Democrats pressure Abbott to respond to Nugent’s remarks

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by JASON WHITELY

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on February 20, 2014 at 11:49 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 20 at 11:49 PM

DALLAS –- A brief campaign stop in Denton this week has not created the kind of news coverage Greg Abbott's staff had likely hoped.

"Greg Abbott's only job this whole year is to not make any stupid mistakes, but this might be one and two," said Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Bud Kennedy.

Abbott appearing with Ted Nugent might be the first, Kennedy said, and not addressing it is the second.

Nugent admitted once having a relationship with a 17-year-old when he was 30, Kennedy said. The controversial conservative has used vulgar words describing feminists and Hillary Clinton and he called the president a "subhuman mongrel."

Abbott insisted he wasn't aware of Nugent's comments when the two campaigned together in Denton and Wichita Falls on Tuesday.

But Democrats are increasing pressure on the Republican gubernatorial candidate to respond to Nugent’s comments. Seven state representatives sent Abbott a letter Thursday urging him to condemn Nugent.

“You cannot change the fact that he’s called you his ‘blood brother.’ But hopefully you now have had time to read his ugly and vile remarks about women, aspiring immigrants, and his admitted activities as a child predator,” the letter said, in part.

"I think for the first time this has turned the spotlight on Abbott and made people question whether Abbott's campaign is up to it," Kennedy said.

Gov. Rick Perry, the Republican who Abbott is running to replace, told CNN on Thursday that Nugent should not have made those comments about President Obama. But in a taping for WFAA’s Inside Texas Politics to air Sunday at 9:05 a.m., conservative talk show host Mark Davis defended Abbott and Nugent.

"Both of these guys are friends of mine,” Davis said. “Abbott is going to be a great governor. Ted Nugent, I've known for 20 years. Ted makes me crazy sometimes. It's like 'Oh dude, do you have to put things that way?' That's his choice. It's Ted. It's over the top. It's not to be taken literally."

Political observers said it's a matter of time before Abbott has to address Nugent, unless it becomes a distraction to his campaign.

Abbott’s staff did not return messages to News 8 on Thursday.

The Republican candidate has two events Friday; one in Victoria, another in Corpus Christi and is scheduled to appear alone in both.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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