Abbott remains silent; top Republicans admonish remarks by Ted N - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Abbott remains silent; top Republicans admonish remarks by Ted Nugent

Controversy continues to grow surrounding Attorney General Greg Abbott’s decision to allow controversial GOP rocker Ted Nugent to campaign on the trail with him in Dallas on Tuesday.

Now, Republican Senator and former Presidential candidate John McCain and Governor Rick Perry are both weighing in as well.

The controversy picked up steam after Nugent took the stage with Abbott at a campaign event in the Dallas area on Tuesday. By the time Abbott arrived for a campaign stop in East Texas, the criticism was already in full swing.

On Wednesday following the Tyler event, Abbott refused to comment on the controversial comments made by Nugent. Critics cite comments made about women dating back to 2007, in addition to a comment made about President Obama in January. In an interview with posted online, Nugent called the President “a subhuman mongrel,” a comment that has been the focal point of the ongoing controversy.

When asked about Nugent’s comments in Tyler on Wednesday, Abbott would only say that Nugent’s involvement was an effort to illustrate his qualifications in upholding Second Amendment rights. Abbott was then asked why he could not have chosen another pro-choice advocate, instead of Nugent, to which he only responded, “What was your question?” before turning away and taking other unrelated questions. Abbott’s publicity team then blocked any further questions for the gubernatorial candidate.

Thursday night, U.S. Senator John McCain told CNN’s Piers Morgan that he believed Abbott’s involvement with Nugent could create big consequences for the Republican party as a whole.

"It's a free country, but that kind of language really doesn't have any place in our political dialogue,” McCain told Morgan. “It harms the republican party. I'm sure that it harmed that candidate there. And it should be obviously repudiated."

In a separate CNN interview, Governor Perry was asked about his own previous involvement with Ted Nugent on the campaign trail.

“Ted has said some pretty outrageous things,” Perry said. “Look, I have a problem calling the President a subhuman mongrel. That's an inappropriate thing to say."

Another East Texas Republican running against Abbott in the March primary also entered the fray Thursday.

“It's not acceptable,” said Tyler native Lisa Fritsch, who is also Republican candidate for Governor. “And it's not acceptable for leadership to not come out and completely disavow that type of rhetoric and that type of language.”

Democratic candidate Wendy Davis already spoke out immediately after the controversy began, issuing a statement that called Abbott’s involvement with Nugent an “insult to every Texan…[and] repulsive.”

Davis, however, is also trying to use the controversy as a campaign tool. On Wednesday, she sent out an email to supporters with the subject line “Outrageous.” She then asked for those supporters to donate money to help her campaign “send a strong message that Texans won’t support the disrespectful rhetoric.”

With pressure mounting, Abbott could be forced to answer more questions Friday evening, That’s when he’ll be making two more campaign stops in South Texas.

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