Ultra-conservative rocker Ted Nugent endorsed Mitt Romney on Friday. It’s the kind of backing that could do more harm than good.
According to Nugent’s Twitter feed, he made his decision after speaking with Romney himself. TPM has reached out to the campaign to check whether Romney was calling to personally seek his support, which comes days after Romney held a meeting with another musician, Kid Rock, in order to gain his approval. Via “the Nuge’s” feed:
after a long heart&soul conversation with MittRomney today I concluded this goodman will properly represent we the people & I endorsed him
Romney hasn’t shied away from controversial endorsements this cycle — he accepted Donald Trump’s seal of approval, who led a birther revival last year. One of his 2008 campaign officials, Joe Arpaio, become an embarrassment for Republican officials this week when he held a press conference outlining his own theory that Obama’s birth certificate is a fraud (he has not endorsed a candidate in 2012). But Nugent’s allusions to violence likely put him in a league of his own.
Mitt recently insisted he won’t “light [his] hair on fire” with offensive anti-Obama rhetoric, but Nugent certainly has no such qualms. He has a history of outrageously violent boasts against Democrats and the president that go well beyond the usual conservative shock jocks and into “call the Secret Service” territory. Take this concert meltdown from 2007, while Hillary Clinton, whom he called a “toxic c**t” in 1994, and President Obama were duking it out in the Democratic primaries:
“I was in Chicago last week. I was in Chicago. I said, ‘Hey, Obama! You might want to suck on one of these, you punk!’ Obama, he’s a piece of (expletive deleted), and I told him to suck on my machine gun. Let’s hear it for him! And then I was in New York. I said, ‘Hey, Hillary! You might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless (expletive deleted).’”
He called out Democrats using similar themes during the health care fight in 2010, suggesting to FOX News’ Neil Cavuto they should be shot like pigs:
NUGENT: But, I am Ted Nugent, governor of pigland. So I am the expert on the health care bill because I kill pigs. And, I just shot a monster big pig here in Texas. And, seeing as how this is a pig bill created by pig bureaucrats to help out American pigs, as I approach this huge pig that looked like a beached sperm whale I was expecting George Costanza to come out of the bushes and extract a Titlelist No. 3 ball from his blowhole. But, as I was about to put a 10mm slug in this pig’s head, the last thing he said was [mimics squealing pig], which is pig for “where is my health care?” They’re pigs, Neil. We gotta kill the pig. And, in November we gotta vote the pigs out of office, because this is a redistribution of wealth. This is the Communist-Mao-Che agenda of the Communist-Mao-Che fans in the White House. They’re pigs, Neil!
CAVUTO: All right, So I’ll put you down as a no on health care.
As Rush Limbaugh is dragging the GOP down this week with his “slut” crusade against a Georgetown law student, Nugent may not have picked the best time to walk back on to the scene. Democrats are already picking up on the endorsement: “Seriously, who is going to ask Romney if he condemns Nugent saying POTUS should ‘suck on my machine gun’? Will he condemn hate?” DNC spokeswoman Melanie Roussell tweeted Friday.
Romney’s son Tagg, a campaign surrogate for his dad on the trail, tweeted his enthusiastic approval, however:
Ted Nugent endorsed my Dad today. Ted Nugent? How cool is that?! He joins Kid Rock as great Detroit musicians on team Mitt!
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.