Mitt Romney's campaign team did its best to distance itself from Ted Nugent's comments that he'll be “dead or in jail” if President Obama is re-elected, Reuters reported today.
The aging rock star, who carries a gun as much as a guitar anymore, appeared to make a veiled threat toward Obama during an address at the National Rifle Association convention on the weekend.
“If Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year,” Nugent said, according to Reuters.
The Democratic National Convention called on Romney to publicly disavow the comments, Reuters said.
In an email to fundraisers, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D–Fla.) said Nugent has endorsed Romney in the past.
“Threatening violence – or whatever it is that Nugent's threatening – is clearly beyond the pale, but Nugent's not the one running for president,” the chairwoman of the DNC wrote in the email, Reuters said. “The question is: Does Romney agree with him? Right now, we don't know.”
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A Romney spokeswoman said the comments are a disservice to the political process, USA Today reported.
Andrea Saul issued a statement on behalf of Romney.
“Divisive language is offensive no matter what side of the political aisle it comes from. Mitt Romney believes everyone needs to be civil,” the statement read.
Brian Leary, a Secret Service spokesman, told USA Today an investigation is possible.
“We are aware of the situation, and we're conducting an appropriate follow-up,” he said.
Nugent – the self-proclaimed Motor City Madman and avid hunter – had hits like “Cat Scratch Fever” in the 1970s and '80s.
Nugent is an NRA board member, and at a 2007 concert unleashed a profanity-laced tirade against Obama and Hilary Clinton, The New York Times reported.
Nugent called his most recent comments “100 percent positive” during a radio interview today, The Times said.
Despite efforts to link Romney to Nugent, the White House stepped away from the controversy.
“We can’t be policing the statement of supporters across the board,” White House representative Jay Carney said, according to The Times. “The president is focused on the issues.”
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