WASHINGTON (AP) — Rocker and gun rights champion Ted Nugent says he will meet with the Secret Service on Thursday to explain his raucous remarks about what he called Barack Obama's "evil, America-hating administration" — comments some critics interpreted as a threat against the president.
"The conclusion will be obvious that I threatened no one," Nugent told radio interviewer Glenn Beck on Wednesday. Nugent said he'd been contacted by the agency and would cooperate fully even though he found the complaints "silly."
The controversy erupted after the self-styled "Motor City Madman" made an impassioned plea for support for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney during the National Rifle Association meeting in St. Louis last weekend. "We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November," Nugent said of the Obama administration.
He also included a cryptic pronouncement: "If Barack Obama becomes the next president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year."
Outraged Democrats circulated the remarks and suggested they were threatening. Secret Service spokesman George Ogilvie confirmed that the agency was looking into the matter but declined to give details. "We are aware of the incident and we are taking appropriate follow-up," Ogilvie said.
Nugent said he was simply trying to galvanize voters. The hard rocker, best known for '70s hits like "Cat Scratch Fever," is a conservative activist and has a history of heated and sometimes vulgar criticism of Obama. Nugent endorsed Romney after speaking to him last month.
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz called on Romney to "condemn Nugent's violent and hateful rhetoric."
Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul addressed the issue with a brief statement: "Divisive language is offensive no matter what side of the political aisle it comes from. Mitt Romney believes everyone needs to be civil."