vernacular to the level of those great men that I’m learning from in the world of politics,” Nugent said in the call-in interview with Dallas station WBAP.
The Nugent flap was the latest example of GOP candidates staying unabashedly to the right as they approach the state’s March 4 primary, which will move Texas closer to its biggest power shake-up in a decade. Every statewide office could change hands this November.
Material from The Associated Press is included in this report.