by Daniel E. Schmidt
It came in like a lion. And now it appears to be going out like a liar.
The day was March 2 here in little Iola, Wis., and it was cold and blustery outside. I really wanted to go for a run, but decided to go for a hot cup of soup and lunch at our local cafe. The idea was good enough that it helped me attract two of my colleagues. We had barely settled in at a corner table when my cell phone started buzzing.
It was Ted Nugent, and he was returning my call on a Deer & Deer Hunting matter. I was hoping to interview him for a few minutes, but our call was abruptly interrupted by the telltale “bling!” sound of his call-waiting.
“Dan, I gotta go. Call you back in a few minutes,” Nugent said.
I figured I wouldn’t hear back from him until later in the day, so we all went ahead and ordered our lunches. The food came rather quickly, and we didn’t hesitate to dive in.
Before long, my phone started buzzing again.
“Dan! You won’t believe who that was,” Nugent blurted out before I could even say “hello.”
“It was Mitt Romney, and he called me to ask me if he could count on my support.
“I just got off the phone with him,” Nugent continued. “And I told him, Mitt, I can’t endorse you unless you can promise that there will be no more insane gun restrictions … no more insane ammo restrictions … no more Second Amendment restrictions. I said you also have to vow to reign in the Gestapo-like raids being conducted by the US Fish & Wildlife Service and other game agencies on honest, law-abiding, workin’ hard, playin’ hard Americans.
“He told me, ‘Yes, I vow’ and I told him that I would then support him.”
Thinking it was pretty cool that I was the first media member to learn about the Nugent/Romney connection, I hurried back to the office to write a blog post on it.
Fast forward to yesterday, April 18. A few days removed from his inflammatory comments at the NRA convention, Nugent is again a marked man. For merely speaking his mind, he has drawn the ire of haters and has one-time supporters conveniently distancing themselves from his so-called “toxic message.”
One of those is presidential hopeful Romney (R). In a statement issued yesterday, Romney’s campaign denies that he ever reached out to Nugent for his support. Romney himself also took steps to push Nugent away from his campaign.
“Divisive language is offensive no matter what side of the political aisle it comes from,” Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul told Talking Points Memo. “Mitt Romney believes everyone needs to be civil.”
Divisive or not, Romney knew full well what he was getting when he reached out to Nugent on March 2.
To turn away from him is one thing. To lie about it is completely something else.