In a recent campaign speech, Senate candidate John Raese (R-WV) offered a full-throated defense of Ted Nugent’s recent threatening comments about President Barack Obama and lambasted the Secret Service for taking the comments seriously.
The Huffington Post posted a portion of his speech, in which Raese said:
RAESE: How many of you remember Ted Nugent? I do. Ted Nugent came to West Virginia to help me in 2010. He came along with Sarah Palin and we had a wonderful event. And we had a wonderful event. Now I’m with Josh Sowards. Josh, how are you today? Josh is a former Mountaineer basketball player. He played in a lot of those good [West Virginia Mountaineers basketball coach] Bob Huggins games that we all sat at many Lincoln Day dinners when people said ‘Time out, we gotta listen to the Mountaineers beat Kentucky.’ Remember all that stuff? He was a part of that. Now Josh, if Bob Huggins came in and told you that we’re are in a vicious game against Penn State and we are gonna go right out on that court and we’re gonna kill’em, would the FBI want to investigate Bob Huggins? I don’t think so. That’s called a figure of speech. Controlling the people. Remember that, controlling the people. Ted Nugent is a patriot. Ted Nugent is somebody that’s firm in this country. And when you see scenarios that break down like that scenario, it’s a concern, isn’t it.
Watch the video:
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But Nugent didn’t say that Republicans should “kill” Democrats in the general election. He said “If Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will be either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” Virtually all 63,500 Google hits for the phrase “dead or in jail by this time next year” are references to Nugent’s comment, so it is hard to see how that constitutes a “figure of speech.”
Nugent has not been charged with any crime — merely interviewed by the Secret Service so they could be certain he was not a threat to the safety of the president. Forty three men have served as president of the United States. Four have been assassinated and several others — including Obama — have survived assassination attempts. Because America is rooted in the belief that ballots, not bullets, are the way to settle political disagreements, any threats to the safety of the president or others directly in line to be president are a crime and must be taken seriously by the officers tasked with protecting their safety.
It is hard to imagine many West Virginian’s would share Raese’s opinion of what constitutes “controlling the people.”