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Greg Abbott, Ted Nugent give gift to Wendy Davis

East Bernard Express of East Bernard, Texas

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double-barrel shotgun slung over his shoulder, hadn't done enough to emphasize his pro-gun attitude.

So, on the opening day of early voting, let's add some sizzle to the attorney general's campaign for governor.

Abbott's campaign invited shock-rocker Ted Nugent, who makes "gun nut" sound redundant, to join him for two campaign stops to generate some free publicity.

Boy, did it work!

The guy on cruise control to win the GOP nomination and general election was on every news outlet in Texas — not about the Second Amendment, but his choice of campaign buddies.

Nugent, 65, isn't called the shock-rocker by accident. Even as he's qualified for Medicare, he's loved raising the hackles of anyone for any gun control.

Problem is, Nugent's; presumed appeal didn't help Abbott with anyone who didn't already agree with him — and may have raised questions in other voters' minds about Abbott's judgment.

Whoever decided to bring in Nugent either wasn't that familiar with his inflamed rhetoric and admissions of sex with under-age girls, or didn't think it mattered.

It quickly came out that Nugent, in a Jan. 17 interview with, had this to say about President Obama:

"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."

Abbott quickly was on national TV news programs. A story and color photo of the General, with Nugent behind him, ran in the next day's New York Times — and many other newspapers.

The publicity gift of Nugent, who called Abbott his "blood brother," kept on giving — not to Abbott, but to probable Democratic opponent Wendy Davis.

On Thursday, Feb. 20, Republican politicians questioned by reporters criticized Nugent's description of Obama. They included two Texas presidential candidates — Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz — though neither criticized Abbott for campaigning with Nugent.

That brought more stories on Friday. So Nugent semi-apologized for the "subhuman mongrel" blast.

Nugent on Friday told conservative talk show host Ben Ferguson, on clear-channel Dallas-Fort Worth radio station WBAP, that he "did cross the line."

"I do apologize — not necessarily to the president, but on behalf of much better men than myself," Nugent said, mentioning Abbott, and Perry, at whose 2007 inaugural ball Nugent performed in a T-shirt emblazoned with a Confederate flag.

"I apologize for using the street-fighter terminology of 'subhuman mongrel' instead of just using more understandable language, such as 'violator of his oath to the Constitution,' 'the liar that he is,'" Nugent said.

When Nugent's history blew up in Abbott's face Tuesday in Denton, Abbott pleaded ignorance of Nugent's past.

"I don't know what he may have said or done in his background," Abbott told reporters. "What I do know is Ted Nugent stands for the Constitution."

But the controversy continued to bubble. After Nugent said he'd crossed a line, Abbott released a statement.

"I believe Ted Nugent recognized his language was wrong, and he rightly apologized," Abbott said. "This is not the kind of language I would use or endorse in any way."

So, on Saturday, the Abbott-Nugent pal-a-thon, and Nugent's revised description of Obama, were national news again — including another Times news story, plus two critical opinion columns.

Also Saturday, to a Wendy-friendly crowd of 200 at the Texas Democratic Women's Convention in Austin, Davis bypassed the "subhuman mongrel" comment. Instead, she slammed anti-child molester Abbott for campaigning with a guy who admits to having sex with underage girls.

"His values are not my values, and I know his values aren't yours," Davis said. "And, given the cozy relationship he has with an admitted sexual predator, his values are not Texas values."

"We won't let politicians hide behind the venom and the ugly history of predatory acts targeting underage girls by their campaign surrogates.

"Let me make this very clear," Davis continued. "This isn't about some aging rock star way past his prime who simply needs to go away. This is about Greg Abbott. It's about his character, his judgment, his values when he stands on a stage next to someone like that..."

Abbott's Friday statement had tried to change the subject.

"It's time to move beyond this," Abbott said, "and I will continue to focus on the issues that matter to Texans."

Good luck with that, General.

He could have said he'll never campaign with Nugent again. But then, he probably didn't need to.

Contact Dave McNeely at davemcneelyl or 512/458-2963.

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Original Publication Date: February 27, 2014

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