WOLF BLITZER: The political firebrand, Ted Nugent, darling of the far right, is campaigning, at this moment, with the Texas gubernatorial candidate, Greg Abbott. This despite Nugent's recent characterization of President Obama as a, quote, "subhuman mongrel." Abbott, who is the state attorney general, invited Nugent to appear with him at two events today to motivate the Republican base to vote early. Nugent's presence hit a sour note with a lot of people. They say Texans deserve better than a candidate who would align himself with someone like Nugent who said -- who offered hate-filled assessments of the president. Listen to this.
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TED NUGENT, ENTERTAINER, MUSIC INDUSTRY: -- obviously failed to galvanize and prod and 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 of the United States of America.
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BLITZER: Shockingly, Abbott's campaign brushed aside the criticism, saying they value Nugent's commitment to the second amendment issuing a statement, Ted Nugent is a forceful advocate for individual liberty and constitutional rights, especially the second amendment rights cherished by Texans. While he may sometimes say things or use language that Greg Abbott would not endorse or agree with, we appreciate the support of everyone who supports protecting our constitution.
Nugent himself dismissed the controversy, reportedly saying that criticism comes from, quote, "people who hate freedom."
Wayne Slater is the senior political writer for "The Dallas Morning News." Wayne, thanks very much for joining us. You know, it's one thing for Ted Nugent to be saying what he's saying, calling the president, in effect, a communist, a subhuman mongrel. It's another thing for someone who wants to be governor of Texas to welcome him in out on the campaign trail with him. What's been the reaction there?
WAYNE SLATER, SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER, "The Dallas Morning News": Yes, basically, that's the real problem for the Abbott campaign. On the one hand, Nugent is very, very popular with the Republican base in Texas. He lives here in Texas. His ranch is adjacent to George W. Bush's ranch near Waco. He's a fixture at the National Rifle Association. So, he's popular among the kind of base voters that Abbott is trying to appeal to.
The problem here is, when you call the president a subhuman mongrel, which has not only a disparaging reference but also an historic racial reference in some places, and then when you call feminine women politicians, fat pigs, then Abbott has to make a decision. And he had to say, do I keep Ted Nugent on the stage with me or not? He has chosen to do so. And that's what happened today.
BLITZER: I mean do they know the history of that phrase, subhuman mongrel? That's what the Nazis called Jews leading up and during World War II -
BLITZER: To justify the genocide of the Jewish community. They called the Jews unter menschen, or subhuman mongrels, if you read some of the literature that the Nazis put out. There's a long history there of that specific phrase that he used involving the president of the United States.
SLATER: You know, I don't know what the Abbott people knew precisely about the implications of some of the things Nugent said. But Nugent has been very outspoken, has said a whole lot for years that was easy enough to look into. And, frankly, when you talk about something like the word "mongrel" with its racial and ethnic and historic ramifications, there is no doubt, it seems to me, that whether or not Abbott's people recognized it instantly or not, it's offensive, deeply offensive, to some voters, and not just Democratic voters, but other voters.
Having said that, Wolf, and this is really the dark side of this, might that phrase be a kind of dog whistle and code to exactly some of the voters that Greg Abbott wants.
BLITZER: Because I - as someone who has studied the Holocaust, studied World War II, I went back and we checked. In Der Sturmer in -- during World War II, Julius Streicher, the Nazi, this is what he would say about the Jews in justifying the genocide of the Jewish people.
SLATER: That's right. Right.
BLITZER: "The Jew is a mongrel. He has hereditary tendencies from Aryans, Asiatics, Negroes and from the Mongolians. Evil always preponderates in the case of a mongrel." So that's the history of that phrase. And, A, I wonder if Ted Nugent himself knows that history, the use of that phrase. But, B, the Republicans in Texas who are welcoming him on the campaign trail and saying, yes, you know what, he's using some outspoken language. That's Ted Nugent. Do they know what this means to so many people out there?
SLATER: You know, it's fascinating, Wolf, because you look at Ted Cruz, who has long said these outrageous things, calling the president a subhuman mongrel, calling Hillary Clinton the "b" word, calling women feminist fat pigs, saying a whole host of things, and you have to ask, doesn't he know that these are the kinds of words, these are the kinds of phrases that ought to offend people? But his support of the Second Amendment, at least for some Republican base voters, is so strong, it trumps all of that, including questions that the Davis -- Wendy Davis campaign, the likely Democratic opponent of Greg Abbott, has raised in which Nugent has acknowledged sexual relations with underage girls, something that had he ever been charged with a crime would have brought as much as 50 years to a life sentence in Texas.